Historic Resource Study
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While the nation was splitting in two and the opening stages of what developed into the tragic Civil War were unfolding in the East, there was considerable discussion about the future of the Union among officers stationed at Fort Union and throughout the Department of New Mexico. Many of them faced and made the difficult decision of whether their primary obligation was to the nation or their home state. Those who chose the latter left the U.S. Army and departed from New Mexico. The beginning battles of the Civil War seemed far removed from the territory. For the troops at Fort Union and in the rest of the department, the primary concern, until Confederate troops invaded southern New Mexico in the summer of 1861, remained the protection of transportation routes and settlements from Indian raids. After the Confederate threat was repelled, the Indians were again the principal challenge.

As it became clear in the spring of 1861 that a war between the Union and the seceded states (soon to be known as the Confederate States of America) had begun, there were numerous rumors in New Mexico that Confederate Texans (Texas seceded in February 1861) were coming to capture the territory and Fort Union. This post was considered a prime target because of the quartermaster, commissary, and ordnance depots, holding all kinds of supplies, weapons, and ammunition that were crucial for the Confederate volunteer troops. [1] There was also fear that Texans might attack the indispensable supply trains coming to Fort Union from Fort Leavenworth, and the commander at Union was directed to hold a mounted force in readiness for action on the Santa Fe Trail if that became necessary for the protection of the freighters. [2] Before long the rumors of a Texan invasion proved to be true, and attention of all troops at Fort Union was focused on defending the post from attack. Meanwhile, the composition of the troops in the department changed.

When the Civil War began in the East, many units of the regular army were transferred from their stations in the West and Southwest to the region of conflict. Shortly after armed conflict began, General-in-Chief Winfield Scott directed that all companies of the Fifth, Seventh, and Tenth U. S. Infantry stationed in New Mexico Territory and at other western forts be sent as soon as possible to Fort Leavenworth for reassignment. Colonel Canby persuaded the war department to leave most of those troops in New Mexico Territory to face the Confederate threat until volunteers had been enlisted and trained to replace them. [3] When the infantrymen departed, only four companies of dragoons and the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen would be left to represent the regular army in New Mexico. These were augmented by volunteers raised in the territory. Volunteer regiments were raised in each state and territory to help with the war effort and provide protection for transportation routes and settlements. Throughout the years of the protracted struggle, New Mexico volunteers (joined by volunteers from Colorado and California) provided much of the manpower for the army in the territory. These troops performed laudable service for the Union cause.

Very few people, in the East or in New Mexico, understood that New Mexico Territory might be a key factor in the ultimate success or failure of the Confederate States of America. As it turned out, the Confederacy, without a good portion of the American West, could not establish a viable nation. It is impossible to know if the war for secession would have turned out differently had the Confederate States of America gained control of the territories of New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah and the State of California, perhaps even the northern provinces of Mexico, thereby creating a large, two-ocean country, but that conquest undoubtedly would have made a major difference. The key to the Southwest for the Confederates was New Mexico Territory.

Some Confederate leaders mistakenly assumed that the New Mexicans could easily be dissuaded from their attachment to the Union. Many inhabitants of southern New Mexico Territory, especially at Mesilla, and in the present state of Arizona were disaffected and easily won over to secession. But the bulk of New Mexicans (except for a few secessionist sympathizers), residing along the Rio Grande from Socorro north, held no fondness for Texas or Texans and many would join Union troops to resist an occupation force comprised primarily of volunteers from Texas. Confederate leaders failed to understand that New Mexico was tied to the Union by the small thread of Santa Fe Trail, and they apparently never appreciated how easy it would be to cut that thread and isolate New Mexico from its source of supplies and reinforcements. At the same time, most Union leaders had little if any understanding of the significance of western territories in the outcome of the conflict. Little was done to meet the needs of the Union troops in New Mexico until Confederate troops invaded the territory, and even then the efforts were negligible.

Despite the miscalculations made by both sides, the Confederate invaders of New Mexico, although initially successful, were eventually repulsed on the Santa Fe Trail not far from Santa Fe, and the ultimate fate of the Confederate States of America was sealed before the conflict was a year old. The troops at Fort Union, mostly volunteers from New Mexico and Colorado territories, were primarily responsible for the first significant defeat of Confederate troops in the department. Although the eventual outcome of the bloody carnage known as the Civil War was determined by what happened on eastern battlefields, the possibility for Confederate victory was improbable after the battle at Glorieta Pass and Johnson's Ranch on March 28, 1862. Prior to those battles, however, it appeared that New Mexico might, indeed, fall to the Confederacy.

Horace Greeley alleged that Secretary of War John B. Floyd, a southerner, assigned the command of the Department of New Mexico to Colonel William Wing Loring, a known secessionist, early in 1861 for the purpose of debasing the allegiance of the troops to the Union. Greeley concluded that Loring and Crittenden (colonel and lieutenant-colonel, respectively, of the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen) intended to lead the troops into Texas and offer them "to the service and support of the Rebellion." [4] That may have been speculation on the part of Greeley. It is impossible to find evidence of such plans in the records of Colonel Loring's administration of the department. However, Loring, Crittenden, and other southern officers soon cast their lot with the Confederacy.

When it was learned in New Mexico Territory that secession had begun, most officers of southern nativity evaluated their loyalty. Within a few months, many elected to resign their commissions in the U.S. Army and offer their services to their native states or the incipient Confederacy. By law, officers in the army could resign their commissions. [5] Thus, for those who chose to do so, it was simply a matter of submitting a letter of resignation to the department commander, who forwarded it to the secretary of war for approval by the president. As soon as a letter of acceptance was returned, the officer was free from his obligations to the Union Army. Enlisted men, however, enjoyed no such privilege. They enlisted for a specified period of time and could not resign. An enlisted man who wished to leave the army and join a rebel force could do so only by desertion (a crime punishable by law if the deserter were apprehended). Because of these regulations, a higher proportion of officers than enlisted men left the Union Army. [6] Mrs. Lane recalled that "very few soldiers left the army, while in New Mexico, to join the Southern Confederacy." [7]

At Fort Union, Second Lieutenant DuBois (a native of New York and solidly committed to the Union "whether wrong or right") recorded in his diary that "the soldiers are loyal. Most of the officers going south themselves." He observed that even the officers "going south," with the exception of Longstreet, "urge their soldiers to remain true." As for himself, DuBois wrote, "I became involved in several bitter political discussions here & threatened if an effort was made to seduce my regiment from its allegiance I would assume command myself & fight it out." There was pressure placed on all officers to join the southern cause. DuBois noted that "high positions were offered me" to join the "southern army." He "declined, although it is hard to fight as a 2d Lieutenant when I might have a much higher rank." The pressure continued on officers, and DuBois wrote a few days later that "tremendous efforts are being made to coax them South." He remained steadfast for the Union and departed from Fort Union on his long-awaited leave of absence on March 17, 1861. [8]

It was difficult for officers from southern states to resist the call to join the secessionist cause. Among those in New Mexico, most of whom had been at Fort Union at one time or another, who resigned their commissions for that purpose were Colonel Thomas Turner Fauntleroy, Major Henry Hopkins Sibley, and Captain Richard Stoddert Ewell, First Dragoons; Lieutenant John Pegram and Second Lieutenant Benjamin F. Sloan, Second Dragoons; Colonel William Wing Loring, Lieutenant Colonel George B. Crittenden, Lieutenant Laurence Simmons Baker, and Second Lieutenants Henry C. McNeill and Joseph Wheeler, [9] Regiment of Mounted Riflemen; Lieutenant Lucius Loomis Rich and Second Lieutenants Robert Clinton Hill and Bryan Morel Thomas, Fifth Infantry; Captain Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox, Seventh Infantry; Lieutenants William Kearny and Henry Brooke Kelly, Tenth Infantry; Major James Longstreet, pay department; and Lieutenant Dabney H. Maury, assistant adjutant general. Several of those officers rose to high ranks in the Confederate service. Sibley, who was the commanding officer at Fort Union in May and June 1861, led the Texas volunteers up the Rio Grande valley the following year, a major objective of which was the capture of Fort Union for the Confederate States of America. McNeill was one of the officers in Sibley's Brigade.

There can be little doubt that the resignation of more than a dozen officers in the department had consequential psychological effects on the remaining officers and enlisted men. Some of those who switched sides had commanded for a number of years. A military leader with a reputation, who had earned the loyalty of those he commands, was difficult to replace. At the very least, the loss of these officers created disarray among officers and confusion among enlisted men. If new officers could be secured, they had to demonstrate their talent and earn the respect of fellow officers and enlisted personnel. Those effects were enhanced in New Mexico with the impending transfer of several companies out of the territory and the raising of volunteer troops to fill the void.

As Colonel Loring awaited a decision on his resignation, the command of the department was gradually changed. Colonel Ernest Richard Sprigg Canby, Nineteenth Infantry, who had recently led an expedition against the Navajos and was in command of Fort Defiance, was called to Santa Fe in June 1861 and placed in command of the northern portion of New Mexico Territory by Loring. [10] Loring then left department headquarters at Santa Fe and moved south to Fort Fillmore to await the decision of President Abraham Lincoln on his application for resignation. Canby was confirmed as department commander with the departure of Loring. It has been claimed that Canby and Sibley, leaders of the opposing forces in New Mexico, were related by marriage, but there appears to be no verification of this. [11]

Upon assuming command of the department, Canby was especially concerned about the "disabled condition of the mounted companies from the want of horses, and of the Quartermaster's Department from the want of draught animals." He noted that the previous two years of drought in New Mexico resulted in "great scarcity, almost famine." A combination of "the scarcity of water, grass, and forage, and constant hard service," he reported, "have destroyed a large proportion of the animals in the service." The same factors had also reduced the supply of horses in the private sector of the territory. He requested "that the estimates heretofore made for remounts and for draught animals may be filled from the East." [12] Colonel Loring had requisitioned 400 remounts for the department in April. [13] The shortage of horses to mount troops in New Mexico, both regulars and volunteers, remained a problem throughout the era of the Civil War.

Before any volunteers were raised in New Mexico, it was imperative to have sufficient equipment for them. Since there was not time to request and transport ordnance and other supplies from the East during the first months of the Civil War, the volunteers had to be equipped from what was available at the depots at Fort Union and Albuquerque. Canby asked Captain Shoemaker, military storekeeper at the ordnance depot at Fort Union, how many volunteers he could arm. Shoemaker responded that he could outfit two regiments of volunteer infantry, although some of the equipment would be used and of an outdated style. [14] Shoemaker was directed to ship arms and ammunition to Albuquerque and Forts Craig and Stanton, where some of the volunteers were to be mustered into service and outfitted. Canby directed that the First Regiment of New Mexico Volunteer Infantry was to be inducted as follows: four companies at Fort Union, four at Albuquerque, two at Fort Craig, and two at Fort Stanton. [15] The qualifications for volunteers required that they be between 18 and 45 years of age. According to war department regulations, "all officers and men must be sound and active, free from all malformation, defects of sight, hearing, ulcers, piles, rupture, fracture, dislocation, and disease of any kind." Interestingly, however, "the lack of, or defect in, the left eye, or slight injury of the left hand, will not reject the man." Furthermore, "foreigners and stammerers must not be received, unless they can understand and speak rapidly." [16]

E. R. S. Canby
E. R. S. Canby, U. S. Signal Corps Photo, courtesy National Archives.

The Hispanic men of New Mexico were not foreigners, but many of them could not speak or understand the English language. This created innumerable problems for the troops and, especially, the commanding officers in the department. Many orders and communications had to be translated into Spanish, and English-speaking officers had to utilize translators when directing Hispanic troops. It became necessary for the department commander to direct that "whenever troops speaking different languages are thrown together, all details will be made so that those speaking the same language may serve together." In addition, whenever possible, privates were to serve under non-commissioned officers who spoke their language. [17]

The language barrier was the most obvious division between Anglos and Hispanos, but there were deep-seated prejudices on both sides. New Mexicans saw the Anglos as conquerors who had captured their land and were in the process of destroying their culture. Many Anglos considered all New Mexicans to be inferior and not good material for soldiers. The situation was further complicated by a superiority complex of professional officers and regular troops in their views of volunteers. Many of the New Mexican volunteers did seem to be inadequate as soldiers because of the language barrier, lack of military experience, and, for some, an inordinate fear of Texans. They possessed many strengths, however, that were seldom utilized because of Anglo prejudices: understanding of the environment (routes of travel, locations of springs, and utilization of native plants) and the Indians, experiences of endurance in the face of obstacles, and courage in the midst of battle (especially against Indians). Many New Mexicans performed admirably in the service of the U.S., but most Anglo officers did not give them proper credit because of their preconceptions about "Mexicans" and volunteers. [18]

Each community of sufficient population in the territory was encouraged to raise a company for the volunteer service. The primary reason New Mexicans joined the army was for the pay ($13.00 per month) and a bounty of $100 for those who signed up for three years. One immediate problem in New Mexico, peculiar to society there, was how to deal with peons who enlisted in the volunteers. The owners insisted that their property be returned, while some of the peons saw military service as a way to freedom. Colonel Canby did not endear the army to the wealthy class of New Mexico when he ruled that peons who enlisted in the volunteers were not to be released for that reason except by writ of habeas corpus from the U.S. courts in the territory. The local courts were not permitted any jurisdiction in these cases. [19] A month later Canby suspended the writ of habeas corpus throughout the department. [20] The writ of habeas corpus was also suspended throughout the Union by order of President Lincoln. The suspension continued in New Mexico Territory until July 4, 1865, when General James H. Carleton, restored the writ for the civil courts. Because of the frustrations of legal problems arising from the enlistment of peons, recruiting officers in New Mexico were directed in September 1863 to enroll any peon "without the consent of his master." [21]

The enlistment of volunteers proceeded quickly in New Mexico, although some companies had difficulty filling their quotas. The colonel of the First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, Ceran St. Vrain, was assigned to Fort Union, where the volunteers would be trained. A second regiment of volunteer infantry was also authorized in the territory, and a battalion (four companies) of mounted volunteers was raised. As soon as the volunteers were enlisted and equipped, Major William Chapman, Fort Union commander, was directed to establish a camp of instruction near the post, where the volunteers would receive their basic training. [22]

The camp of instruction for volunteers, soon to be named Camp Chapman after the commanding officer at Fort Union and later known as Camp Cameron (to honor Secretary of War Simon Cameron), was established in July 1861 under the command of Captain Francisco S. Abreu, senior officer of the volunteers present. The camp was set up like a separate command, although everyone there was under the jurisdiction of the commander of Fort Union, with its own adjutant, sergeant major, guards, and details. The volunteers were housed in tents. They were ordered to excavate a sink or latrine for the use of the camp, "which will be surrounded by brush to screen it from view." The camp was to be "thoroughly policed" (kept clean and orderly) immediately after reveille each day. Each morning one captain or lieutenant was designated to serve as officer of the day and one second lieutenant was assigned as officer of the guard. For guard duty, three sergeants, seven corporals, and fifty-nine privates were detailed each day. One of those privates was selected to serve as orderly to the camp commander. A special picket guard, comprised of one sergeant, one corporal, and three privates was stationed each day "near the Spring to prevent any improper use of the water, such as washing or bathing in the Spring or the irrigating pond adjacent to it and to protect the public gardens from depredation." [23]

William Chapman
William Chapman, Photo Collection, Fort Union National Monument.

At the camp of instruction the volunteers were drilled daily, beginning at 5:00 a.m. with the school of the soldier. The volunteers, except those on guard duty, were required to attend drill each day from 5:00 to 6:30 a.m., 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., and 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. They were to learn about following orders, discipline, how to march, care and use of their weapons, inspection, and everything else required to turn them from civilians into soldiers. During the remainder of the day they were to perform their other duties. Major Gabriel R. Paul, Eighth Infantry, was appointed inspector general and charged with the duty of superintending the instruction and discipline of the volunteers at the camp. At the request of Major Paul, Second Lieutenant Peter McGrath, Third Cavalry, was assigned to the camp to assist with the training of the mounted volunteers. [24] At the end of July 1861 there were six companies of New Mexico "foot volunteers" and one company of "mounted volunteers" at Fort Union. [25] More volunteers arrived as the companies were filled with recruits.

Additional rules were laid down for the volunteers at Fort Union to keep close watch over "arms, accoutrements and ammunition" issued to them and to prevent them from leaving the post without permission. To assure that the ordnance equipment and supplies were not being disposed of by the volunteers and that their weapons "are at all times in proper order for immediate service, a thorough inspection of them will be made every day at Retreat and at 8 o'clock A.M. on Sundays." No volunteer was permitted to be absent from the post for longer than "six hours without a written pass naming the Company & Regiment to which he belongs, Signed by the Capt. or Company Commander, Countersigned by the Comdg Officer of the Camp, and approved by the Comdg. Officer of Fort Union." [26] These rules were founded on the premise that the volunteers might trade items of issue for food, whiskey, or prostitutes, and that they might desert if permitted to absent themselves from the post without close supervision. Any volunteer who lost or damaged any item issued to him was to be charged for that article on payday. [27] The trading firm of Spiegelberg and Brothers at Santa Fe was designated as the sutler for the New Mexico Volunteers, providing the same commodities to these troops in camp and in the field as the post sutler provided for the garrison. [28]

While volunteer troops were being raised to protect New Mexico Territory from Indians and Confederates, the need for such protection was made clear by the theft of the army's beef cattle herd being pastured near Galisteo on June 4, 1861. Lieutenant Claflin and 25 mounted troops were sent from Fort Union to attempt to recover the lost stock, believed to have been run off by Indians. Claflin investigated and concluded that the cattle were stolen by a band of thieves headed by a Mr. Taylor from the Galisteo area, who took the cattle and blamed the Indians, causing trouble for everyone. Claflin was convinced that reports of "Indian depredations" had been "proved to be totally false." As far as he was concerned, "the Indians who infest the valleys of the Gallinas & Pecos are white men and Mexicans." [29] Regardless of who the perpetrators were, the need for military protection was evident and more troops were required to protect government property and settlers. At least one company of dragoons, detached from the garrison at Fort Union, was kept posted at Hatch's Ranch to protect that area and scout south and east for Indians and Texans who might threaten the settlements. The troops at Hatch's Ranch were directed, if "threatened by a superior force" to retreat to Fort Union rather than fight. [30]

There was also need to protect the Santa Fe Trail, the vital line of communications and supply from the East. Major Chapman, commanding at Fort Union, was directed by Colonel Canby to send, as soon as the volunteers were equipped for service, at least 100 mounted troops and two companies of volunteer infantry under command of Captain Duncan to protect the trail between Fort Union and the crossing of the Arkansas River in Kansas. They were to travel in wagons and take rations for 30 days. A party of ten spies and guides were to accompany the troops. This force was to make certain that the mails and supply trains were not interrupted by Indian or Texan raiders. Because it was feared that the Cimarron Route of the Santa Fe Trail would be less safe than the Mountain Route, the commander at Fort Larned was requested to advise all wagon trains passing his post to follow the Raton Route, which Captain Duncan's command would protect. [31] Many freighters chose to use the Cimarron Route, despite the warnings, because it was shorter and easier to travel with large wagons. [32] The leaders of many supply caravans assumed there was safety in numbers of well-armed teamsters and took their chances on the more threatened course.

With the organization of the first two companies of New Mexican Volunteers at Fort Union, comprised of Company A raised at Mora and under command of Captain Jose Maria Valdez and Company B raised at Las Vegas and under command of Captain Arthur Morrison (a total of 180 officers and men), Major Chapman promised to send them with Captain Duncan to protect the route of travel as soon as possible. [33] On July 7, Captain Duncan led three officers and 102 mounted riflemen and six officers and 174 New Mexican volunteers, plus nine spies and guides, from Fort Union to protect the Mountain Route as far as Fort Wise, Colorado Territory. [34] It was an impressive force but may not have been necessary. Additional protection was provided along the Santa Fe Trail later in the summer when a number of troops being transferred from the Department of New Mexico assembled at Fort Union to march to Fort Leavenworth "in columns of sufficient strength to defend themselves." They were well supplied with ammunition in case of an encounter with hostile forces. [35] Their presence on the trail would help deter any would-be attackers on the supply wagons.

The feared threats to the supply trains did not materialize in 1861, and the crucial supply route to troops in New Mexico remained open throughout the early months of the Civil War. The military contract supply trains, at least five of which came over the Cimarron Route, began arriving at Fort Union on July 18. Because these wagon trains had experienced no hostility from Indians or Texans along the way and reported that additional trains were behind them on the Cimarron Route, Major Chapman sent an express rider to direct Captain Duncan, who had gone on the Mountain Route, "to return with his command to this post." They arrived back at Fort Union on July 30, and Duncan reported that "nothing unusual was seen or heard on this trip." [36] Perhaps this early return of Duncan's large command was also in response to renewed concerns about a possible Texan invasion of the territory.

By July constant rumors reached Fort Union that Texan forces were on the way to capture the territory and the post. Some of the Comancheros reported that they had seen the Texans headed toward New Mexican settlements. At the same time, the New Mexican and Pueblo spies sent from Fort Union to watch over the routes from the Arkansas River and the road from Fort Smith reported that they had found no signs of Texans or Indians along those trails. Still the rumors of imminent invasion continued. Many of the reports claimed the Texans were coming up the Pecos Valley and their main objective was Fort Union. For example, an Apache Indian reportedly told a civilian guide at Fort Craig, who informed the commanding officer at that post, who in turn sent the details to Colonel Canby at Santa Fe, that a "large body of Texans" was traveling up the Pecos Valley to capture Fort Union. According to the Indian, the Texans "encampment and stock covered near three miles of ground," and "they had Artillery with them." Captain Robert M. Morris, commanding at Fort Craig, believed this report might be true. Canby forwarded the information to the commanders at Hatch's Ranch and Fort Union, stating he did not consider it "reliable." [37] It was not "reliable." Additional spies were employed by Lieutenant Enos at Fort Union, both New Mexicans and Pueblo Indians who were disguised as Comancheros, to keep watch over all possible avenues of invasion, and they continued to report no Texans sighted. Lieutenant Ebenezer Gay, in command at Hatch's Ranch, informed Major Chapman on July 28, "as far as can be ascertained there are no Texans enroute for Fort Union." Still the rumors persisted. [38]

The reports of a Texas invasion continued to reach Fort Union. In preparation for a possible attack on the post, Major Chapman determined that more training was needed in the firing of artillery pieces, pieces that might be the key to a successful defense. He ordered that all men not attending to other assigned duties were to participate in artillery drill from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. each day except Sunday. The instructors for artillery drill were Second Lieutenant John F. Ritter, Fifth Infantry, and Second Lieutenant Robert W. Hall, Tenth Infantry. [39]

To further strengthen the garrison at Fort Union, the camp at Hatch's Ranch was abandoned and the company of Second Dragoons there returned to Union. [40] The defense of the post was critical because of the supplies stored there and the importance of keeping those stores out of the hands of the Confederates. The ordnance stores alone were valued at more than $270,000 (not including the cost of transportation to New Mexico). [41] Colonel Canby informed Major Chapman that Fort Union "must be held at all hazards." He also requested that Chapman report "what measures you have taken and what additional measures you consider necessary for the security of your post." [42]

Although there had been much debate just prior to the Civil War about relocating the quartermaster and commissary depot and subdepot in the department and the garrison and ordnance supply depot at Fort Union, Colonel Canby concluded soon after taking command of the department that Fort Union was the best position from which to supply the other posts in the department. He directed that Fort Union be designated the general depot for the distribution of all supplies shipped in via the Santa Fe Trail, except medical provisions which would be issued from Santa Fe, "to the several posts and commands in the Department." A subdepot was established at Albuquerque "to meet contingencies at posts west and south of that place, and to supply passing troops and trains." Any supplies procured in the territory were to be collected and distributed from the most convenient places. [43] This order made Fort Union, just as Sumner had originally planned in 1851, the major shipping point in New Mexico Territory, a position it held until the railroad arrived nearby in 1879. It also made the post the most important objective for Confederate forces hoping to capture the territory.

Confirmation of the Texas invasion of New Mexico came to Fort Union on August 4, 1861, when word arrived of the surrender of the garrison of Fort Fillmore by Major Isaac Lynde, Seventh Infantry, to the rebel forces commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John R. Baylor, Second Texas Mounted Rifles, CSA. [44] Baylor had recruited volunteers from the towns and farms of central Texas and led them to Fort Bliss, which had been abandoned by U.S. troops when Texas seceded in February 1861. Colonel Canby was apprised of the possible invasion of his department from Fort Bliss and concentrated troops from several southern New Mexico posts (Forts McLane, Breckenridge, and Buchanan) at Fort Fillmore, under command of Major Lynde. He also requested additional volunteers from the governors of New Mexico and Colorado territories. He hoped to turn back the Texans before they could establish a foothold in New Mexico.

Baylor led approximately 500 Texans into New Mexico Territory on July 3, 1861, bypassed Fort Fillmore, and occupied the nearby town of Mesilla. Major Lynde, convinced that Fort Fillmore was indefensible against artillery because of its location, decided to destroy what supplies his troops could not carry away and abandon the post. On July 27, 1861, Lynde led his troops from Fort Fillmore and headed north to Fort Stanton. It was reported that the soldiers had filled their canteens with whiskey instead of water, and as they marched across the desert they became intoxicated and suffered greatly from want of water. As Lynde's troops approached San Augustin Springs, Baylor's Texas force arrived on the scene. Lynde surrendered his entire command (seven companies of Seventh Infantry and two companies of the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen) plus Captain Alfred Gibbs and 70 troopers who were escorting a beef herd to Fort Fillmore and had met up with Lynde just prior to Baylor's approach. [45] These troops were paroled, which meant they could return to their homes but could not participate in military operations, and moved to a camp near Fort Union to await transportation to the States.

Lynde's surrender left the lower Rio Grande valley open to Confederate advance as far as Fort Craig at the north end of the Jornada del Muerto, approximately 30 miles south of Socorro. Canby directed that Fort Stanton be abandoned, and Major Benjamin S. Roberts, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen and commander at Stanton, led his command to Albuquerque. Other troops were concentrated at Fort Craig, making it the primary point for the defense of the settlements along Rio Grande valley to the north. Canby kept a large force at Fort Union to protect the route of supply and to meet any invasion of Texans from the east. Most of the troops in the department were stationed at Craig, Albuquerque, and Union. A small force remained at Fort Marcy at Santa Fe to protect the department headquarters. [46]

The news of the fall of Fort Fillmore and capture of Lynde's forces put Major Chapman into a panic operation at Fort Union. He considered the site of the post indefensible because of the nearby bluffs and immediately started construction of the second Fort Union, an earthwork located approximately one mile east of the original post. He explained everything to department headquarters.

I will endeavor to enroll and arm all the reliable citizens in this neighborhood. I have taken no steps toward fortifying this post, as I found upon examining the ground on the bluff in rear of it, that I could not spare a sufficient force to defend any work I might erect there for its defense that would not be commanded by higher ground in the rear and on both flanks. An enemy once in possession of the bluff in rear, would render this post untenable and in attempting to defend it, I would lose all the ordnance stores, provisions &c. I have determined to cross to the East side of the creek out of range of field pieces & small arms and construct an entrenched camp with a bomb-proof Magazine and store houses sufficient to contain all the stores. It will be necessary in case of an attack by a superior force to burn this post lest the enemy should get possession of it. Capt. [Cuvier] Grover will have charge of the working party on the entrenched camp and it will be pushed forward day and night to completion. I will defend it at all hazards. The men off duty have been drilling at Artillery for several days and are progressing very well. . . . Lt. Enos sends tonight to Las Vegas for additional shovels to expedite our work.

It will be necessary to have more tents as all the troops will have to encamp in the work. These Mexican volunteers are more afraid of the Texans, than they are of death, and in case of an attack by the latter, I cannot rely upon them. If I can use them in constructing the proper defenses and station them behind entrenchments they may render good service. [47]

The decision to build a new post, approved by Colonel Canby and the quartermaster general, may have been made in response to the Confederate threat, but it also was considered necessary because the first Fort Union so badly decayed. Only a few weeks earlier, Second Lieutenant Enos, quartermaster department, had filed his report of an inspection of the post. He found that the buildings were "with scarcely a single exception rotting down; the majority of them almost unfit for occupation and in fact, all of them in such a dilapidated state as to require continual and extensive repairs to keep them in an habitable condition." He found many troops living in tents because of "the lack of quarters." In addition, "the Hospital, Commissary and Quarter Master's Buildings are entirely unfit for the purposes for which they are required." [48] There was no doubt that new facilities were indispensable at Fort Union.

Captain Grover, Tenth Infantry, apparently was responsible for designing the earth work as well as overseeing its construction. He was assisted in superintending the work by Lieutenant William Joseph Leonard Nicodemus, Eleventh Infantry. Chapman's plans for the defense of Fort Union were "fully approved" by Colonel Canby. The new post was a square-bastioned fortification, surrounded by a ditch and earthen breastworks. On each side of the square were demilunes, housing quarters and storehouses, with earthen breast-works and a ditch on the outer sides. The square fortification, with a V-shaped demilune on each side, formed an octagon. Because the design had eight points, it was later called and is still often referred to as the "star fort." That name is incorrect for the design of the second Fort Union. At the time of its construction and use, it was known as the fieldwork.

Cuvier Grover
Cuvier Grover, Photo Collection, Fort Union National Monument.

Regarding Chapman's request for more tents, Canby informed him that no additional tents were available for the troops at Fort Union but observed that "very good temporary shelters can be made from the remains of the old fort." [49] Canby's remark seems to confirm the dilapidated condition and questionable habitability of the original structures at the post. Chapman apparently could not spare any men from the construction of the earthwork to work on temporary shelters.

Major Chapman reported that, on August 4, two men on "American horses" and believed to be Texas spies were seen near the post with spy glasses by a soldier encamped a few miles from Fort Union. The two men had also asked the soldier about the post, especially wanting to know how many companies were there. The next day the soldier led two officers from the post to the point where the "spies" had stood to observe. There they discovered tracks which they followed for several miles. Chapman had "no doubt they were Texan Spies" and assumed they were gathering information to plan an attack. He was confident, "if we have time to entrench the command we can defend ourselves against a much superior force." [50] In order to free as many troops as possible to work on the new post, Chapman sent Lieutenant Colonel Kit Carson and Captain Albert H. Pfeiffer, First New Mexico Volunteers, to Taos and Abiquiu to hire as many Utes and New Mexicans considered necessary to perform herding, scouting, and other duties at Fort Union. [51] Canby authorized the employment of Ute auxiliaries as soon as possible to harass any Texans they could find in the area. [52] On August 7 Carson and Pfeiffer left Fort Union to attempt to hire 100 Utes for duty. Because the army would have to feed the families of the Ute warriors while they were employed, Chapman authorized the purchase of additional beef and flour to do so. [53] A week later Carson returned with 20 Utes, and more were expected as soon as they received their annuities. The post quartermaster at Fort Union was directed to provide a few cooking utensils for the Utes. [54]

On August 7 Chapman informed department headquarters that approximately 200 men were employed "every four hours day and night on the entrenchments." It was not clear how many different units of 200 worked each day nor how many soldiers total were engaged in construction. If each unit of 200 men worked two shifts in 24 hours, which seems likely, there would have been 600 at work. However many were assigned to the task, Chapman was pleased to report that the work was "progressing very well, and in a day or two more it will be sufficiently advanced for defense." [55]

Because most of the soldiers were occupied in construction, Chapman had established "mounted pickets out five or six miles from the post on the North, East and South, occupying prominent points for their lookouts, from which they can see a large extent of country." If an enemy force were sighted by these pickets, they could quickly warn the entire command and preparations for defense could be made. No Texans had been seen, except for the spies of a few days earlier. In fact, Chapman explained, he had received no information about an invading force from the spies that were operating along the Santa Fe Trail and the Canadian route to Fort Smith. Fort Union did not appear to be in immediate danger. [56]

As each day passed, Chapman expressed relief that there was no news of an advancing Texan force. This left his command free to pursue the construction of the earthwork. The round-the-clock efforts on the defensive entrenchments at the second Fort Union produced the desired results. On August 8 Chapman informed department headquarters that "our work is progressing well, and in a few days more will be in a state to be occupied by troops. It can be defended now." [57] Apparently this meant that the entrenchments and earthen mounds thrown up were defensible against an artillery attack, that artillery could be fired from within the earthwork, and that the troops could reside in tents within the walls. The construction of quarters and storehouses within the facility remained to be done. Those efforts could proceed at a more leisurely pace once the defensive framework was done.

The volunteers raised in New Mexico were required to furnish their own clothing. Many of them were unable to purchase sufficient clothing for their needs because they had no money and had not been paid for their service. As a corrective to the "destitute condition" of the volunteers, Colonel Canby directed that they be issued clothing as needed with the cost to be deducted from their first receipt of pay. Some of the immediate families of volunteers had followed their soldiers to their station, such as Fort Union, and were living at or near the post. Because it was difficult for these families to find food, Canby authorized the selling of rations to the immediate families of volunteers, the cost to be deducted from their pay. [58] Such action was considered necessary to prevent the desertion of volunteers and to help with the recruitment necessary to fill some of the volunteer companies. According to Major Chapman, the company captains of the New Mexico Volunteers were having a difficult time recruiting, noting they "have scoured the country thoroughly to fill their companies." [59]

Rumors of Confederate soldiers on the way to Fort Union continued. When word reached Canby on August 10 that Texans had reportedly been seen on the Canadian River near the Texas-New Mexico boundary, he sent a party of Pueblo spies to investigate and report. As soon as the men could be spared from duty at Fort Union, Chapman was ordered to send two companies of New Mexico Volunteers to Hatch's Ranch. If none could be spared, he was directed to send two companies of a new regiment of New Mexico Mounted Volunteers, being raised to serve for only six months, as soon as they were available. The troops sent to Hatch's Ranch were to protect that area from Indians as well as any Texas invaders and keep scouting parties out along the Canadian and Pecos valleys to watch for any movements. These troops were to report to Major Chapman. They were to draw supplies from Fort Union. In anticipation of a possible military threat to Fort Union, Canby directed that the women and children at the post were to be sent to Mora or Las Vegas whenever their continued presence would interfere with operations and defense of the installation. If this became necessary, rations were to be provided for the women and children from the stores at Fort Union. [60] Colonel St. Vrain, who had a home and grist mill at Mora, reported a few days later that quarters for women and children could be had at Mora if needed. [61]

The demands on the commissary supplies at Fort Union were temporarily increased in late August when the officers and men who surrendered near Fort Fillmore arrived there. Captain Alfred Gibbs, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, was in charge of these parolees. The temporary camp was under command of Captain Joseph Haydn Potter, Seventh Infantry. They remained at Fort Union until organized into a column for the march across the plains in September. [62] Major Chapman was instructed to establish a camp for the paroled troops near enough to Fort Union that they could be supplied from the storehouses but far enough away from the garrison to prevent interference with its duties. The camp was situated approximately one mile north of the site of the first Fort Union. [63]

On August 14, 1861, an agent called Mr. Perrin (first name unknown) of the war department assigned to assist with the raising of volunteers arrived at Fort Union on his way to Santa Fe. Chapman filled him in on what had been done at the post regarding recruitment and training of New Mexico volunteers. Perrin informed Chapman that a full supply of clothing and camp and garrison equipage for 200 volunteers had been sent from Fort Leavenworth for New Mexico on July 22. [64] These supplies would help outfit a portion the volunteers raised in the territory. That a shortage existed was pointed out by Major Chapman, who declared "there is not a tent at this post for issue to the Vols. or other troops who may arrive." [65] Colonel Canby replied that, until the supply wagons arrived, the troops at Fort Union would have "to bivouac under such temporary shelter as can be provided." To help, he ordered all the supplies, clothing, and camp equipage in the department to be sent immediately to Fort Union. [66] Fortunately for the Union troops in the department, the supply trains from Fort Leavenworth kept coming. At least five contract trains had arrived at Fort Union between July 18 and early August. On August 17 the first of seven more supply trains reached Fort Union, and the rest arrived during the next few weeks. At least two of the trains had followed the Cimarron Route, and it was believed the others might do the same. It was later learned, however, that the other trains had been diverted to the Mountain Route by the commander at Fort Larned. Some of those trains came over Raton Pass and others came via Fort Garland. Chapman held troops in readiness at Fort Union to march to the assistance of any of these trains if needed. [67]

In addition to keeping a close watch on the Santa Fe Trail, Chapman kept small parties of the New Mexico Mounted Volunteers out along the Canadian and Pecos rivers to watch for Texans and Indians. He found the volunteers to be as reliable as the spies that had been employed for that purpose. By August 15 these parties had seen "no body of Texans, Indians nor their trails." [68]

As the number of volunteer troops increased in the department, some of the regular army companies were transferred. On August 15 Colonel Canby ordered Major Chapman to send two companies of mounted riflemen from Fort Union to Fort Wise, Colorado Territory, where they were needed to help protect the Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail. These could be spared because Chapman had four companies of New Mexico Volunteers (three foot and one mounted) "prepared for service on the plains for the protection of the trains as they approach Fort Union." [69] Until volunteer troops at Fort Union were required in the field, Chapman determined that "the work . . . on the entrenchments will go on as usual." [70] Colonel St. Vrain was requested by Chapman to designate the four companies to be utilized to protect the supply trains, if that became necessary, and Lieutenant Colonel Carson was suggested by Chapman as the "appropriate" commander for those troops in the field. Because the fieldwork held highest priority, "the men however will continue to work in the trenches, until official notice is given of their march." [71]

Major Chapman became concerned about his position in relation to the officers of the New Mexico Volunteers. Colonel St. Vrain and Lieutenant Colonel Carson both outranked him, and Chapman worried that they might be given command of Fort Union or that he would be unable to give orders to them if necessary. He attempted to avoid giving them a direct order but simply requested or suggested what he wished they would do. It was not a good arrangement. He asked Colonel Canby for clarification of who was superior. Canby informed Chapman that the volunteers were not assigned to Fort Union for the purpose of commanding the post, but "in any combined operations the senior must command." Canby declared that "officers of the regular army will be assigned to duty according to their brevet rank which will remove to some extent the difficulties in the way of command." [72] Major Chapman was a brevet lieutenant colonel. [73] The issue of rank may have seemed trivial, but it was later to be an important factor in the defense of Fort Union and the defeat of Confederate forces in New Mexico.

The lookout for Texans in New Mexico continued. A few days after Fort Stanton was evacuated, a Union spy reported that the site had been occupied by about 200 Texans. Approximately 25 of those Texans, "with pack mules," were believed by the informant to be headed toward Fort Union. Major Chapman sent Captain Pfeiffer and the Utes who had been employed by Carson to investigate the report that some 25 Texans were coming from Fort Stanton and, if they found them, to "annoy this party." At the same time, a detachment of Company D, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, under command of Lieutenant Joseph Tilford, was sent from Fort Union "with pack mules in the direction of Fort Stanton with the view of cutting off a scouting party of Texans known to be in route from Fort Stanton in the direction of this post." [74] If the Texans really were there, Chapman hoped one of these parties would catch them.

Colonel Canby believed that the Texans reportedly moving north from Fort Stanton would more likely attempt to capture the supply trains coming from Fort Leavenworth than move against Fort Union. The supplies in the wagon trains, if they could be diverted to the Confederates, would help outfit more Texan soldiers, and many more Texans would be required to make a successful assault against the post. It was essential to provide protection for those supply trains and see that the commodities reached Fort Union. Major Chapman was directed by Canby to make every effort "to protect these trains but without reducing your command below what is necessary to place the defense of Fort Union upon a sure footing." This meant that the troops should be kept working on the earthwork until the spies reported evidence of a threat to the wagon trains. Canby enjoined Chapman to keep the "Utes and Spies and Guides . . . out in all directions and every means used to harass and retard their approach." [75] Chapman reported on August 19 that he had "heard nothing more of the Texans." The next day he notified Canby that one of the scouting parties, which had been down the Pecos Valley and within 65 miles of Fort Stanton, returned to Fort Union with good news. "They saw no Texans, nor trails of them or any body of men and everything was quiet on their route." [76]

With no report of an immediate Confederate threat, work continued around the clock on the entrenchments at the second Fort Union. Until the trenches and earth walls were completed, little else was done at the post. Chapman reported to Canby on August 17 that work on new storehouses for the quartermaster and commissary supply depots would begin as soon as it was no longer "necessary to employ the whole force of the Command on the defenses of the Post." He suggested to the department commander that the fieldwork was "well suited for an Ordnance Depot" and recommended rebuilding that facility there, "where temporary storehouses might be commenced at once." [77] Everything seemed to be going well at the fieldwork except for a shortage of wagons at the post, which according to Chapman, "will necessarily retard our work to a considerable extent." [78] Every day that passed without word of a Confederate advance permitted the construction work to proceed.

Captain Pfeiffer and the Ute scouts returned to Fort Union on August 21, after conducting a thorough search south and east of Hatch's Ranch for the Texans reportedly moving north from Fort Stanton. They "saw no signs whatever of them." Major Chapman hoped to keep the Utes in the field, protecting the wagon road between Anton Chico and Albuquerque, but the Utes decided to go home and refused to go on another expedition. Carson tried to persuade them to stay but the Utes declined, stating that sickness in the chief's family required them to return home. Three parties of New Mexican spies were sent to keep watch along the Canadian and Pecos rivers and the country south of the road between Anton Chico and Albuquerque. Although there appeared to be no Texan threat in the vicinity or along the Santa Fe Trail, as a precautionary measure Lieutenant Colonel Carson left Fort Union with four companies of New Mexico Volunteers on August 23 to provide "protection of Government trains on the Cimarron route." [79] Perhaps these troops could be spared because the entrenchments at the fieldwork were nearing completion.

On August 26, 1861, Major Chapman notified Colonel Canby that the earthwork, begun just over three weeks before, "is now ready for occupation, but some parts of it require dressing off." Apparently none of the quarters or storehouses in the fieldwork were completed, but the artillery could be placed inside the walls and the troops could reside in tents inside the enclosure in the event of an attack. Chapman reported that a supply train arrived on August 30 and unloaded at the fieldwork, indicating that some sort of cover (perhaps only tents) was available to protect the commissary provisions in that train. [80] As a defensive position, the new fieldwork appeared secure. Work on the other structures could proceed at a more leisurely pace, without working 24 hours per day. Chapman praised Captain Grover and Lieutenant Nicodemus for overseeing the construction. He described the facility to Canby:

It is not as capacious as it might have been under other circumstances, but considering the time at which it was commenced, the necessity for its rapid completion and the force to be employed upon it, we have accomplished more than I expected and I believe with a Garrison of 600 good and reliable troops it can be defended against any force likely to be brought against it. [81]

Although not all were present at the post for duty, the aggregate garrison of Fort Union at the end of August was 1,325, representing a total of 19 companies (11 of which were New Mexico Volunteers). [82] Upon receipt of Chapman's report on the new facility, Colonel Canby immediately sent words of thanks and praise for all who labored on the fieldwork. [83]

Canby directed that all public property at the original Fort Union be moved as quickly as possible to the fieldwork. Major Chapman believed that perishable commissary items should be kept in the old storehouse until adequate facilities were completed at the fieldwork or an emergency situation arose (such as an imminent attack on the post), when the commodities could be moved to the fieldwork "in a very short time." The post commissary officer, Second Lieutenant Asa Bacon Carey, Seventh Infantry, requested instructions from the department chief of commissary, Captain John Porter Hatch, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, as to whether he should leave the subsistence supplies in the old storehouse or move them to the fieldwork immediately. [84]

Hatch referred the matter to Canby, who resolved the issue and directed that the completion of the "storehouses at the field work be prosecuted as rapidly as possible." Meanwhile, the most perishable commodities, "such as sugar &c that require shelter will be kept in the present storehouses until the new ones are finished or until there is a pressing necessity for removing them." [85] A similar request for direction from Captain Shoemaker at the department ordnance depot at the original Fort Union elicited a similar response. Canby directed Shoemaker to leave any perishable stores in the old storehouses until secure facilities were completed at the fieldwork. [86] Major Chapman was awaiting the pending arrival of Captain John C. McFerran, assistant quartermaster, to oversee the construction of new storehouses at the fieldwork. [87]

While all the changes that came with the outbreak of the Civil War were occurring at Fort Union and within the Department of New Mexico, there was also a change in the civilian government of the territory. When New Mexico Territorial Governor Abraham Rencher, a southerner by birth and secessionist by choice, left New Mexico for the States at the end of August 1861, he and his family were furnished at Fort Union with transportation, a military escort, and "such other facilities as may be necessary for the safety and accommodation of his family in crossing the plains." The quartermaster department was to provide transportation and camp equipage. The commissary department was "authorized to sell the subsistence stores that may be needed by the Governor and his family." [88] Dr. Henry Connelly, a Santa Fe trader who had married a widow of a prominent New Mexican merchant family, was inaugurated as the new territorial governor on September 4, 1861. Connelly did his best to stimulate loyalty among the New Mexicans and to encourage them to enlist in the volunteer regiments. He warned them not to listen to Confederate partisans, pointing out that the Texans were old enemies of New Mexico.

Colonel Canby authorized the troops in New Mexico to arrest citizens who were suspected of being Confederate sympathizers or spies. Major Chapman sent a detail from Fort Union to the nearby town of Loma Parda on August 27 to arrest two men "upon information received from Albuquerque" that they might be Texas spies. Chapman questioned the men and concluded they had come to Loma Parda primarily to gamble with the soldiers who went there while off duty to drink, gamble, and patronize prostitutes. The captives were released after taking an oath to the Union and promising "that they would immediately leave the vicinity of this post." [89]

On orders from Colonel Canby that David Stuart and J. R. Giddings at Anton Chico were suspected of spying for the Confederates, Chapman dispatched 25 dragoons with pack mules, under command of Lieutenant Gay, to arrest the pair. Gay was warned to avoid being seen along the way, if possible, and not to engage any force encountered. "Run no unnecessary risks," Chapman ordered, "as your only object will be to arrest the above named persons, and it should be effected as quietly and expeditiously as possible." [90] Gay succeeded in capturing Giddings at Anton Chico, but learned there that Stuart had sold everything and left the town ten days previously. Stuart was considered an agent for the rebels, who had gone to join them. Giddings, who apparently implicated Stuart as being a Confederate spy, was brought to Fort Union and held in confinement until his case could be decided. [91]

Giddings was later released upon taking an oath of allegiance to the United States. [92] A few days later some of the officers of the First New Mexico Volunteers, who were recruiting at Anton Chico, reported that Giddings was there telling the New Mexicans not to enlist. He "openly declared himself a pure Texan and opposed to the U.S. Government, and has by his great influence with the Mexicans in his neighborhood prevented many from joining the volunteers as they desired to do." Major Chapman ordered that a detail from the volunteers stationed at Hatch's Ranch be sent to arrest Giddings and return him to Fort Union. [93] Giddings was tried by a military commission on October 28, the results of which were not found. [94]

Late in August a civilian named Griffith (first name unknown) was arrested at one of the encampments beside Fort Union, questioned about his loyalty, and detained. Griffith claimed he had come to Fort Union for the purpose of joining a train bound for the states. Chapman kept him under arrest, however, surmising he might be a spy who would endeavor to report to Confederate officers if released. [95] Another civilian, Robert Speakman, was arrested at Tecolote and brought to Fort Union after being charged by some New Mexicans with spying for the Texans. Other citizens claimed that Speakman was "a good character and believe the accusation false." Chapman held Speakman in arrest at Fort Union, awaiting Canby's decision on his case. [96] After reviewing the situation, Canby ordered that Speakman be held until his case could be decided in the territorial courts. [97] Speakman was released several weeks later after he swore an oath of allegiance to the United States. [98]

Because it was uncertain when Captain McFerran would arrive at Fort Union to undertake erection of storehouses, Canby urged Major Chapman to proceed. "It is important," Canby directed, "to lose no time in getting the store houses for supplies in readiness." He suggested to Chapman that the storehouses might best be placed in the demilunes, but left the placement to the post commander. [99] Canby later directed Chapman to follow the plan for barracks and storehouses at the fieldwork as Captain Grover originally planned, placing them in the demilunes. The quartermaster department was directed to provide the necessary materials. Chapman was to utilize any volunteers available for work on the structures. He was short of manpower until Carson returned from his expedition on the Cimarron Route.

Carson had led the four companies of volunteers from Fort Union as far as the Cimarron River, finding no Texans, Indians, nor supply trains on the route. Surmising that the contractors' trains had gone via the Mountain Route, Carson returned to the post. On the return march, he sent a scout of eight volunteers to travel down the Canadian River valley as far as the mouth of Ute Creek, near the New Mexico-Texas border, to watch for Indians or Texans and report back to Fort Union when they found something or completed the assignment. [100]

Upon Carson's return to Fort Union in mid-September, Colonel St. Vrain resigned as colonel of the First Regiment of New Mexico Volunteer Infantry. Carson was promoted to fill the vacancy. A few days later the First Regiment was changed from infantry to mounted volunteers. Those who could supply their own horses were compensated for doing so, and those who had no horses were provided mounts by the quartermaster department. [101] Although the first volunteers had been mustered in for a term of one year and later recruits had been signed for six months, a few for only three months, all new volunteers were to be signed up for a term of three years. All the short-term volunteers were offered the opportunity to extend their enlistment for three years when their original time expired. If the Confederate threat increased, as expected, more troops would be needed to defend the territory. By the end of September the aggregate garrison at the post was 1,679 (1,439 available for duty), including troops of 18 companies (mostly volunteers), the highest ever recorded in the history of the fort. [102] That did not include the large camp of parolees who had surrendered at San Augustin Springs.

Their camp was located along Wolf Creek more than one mile north of the original Fort Union, below a spring and small ranch belonging to Captain Shoemaker of the ordnance depot. Shoemaker irrigated a garden at his ranch, and the encampment of surrendered troops discovered on September 14 that they had no water supply in the bed of Wolf Creek. The camp commander, Captain Potter, discovered that Shoemaker had diverted the water from the spring to water his "cabbage garden." Potter stationed a guard at the spring to see that the water flowed past the camp and protested to Major Chapman. Chapman asked Shoemaker about his right of possession, and apprised Potter of the reply. "Capt. Shoemaker informs me he has been in undisturbed possession of his garden for ten years past, and no one has ever interfered with his property before." Shoemaker had constructed a building, planted the garden, and built the irrigation dam "at his own expense." Because Chapman found no record of a military reservation, although a reservation extending two miles in each direction from the flag staff of the post had been established in 1852, he concluded that the property in question was Shoemaker's "private property." Potter was not to interfere with Shoemaker's spring. [103] Chapman apparently requested that Shoemaker not shut off the water for the temporary camp, but no record was found to indicate whether or not he complied.

Except for the parolees, who would soon depart for the States, [104] the primary task for the troops at Fort Union continued to be the construction of quarters and storehouses at the fieldwork. The prolonged engagement in labor on the new fort reduced the time available for military training. Chapman wanted them to be good soldiers as well as good laborers. He was concerned about the lack of decorum among the troops, especially the volunteers, and interrupted construction work at noon on Saturday, September 21, to allow the men time to prepare for a "thorough and rigid inspection" the following morning. He ordered all company commanders to carry out the inspection, "and every man found out of order in any particular will be placed in charge of a non-commissioned officer, who will see the deficiency repaired, and the men will be inspected again at Retreat by his Company Commander." [105] The inspection was intended to improve the military qualities of the men. Chapman also wanted improvements in their labor.

The men were back at their construction duties on Monday, September 23. Captain Grover and Lieutenant Nicodemus were still in charge of construction. They were directed by Major Chapman to report all soldiers who failed "to perform their duties properly, that they may be brought to trial and punishment for their neglect." Chapman was determined to push the project to completion as quickly as possible. He made his position clear to everyone at the post: "Much laborious work has already been accomplished, but much is yet to be done before the commencement of winter, and it is expected that every officer & soldier will exert himself in a faithful performance of his duties until the defenses, store-houses &c are completed." [106] When some of the volunteer companies completed their training and were assigned to other stations, Chapman became concerned about the loss of labor. Even though the quartermaster department was authorized to hire mechanics and laborers to help with construction, Chapman wanted to keep "several hundred of the volunteers" on extra duty there until "the commencement of winter." [107] Canby granted the request, noting that "it is expected that as much as possible of the work . . . will be done by the soldiers." The commander of the camp of instruction was instructed to furnish "any detail for mechanics and laborers" that might be needed. Four companies of the First New Mexico Volunteers were assigned from the camp of instruction to the garrison of Fort Union, where they could continue to labor on the fieldwork. [108] The urgency of finishing the new fortification was increased with the arrival of news that Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley, in command of three regiments of Texas Volunteer Cavalry (approximately 2,700 officers and men), was preparing to march from San Antonio to Fort Bliss, from where they would join the Confederate forces already in New Mexico. [109] Sibley had commanded Fort Union only a few months before and knew better than any Confederate officer the trove of supplies located there and the importance of capturing the post.

Henry Hopkins Sibley
Henry Hopkins Sibley, courtesy of Library of Congress.

When Captain McFerran arrived to take charge of the department's quartermaster depot at Fort Union in early October, he assumed control over the workers at the fieldwork. Captain Grover, who had designed the new fort and had been in charge of its construction from the beginning, objected to being superseded. Chapman, who as post commander had no authority over the department quartermaster or depot, requested Colonel Canby's intervention so "the work may go on as rapidly as possible." [110] Canby ruled that construction of defensive works was under the engineer rather than quartermaster department and Captain Grover would continue to oversee construction until he was transferred (within a few days) from Fort Union, at which time Captain McFerran would be appointed. Grover had been assigned to another station, but his move had been delayed to allow him to continue with the project. [111]

Who was in charge of construction was only one problem causing delays. Unauthorized persons were bringing whiskey onto the military reservation and selling it to the troops, especially the volunteers. Some of the volunteers were unable to work because of intoxication. Major Chapman asked Canby for authority to clean out the whiskey traders. Canby's directions were clear: "The whiskey is entirely in your own hands. You can clear out every one living on the reservation who sells it, prohibit its introduction except by authority and confiscate all that is brought in in violation of orders." In addition to the liquor, Chapman was authorized to confiscate all the wagons and animals used to bring whiskey onto the reservation without his permission. Anything seized could then be sold and the proceeds used for the hospital and care of the "infirm." [112]

To add teeth to his instructions, Canby issued an order to deal with the problem:

The unauthorized introduction, sale, or disposal in any manner whatever of spirituous or intoxicating liquors, within or about the military reservation at Fort Union is forbidden. All intoxicating liquors introduced without authority, and all wagons and other vehicles, animals or other property, used in carrying on this illicit traffic, will be seized and sold, and the proceeds applied to the benefit of the sick at the post and camp. If the seizure is made upon information one-half of the proceeds will go to the informer. . . . In addition to this forfeiture the offender will be liable to such punishment as may be inflicted by the sentence of a Military commission. [113]

A short time later Spiegelberg & Bros., sutler for the New Mexico Volunteers, was accused of violating the rules prohibiting the sale of liquor to the troops at Camp Chapman. The firm declared that their agent had been "repeatedly given instructions . . . not to Sell or dispose of a drop of any kind of intoxicating liquor to any of the soldiers." If the agent had disobeyed, Spiegelberg wanted to know. He promised to replace the agent "immediately" and pledged that his firm was not in the business of violating military rules. [114] Chapman informed Spiegelberg that his agent had been selling whiskey illegally to the troops and had been ordered to stop. If he failed to do so, Chapman declared he would close the Spiegelberg store and remove the agent from the post. [115] When further violations were discovered the following year, the Spiegelbergs were ordered to keep "no liquor in decanters or other small quantities" at the store. The new post commander, Colonel Paul, warned that failure to comply would result in "having your store closed." [116] In July 1862 Solomon Beuthner, who may have been an employee of Spiegelberg & Bros., was appointed the sutler for the New Mexico Volunteers. [117]

There seemed to be plenty of whiskey at Fort Union, but other supplies were running short. On October 9 Major Chapman reported to department headquarters that there was no flour left at the post. He was awaiting a shipment from the mill at Mora, but until it arrived rations were short. Some of the companies ready to depart for other stations were being held at Union until flour arrived so they could carry their subsistence with them. The flour arrived on October 10, and the companies moved out the same day. The department quartermaster was directed to investigate why there was a "deficiency of flour." [118] There was also a shortage of ammunition in the department. Colonel Canby directed that "until the new supply of ammunition is received target practice in this Department is suspended." [119] A few days later the sale of commissary provisions to officers at Fort Union was limited to one ration per day because of the shortage of supplies. [120] Some relief was provided as the number of troops at Fort Union was reduced. At the end of October 1861 the aggregate garrison was 676 (554 available for duty). [121]

When that reduction occurred by transfer to other stations, Colonel Canby directed that Major Chapman exercise "the utmost vigilance . . . in watching the country east of Fort Union," especially the Canadian and Pecos valleys. Constant patrols were to be kept in the field from Fort Union and Hatch's Ranch to avoid any surprises by the Texans. [122] There continued to be unconfirmed rumors that Texans were heading toward Fort Union along the Pecos and Canadian rivers and into Colorado Territory along the Arkansas River. [123] If the troops found anyone suspected of giving aid to or sympathizing with the Confederates, they were to arrest them and bring them to Fort Union for trial. The number arrested continued to grow.

When that reduction occurred by transfer to other stations, Colonel Canby directed that Major Chapman exercise "the utmost vigilance . . . in watching the country east of Fort Union," especially the Canadian and Pecos valleys. Constant patrols were to be kept in the field from Fort Union and Hatch's Ranch to avoid any surprises by the Texans. [122] There continued to be unconfirmed rumors that Texans were heading toward Fort Union along the Pecos and Canadian rivers and into Colorado Territory along the Arkansas River. [123] If the troops found anyone suspected of giving aid to or sympathizing with the Confederates, they were to arrest them and bring them to Fort Union for trial. The number arrested continued to grow.

Major Chapman became concerned about the adequacy of the guardhouse at Fort Union as an increasing number of suspected Confederate partisans were brought to the post. He pointed out to Colonel Canby that the old guardhouse was "small, inconvenient and crowded." It was in a "dilapidated condition" and not secure from escape. Chapman suggested to Canby that citizens who were arrested might be better kept at the jail in Mora or some other town. [124] An adequate guard detail from the garrison could keep the prisoners confined, regardless of the facilities. Canby decided the best way to deal with the problem was to convene a military commission as soon as possible at Fort Union to hear the pending cases. [125] The following day Colonel Canby declared martial law throughout the territory, giving the military jurisdiction over all citizens accused of any crime or violation of orders. Thus a military commission, after hearing witnesses, could decide and punish any citizen who gave support of any kind, covert or public, to the Confederacy. [126]

Fort Union continued to be responsible for protecting the vital route of supply from the Missouri River from Indian or Texan raids. The supply trains were still encouraged to follow the Raton or Mountain Route because it was considered safer, especially since the establishment of Fort Wise (later Fort Lyon) near Bent's New Fort at the Big Timbers in late August 1860. The wagonmasters, however, preferred to follow the shorter Cimarron Route to avoid the difficult road over Raton Pass. There was concern that winter snows would close Raton Pass. Captain McFerran, in charge of the quartermaster depot at Fort Union, requested authorization from the chief quartermaster in New Mexico, Major James Lowry Donaldson at Santa Fe, to utilize volunteer soldiers to work on a new, more direct road east of Raton Pass and to make it "passable for wagons" between Forts Union and Wise. McFerran believed that a company of volunteers from each post, working from each end of the proposed route, could do the necessary cutting down of banks and improve the stream crossings in approximately one month. He hoped such improvements would make the route acceptable to freighters and "soon be the only route used." This would help ensure the safe arrival of supplies for the department.' [27]

Colonel Canby approved the proposal and directed Major Chapman to detail a company of volunteers to begin working on the road as soon as possible. Company C, First New Mexico Mounted Volunteers, commanded by Captain Francisco P. Abreu, was sent "to open the proposed new route" on November 20. Canby requested the commanding officer at Fort Wise, Captain Elmer Otis, Fourth Cavalry, to do the same. McFerran was directed to furnish the detail "with the necessary tools and transportation." He was to send a guide to assist the work party from Fort Wise. [128] The new route between Forts Union and Wise was later found to be 165.5 miles long, considerably shorter than the approximately 238 miles via the Mountain Route over Raton Pass. Canby sent Otis a map of the proposed route, which has not been located, and gave detailed instructions for "opening a practicable road for heavily loaded trains." [129] Lieutenant John Pope had found a passage between the Canadian River and the Big Timbers in 1851, [130] and his route may have been the path for this wagon road developed in 1861.

On December 22, 1861, Captain Abreu and his company returned to Fort Union. Abreu reported that they had "made a very good road, shortening the distance &c." [131] It is not known if this route was used by the supply trains. William H. Moore, the post sutler during the Civil War, recalled years later that supply trains continued to follow the Cimarron Route more than any other during the years of that conflict. [132] A train of 40 wagons, carrying clothing, camp and garrison equipage, and ordnance, which apparently followed the Cimarron Route, arrived at Fort Union on November 27. [133]

While troops were working on improving the route of supply to New Mexico, Canby reorganized the military department. He established six military districts, each under an assigned commander, to administer the territory. Each district was responsible for enforcing martial law, keeping an eye on the Indians, and dealing with Confederate troops should they appear. Fort Union was in the second or eastern district, encompassing the region "east of the Pecos river, Moro Peaks and Sangre de Christo Mountains, and north of Anton Chico." The camps of instruction and depots at Fort Union and Albuquerque remained under direct control of the department commander. [134] Major Chapman, as commander of Fort Union, was in charge of this district. Chapman was also assigned the duties of acting inspector general at Camp Cameron (formerly Camp Chapman), the camp of instruction at Fort Union, when Major Paul was transferred to Santa Fe. [135] Chapman soon communicated to department headquarters, "I find it impossible to perform my duties with the Mexican Vols. and militia without an interpreter and ask authority to employ one." Permission was granted the next day. [136]

Language was only one of the problems Chapman had with a blend of Anglo and New Mexican troops, compounded by the combination of regulars and volunteers. When the troops began moving into quarters at the fieldwork, Lieutenant Colonel J. Francisco Chavez, First Regiment New Mexico Mounted Volunteers, charged that the quarters assigned to himself and other officers of his regiment were "unfit for any officer or gentleman to occupy." He also declared that the regular troops had discriminated against the New Mexican volunteers, who had been "slighted in nearly every respect," and used "insulting language" toward volunteer officers. Canby, who demonstrated little respect for Hispanics, ordered a board of survey to examine the quarters at the fieldwork. Chapman, who claimed he was "not aware that any distinction had been made in the treatment of Regulars and volunteers at this post," informed Chavez that some of the volunteer officers had been guilty of "misconduct." Also, the volunteer officers should have arrested and preferred charges against any regulars who insulted them. Chapman virtually denied any discrimination had occurred and then disparaged the volunteers. "I venture to say," he wrote to Chavez, "that the volunteer soldiers of your command have never been so well fed, clothed and quartered as at present, and never will be again after they leave the Service of the U. States." [137]

Chapman may not have known that he was addressing a member of one of the wealthiest and most influential families in New Mexico. Chavez was the son of a former governor and the stepson of the current Governor Connelly. He had been educated at St. Louis University and had studied medicine at the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons. It could hardly be said that he had not known a better quality of life. On the other hand, for many of the New Mexican volunteers, Chapman's derogatory remark may have been true. The validity of Chavez's complaint was impossible to determine, but the exchanges that occurred confirmed that prejudice prevailed in New Mexico.

There were varieties of prejudices, between Anglos and Hispanics on one hand and between regulars and volunteers on the other, factors which make it difficult to assess accurately the extent of actual, as compared to imagined, discrimination. Clearly, however, relations were sometimes strained and often sensitive. After the board of survey had met and reported to Canby, and other information had been gathered about the situation, the department commander informed Chavez nothing had been found "upon which a complaint can reasonably be grounded." He noted that, according to the report of the board of survey, "the quarters complained of are greatly superior to any that have been occupied by the regular troops at Fort Union during the past three winters, and far above the average of those that are usually occupied on frontier service." He lectured Chavez that any soldiers who "enter the service with the expectation of carrying with them the luxuries, or even the comforts of a home, it is an idea of which they cannot too soon divest themselves." After pointing out that "the greater portion of the troops in the Department will be obliged to pass the Winter in huts or tents," Canby was very disappointed to hear that the "comfortable shelter" at Fort Union was "not properly appreciated." [138] Canby improved the comfort of the volunteers who occupied quarters at the fieldwork when he directed that bed sacks be issued to them. [139]

The troops at Fort Union not only moved into new quarters; they received a new commanding officer. On December 9, 1861, Major Gabriel R. Paul was selected by New Mexico Governor Connelly to serve as the colonel of the Fourth New Mexico Volunteers (infantry). Paul then outranked Major Chapman and was assigned to command Fort Union and the eastern district of New Mexico. Paul also took charge of training volunteers at the camp of instruction at Camp Cameron. [140] Colonel Paul arrived at Fort Union and assumed command on December 13. He was not unfamiliar with the post and its environs, having served as inspector general at the camp of instruction for several months. Major Chapman departed Fort Union on December 17, traveling by stage to Missouri on the way to join his regiment. [141]

Paul was a stickler for rules and regulations. His first official act as commanding officer at Fort Union was to issue an order requiring all volunteer officers, "when on duty at this post, to wear the uniform and insignia of their respective rank." [142] Because the military instruction of the volunteers had been "very much neglected in consequence of the constant labor of the troops on the Field work at this Post," Colonel Paul hoped to reach a point in the construction work soon which would permit the men to stop for a time so the troops could "resume their drills." All that remained to make the fieldwork secure for the time being, according to Paul, was to dig "a ditch around the quarters" and throw "so much of the dirt against the outer sides as will make them cannon proof." Then, he suggested, the work might be "suspended" until spring. [143] He wanted to see the volunteers become good soldiers, not just manual laborers. Without waiting for the suspension of construction work, Paul directed that the volunteers who were "not engaged at the works" would begin daily drills (except Sunday) on December 16. [144]

Canby granted a temporary suspension of work for some of the volunteers so they could receive more training. Paul assigned the prisoners at Fort Union to work under guard each day at the new fort (from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:15 p.m. to sunset). Others also continued to labor on the fieldwork until June 1862. Then, after the Confederate advance had been countered successfully, Captain McFerran was directed "to suspend the work of building at Fort Union until further orders." [145] One of the few descriptions of the fieldwork, the second Fort Union, was provided by a Confederate reporter. The writer was not identified but must have received information from someone who had seen the fieldwork. The report, published in the Mesilla Times, December 12, 1861, was reprinted in a New Orleans paper a few weeks later. Because this was the most comprehensive narration found, even though it overrated the defensibility of the post and made it seem quite formidable, it follows as originally printed:

New Fort Union, situated one mile due east of the old fort, is considering its position and the material at hand, one of the best pieces of engineering ever done in America. It is an octagon, situated on an open ridge, two miles on each slope, to the valley. The walls are double rows of large pine logs en palisade, 12 feet between the rows, and filled with sod. The ditch is 20 feet wide at the top, 16 feet at the bottom, and 12 feet deep.

The abattis is firmly studded with dwarf cedar trees, the branches trimmed short, case hardened with fire and sharpened to a point. These are firmly driven in, and present a bristling array upon which it would be impossible to force cavalry. The cannon enfilade the ditch at all points, and there is no cover for the approach of an attacking party within cannon shot. The magazine, quarters and all the garrison buildings are half basement, bomb-proof buildings. Some of these are entirely under ground. Four large bomb-proof ware-houses have been built, fronting the salient angles of the fort, and in the shape of a wedge. There are in this post two years supplies of all kinds for two regiments. Ten 12 pounders are mounted, and several guns of larger calibre were being mounted. [146] Kit Carson's volunteer regiment, and about a regiment of regulars are stationed at that point. [147]

A description of the fieldwork was provided by an observer from the other side when Ovando J. Hollister, First Colorado Volunteers, arrived in March 1862:

A simple field-work of moderate size, with bastioned corners surrounded by dirt parapet and ditch, with a slight abattis at exposed points. The armament is poor, consisting mostly of howitzers, but the supply of ammunition is deemed sufficient for any emergency. It has bomb-proof quarters in and surrounding it forming part of the works, sufficiently large to accommodate 500 men besides the necessary room for stores. [148]

It may have been significant that such reports claimed the fieldwork could not be easily breached. Apparently both Union and Confederate officers believed that to be true. This probably gave the garrison at the post a feeling of security, while enemy troops were led to believe that the best way to deal with the situation was to lure the command away from the post for engagement. Because the troops left Fort Union and defeated the Confederates before they could reach the post, the defensive capacity of the fieldwork was not tested in battle. It was, however, tested by a new post commander, Captain Peter William Livingston Plympton, Seventh Infantry, in June 1862.

Plympton suspected that the fieldwork had not been moved far enough from the bluffs overlooking the original post to be safely beyond artillery fired from the cliffs. Unlike everyone connected with the relocation of the post, Plympton placed a six-pound gun and a twelve-pound howitzer in position and fired them in the direction of the fieldwork. The six-pounder was situated at the base of the hills and the twelve-pounder at the crest. Both weapons were "fired at least three times" and hurled shells beyond the fieldwork. In addition, "the work has a 'dip' towards these hills which causes its whole interior to be revealed." The shells could be lobbed over the walls into the fort. [149]

Plympton also fired a six-pounder from the western bastion of the fieldwork toward the hills to see if it was possible to reach the positions from which the weapons had been fired at the post. "With the greatest elevation that could be given it," he reported, "the ball only reached about midway of the hills from which the howitzer was fired." [150] Clearly, the fieldwork was indefensible against artillery. Plympton studied the site and concluded that there was no way, except moving it farther away from the mesa, to make it safe. This officer was not pleased that the site had been so improperly selected, and he found much else about the fieldwork to distress him.

This representation of the design of the Fort Union fieldwork is based on archeaological evidence, aerial photography, and written descriptions. No plans for this earthwork have been found. The magazine was in the center, gun placements were around the perimeter of the central earthwork, and quarters were in the demilunes. National Park Service Drawing, Fort Union National Monument Archives.

second Fort Union
This photo of the second Fort Union, the earthwork erected during the Civil war, was taken after the new depot and third post were under construction, seen in the background. Although it is very dim, the flag is flying on the flag staff constructed of two poles at right of center. U.S. Signal Corps, courtesy National Archives.

second Fort Union structure
This is reportedly one of the structures connected with the second Fort Union or earthwork, no date. It was camouflaged with tree branches. Photo Collection, Fort Union National Monument, courtesy Arrott Collection, New Mexico Highlands University.

The quarters are very objectionable, being built of unseasoned materials which are shrinking under the effects of the heat, and they are low and badly ventilated. The store houses being like the quarters, mere shells afford but little protection to their contents, and are damp and without floors. The magazine, I am informed, is unfit by reason of its dampness for the reception of ammunition; if such is the case now, what must be its condition during the rainy season? [151]

The second Fort Union, like the first, had been constructed in haste by unskilled soldiers using inadequate materials readily at hand, following a plan that was not carefully adapted to the environment. The fieldwork, unlike the original, was designed to meet an emergency situation in wartime. Soon after the crisis passed a more permanent, third Fort Union was begun. Undoubtedly, it was Plympton's revelations about the precarious position of the post that caused Colonel Canby to suspend further construction at the site in June 1862. Before that happened, most of the Civil War battles in New Mexico had been fought.

After Lieutenant Colonel Baylor had taken possession of the southern part of New Mexico Territory, he proclaimed on August 1 the Confederate Territory of Arizona (comprising approximately the southern half of the present states of New Mexico and Arizona, everything south of 34° north latitude) and himself as military governor. Without sufficient troops to push northward toward the Rio Grande settlements in New Mexico, Baylor contented himself with establishing Confederate control of his new territory. The conquest of the rest of New Mexico was left for others. Brigadier General Sibley, with his "Sibley Brigade" of Texas Cavalry, was given that task.

On December 25, 1861, Colonel Roberts, commanding at Fort Craig, informed the rest of the department that his spies had discovered the movement of approximately 2,000 Texans, "well supplied with artillery," northward from Fort Bliss. Their destination was unknown, but the enlarged invasion had apparently begun. [152] This was probably just one regiment, less than 1,000 in number, of Sibley's Brigade. They encamped about 25 miles north of Fort Bliss to await the rest of Sibley's troops.

Colonel Canby had moved department headquarters to Fort Craig in anticipation of Confederate intrusion, hoping to stop the rebels before they could reach the rest of the Rio Grande valley. If the Texans chose to bypass the settlements and strike directly at Fort Union, the troops at Union would have to push them back. After receiving word of the pending Confederate thrust, Colonel Paul suggested to Canby, if there were too many Texans for the troops at Fort Craig to handle, that they all "fall back on Fort Union." He also assured the department commander, "I am making preparations to receive them, in case they intend to pay me a visit." As the year 1861 came to a close, the aggregate garrison at Fort Union was 733 (597 available for duty) and Paul was confident the fieldwork was virtually unassailable. [153]

On January 1, 1862, Colonel Canby notified the department from Fort Craig that "information from below states that 1200 men with 7 pieces of artillery are on the march to this place." [154] On the same day, Canby requested Colorado Territory Governor William Gilpin to send "as large a force of the Colorado Volunteers as can possibly be spared" to Forts Wise and Garland to assist "in defending this Territory." [155] Canby was especially concerned about protection of the Santa Fe Trail, the life line without which Union forces could not hope to win in New Mexico. Colonel Canby continued to arrange his forces in the department to meet any attack the Confederates could initiate. [156]

At Fort Union, labor continued on the fieldwork. Colonel Paul reported that "nearly all" the quartermaster and ordnance stores had been moved into the new fort. After the collapse of a lengthy tunnel (later described as "several thousand feet" long) [157] from the earthwork to a spring on Wolf Creek, a well was being dug inside the fortification to supply water for the garrison in case of siege. He remained assured that "every arrangement has been made to receive the enemy properly should they come here." [158] There was no immediate threat, as Paul reported: "Everything in this neighborhood is quiet & there is no confirmation of the presence of any enemy for many miles." [159] Supplies continued to flow through Fort Union to the rest of the department.

Throughout New Mexico, recruitment of more volunteers continued. Everywhere the the troops were making preparations and waiting for the Texans to commit themselves to a definite line of attack. Despite continued Indian problems in the territory, most efforts were concentrated against the Texans. Canby promised to turn the attention of his troops to the Indians "as soon as the present emergency has passed away." Although it appeared Sibley was going to bring his Texas brigade up the Rio Grande and make contact with the troops at Fort Craig, there were rumors that other Texans might be coming up the Pecos and Canadian valleys. Colonel Canby, who had moved his headquarters to Belen between Fort Craig and Albuquerque, informed the adjutant general of the army that "all the different approaches to the country are closely watched by scouts and spies and I have no apprehension of the approach of the enemy without receiving several days notice." [160] Sibley concentrated his brigade at old Fort Thorn some 80 miles down river from Fort Craig. They were ready to start moving north in early February. By that time some of the New Mexican troops were getting weary from waiting and wondering when the Texans would come.

Because the troops in New Mexico had not been paid for several months (in fact, some of the volunteers had not yet been paid at all), Canby requested that everything possible be done to get the paymaster and money to New Mexico from Fort Leavenworth. This was essential if the loyalty of New Mexicans was to be held by the Union. Canby, who placed little trust in New Mexican soldiers, made his opinions clear: "The Mexican people have no affection for the institutions of the United States; they have strong . . . hatred for the Americans as a race." In addition, "there are not wanting persons who . . . have secretly and industriously endeavored to keep alive all the elements of discontent and fan them into flames." Therefore, Canby believed, any further delay in paying them would result in "a marked and pernicious influence upon these ignorant and impulsive people." [161] Despite such pleas, many of the New Mexican troops were not paid for several more months. [162] Canby's fears were not unfounded.

On January 16, 1862, a total of 28 men of the Second New Mexico Volunteers stationed at Socorro, all Hispanos, "mutinied and afterward deserted and fled to the mountains." The reason they gave was that "they have not been paid and clothed as they were promised." Canby believed they had been incited by Confederate sympathizers among the New Mexicans. It was feared the mutineers might join the Texans or carry information about the Union troops to Sibley's command. A patrol was sent from Fort Craig in an attempt to apprehend them. All other commanders of volunteers in the department were enjoined to watch for them and to prevent, by whatever means necessary, any more revolts. [163]

Also on January 16, an attempted "revolt" in one of the militia companies at Fort Union was discovered and quickly suppressed by Colonel Paul. Paul was convinced "that the officers of the Company are to blame in the case, . . . although I could procure no positive proof against them." He acted quickly "to prevent the spread of the mutiny." He "set the company at hard labor until night & then" discharged the commissioned officers, reduced the non-commissioned officers to privates, and distributed "all the enlisted men among the other companies of Militia, at the post." The results were satisfactory, as Paul concluded: "I am happy to say that the excitement, very great at first, has subsided, and all appear to be ready and willing to attend to their duty." Canby assured Paul that "a sufficient force of regular troops will be kept at Fort Union to prevent or control any similar disorder in future." [164]

In February 1862 the positioning of opposing armies in New Mexico set the stage for the most dramatic engagements of the Civil War in the Southwest. Sibley started his brigade northward from Fort Thorn on February 7 in units and approximately 2,300 Texans were concentrated a few miles below Fort Craig by February 15. At Fort Craig Canby had concentrated 3,800 Union troops. More aid was on the way. Lewis Weld, the acting governor of Colorado Territory, directed that the First Regiment of Colorado Volunteers under command of Colonel John P. Slough, a Denver attorney, march to New Mexico Territory as quickly as possible. [165] They began arriving at Fort Union on March 10, the same day that an advance of the Texas Volunteers reached Santa Fe.

The first major battle in New Mexico occurred at Valverde, near Fort Craig, on February 21. Sibley realized that he would have difficulty capturing the stronghold at Fort Craig and hoped to draw the troops away from the post for an engagement. After failing initially to lure Canby's troops into battle south of Fort Craig, the Texans decided to bypass the fort on the east side of the Rio Grande. It would be dangerous to have a large number of the enemy to the rear, but this action might draw the troops out to battle. The engagement came at Valverde ford, approximately six miles north of Fort Craig. The Confederates won the day, with heavy losses for both sides. [166] Among the dead was Union Captain Alexander McRae, Third Cavalry, a native of North Carolina who had served at Fort Union before the war. It was later reported that, the night before he was killed, McRae declared "he had nothing to live for, his family having disowned him on account of his adherence to the Union." [167] The Texans did not capture Fort Craig and the supplies they needed, however, and proceeded toward Albuquerque with what was left of Canby's command to their rear. Fort Craig, on the other hand, was cut off from its supply line. Canby calculated that he had sufficient provisions there to last until late April, if necessary. [168]

The Confederates marched up the Rio Grande, capturing towns and supplies as they went: Socorro on February 25, Belen on March 1, Albuquerque on March 2, and Santa Fe on March 10. The Union troops located along the way attempted to destroy what supplies they could not carry with them and retreated ahead of the Texans. The federal soldiers escorted what supplies they escaped with to Fort Union, last stronghold for the Union and major objective of the Confederate forces. The leaders of both sides understood that Fort Union and its supplies held the key to the fate of the territory. [169]

At least one Union officer realized that the territory held the key to the ultimate fate of the Confederate States of America. Acting Inspector General Gurden Chapin, Seventh Infantry, understood that the Confederate conquest of New Mexico was "a great political feature of the rebellion. It will gain the rebels a name and a prestige over Europe, and operate against the Union cause." He predicted that, if the Confederates captured New Mexico, they would "extend their conquest toward old Mexico and in the direction of Southern California." He concluded that the present threat "should not only be checked, but . . . rendered impossible." [170] A Confederate officer on Sibley's staff, Captain Trevanion T. Teel, First Regiment of Texas Artillery, later confirmed Chapin's fears. According to Teel, Sibley intended to use New Mexico as a base for the conquest of California and northern Mexico. [171] What might have happened if that had occurred would be pure speculation, but there is no need to hypothesize. The troops from Fort Union stopped Sibley before he could even subdue New Mexico. [172]

The staff at Fort Union received news of the battle at Valverde on February 25. Colonel Paul immediately sent three companies from the garrison to proceed to the front and provide whatever assistance they could. He directed the troops at Hatch's Ranch to evacuate that outpost and fall back to Fort Union, bringing their supplies with them. [173] Major Donaldson, commanding at Santa Fe, directed all the supply trains heading south to turn around and return to Fort Union with their cargoes. He planned to ship all the supplies from Santa Fe to Fort Union as quickly as possible. Donaldson also sent an express to Denver to request that the Colorado Volunteers be marched to Fort Union as fast as possible. [174] When Santa Fe was abandoned by Union troops, Governor Connelly and the territorial government moved to Las Vegas. [175]

Because Canby was still at the isolated Fort Craig, Colonel Paul assumed command of all the Union troops in the department "not under the immediate command of . . . Canby." This was to be in effect "during the present emergency and until communication be re-established with" Canby. [176] Paul sent Major Donaldson to Washington, D.C., "to represent in person the interests of the department of New Mexico, and to urge upon the President of the United States the necessity of immediate and prompt measures for its relief from present embarassments." During Donaldson's absence, Captain McFerran was to serve as chief quartermaster and Captain Herbert M. Enos, quartermaster department, was placed in charge of the depot at Fort Union. [177]

Paul continued to make preparations to resist the impending Confederate attack. [178] A light battery was organized at Fort Union to be sent into the field against the Texans if needed. Commanded by Captain John F. Ritter, Fifteenth Infantry, it was comprised of a total of 49 officers and men detailed from various companies of regular troops at the post. They were assigned two six-pounder guns and two twelve-pounder howitzers. The horses were taken from the Second Cavalry. [179] A few days later another battery, with four mountain howitzers, was organized under command of Lieutenant Ira W. Claflin, Sixth Cavalry. It had a total of 30 officers and men. [180] Captain William H. Lewis, Fifth Infantry, was assigned immediate command of the fieldwork and the troops garrisoned in it. [181] Other changes were made, especially after it was learned the Texans had occupied Santa Fe and the Colorado Volunteers arrived at the post.

Two of the Colorado Volunteers, Privates Ovando Hollister and Charles Gardner, reported that the weary soldiers in their unit were happy to reach Fort Union after a forced march of 90 miles with very little rest along the way. They were not impressed with their reception. Gardner explained that "our very obliging and considerate Col. [Slough] rode ahead and told the Commandant of the post (who was having tents pitched and supper prepared) that it was entirely unnecessary; for his men were all old mountaineers and accustomed to all kinds of hardships & privations." Hollister explained that the Colorado troops were marched to the front of Colonel Paul's quarters, where both Paul "and Governor Conelly [Connelly] welcomed us in rather unintelligible words to their assistance." According to Hollister, "they commended the zeal with which we had accomplished the march from Denver, but said nothing of the battle of Val Verde or of the whereabouts of the enemy at present; subjects that might naturally be supposed to slightly interest us." [182]

Hollister probably expressed the sentiment of all his comrades when he declared, "I thought they might as well have permitted the boys, hungry and tired, to go to their camp near the fortification as to have perpetrated this farce." Because Colonel Slough had stopped Colonel Paul's efforts to have tents and supper waiting, Gardner disclosed, "we were compelled to lie out all night, exposed to a severe, cold March wind, without a mouthful to eat." Because the exhausted volunteers complained about conditions, each company was provided with three gallons of whiskey. Hollister claimed that the Colorado Volunteers spent much of their time at Fort Union finding whiskey and getting drunk. [183]

A tragic incident occurred during their brief stay at Fort Union when Lieutenant Isaac Gray, Company B, First Colorado Volunteers, attempted to arrest Sergeant Darias Philbrook for drunkenness. Philbrook shot Gray in the face. According to Hollister, Philbrook shot five times and hit Gray once. Gray survived but Philbrook was sentenced to death by a court-martial board. [184] The night before the Colorado troops departed to meet the Texans, Hollister wrote, "the boys broke into the sutler's cellar and gobbled a lot of whisky, wine, canned fruit, oysters, etc." [185] Keeping the volunteers sober was not the only problem for the post commander.

When Colonel Paul discovered that Colonel Slough, commander of the Colorado regiment, had been appointed to the rank of colonel first and outranked him, Paul was incensed and immediately complained to army headquarters. "Upon the arrival of Colonel Slough," he wrote, "I had the mortification to discover that his commission was senior to mine, and thus I am deprived of a command which I had taken so much pains to organize and with which I expected to reap laurels." He pointed out that Slough had been in the service for six months. Paul had graduated from West Point in 1834, been in the service since, and "has frequently been tried in battle." He begged to be promoted to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers. [186] There was no time for that to happen before the Texans arrived. Colonel Paul, loyal soldier that he was, accepted the situation and assigned a column of regular troops (including the two recently-organized batteries, three companies of cavalry, and three companies of infantry) to "act in conjunction" with the Colorado Volunteers, all under command of Colonel Slough. [187] Paul remained in command of the eastern district and Fort Union while Slough commanded the troops in the field.

John P. Slough
John P. Slough, courtesy State Historical Society of Colorado.

Colonel Paul had conceived a plan to take the bulk of the troops ("1,200 Americans and four guns") at Fort Union on March 24 and bypass the Confederates in the Rio Grande valley by marching to Anton Chico in an attempt to join up with Canby's troops from Fort Craig on March 26 or 27. Paul would bring provisions for the combined force, which could then seek and destroy the Texans. [188] Canby initially approved that arrangement but later changed his mind, declaring that "Fort Union must be held and our communication with the East kept open." He advised Paul, "do not move from Fort Union to meet me until I advise you of the route and point of junction." [189]

Colonel Paul and Colonel Slough disagreed about how best to meet the Confederate threat. Paul, following Canby's latest instructions, wanted to retain the troops at Fort Union to defend the post until additional orders were received from Canby. Slough, on the other hand, wanted to take most of the troops and move toward Santa Fe, noting that "instructions from Colonel Canby are not only to protect Fort Union, but also to harass the enemy." They would engage the Texans in the field or drive them from Santa Fe if possible, with Fort Union to furnish supplies and serve as the point to fall back on if necessary. This intervening action would not expose the fort to the Texans immediately, and it might defeat or disable the Confederate troops. If the Texans were not turned back, much of the fight might at least be taken out of them before they reached the post. Colonel Slough had his way because his appointment as colonel predated that of Paul. [190] As noted above, this may have been critical because the fieldwork could (as later demonstrated) be taken by artillery placed on the mesa behind the old post.

Colonel Paul protested to Slough that the latter's plans were "in violation of Colonel Canby's instructions, and, if unsuccessful, must result in the entire loss of the Territory." "With due deference to your superior judgment," Paul declared, "I must insist that your plans . . . must inevitably result in disaster to us all." He concluded with strong words: "I protest against this movement of yours . . . in direct disobedience of the orders of Colonel Canby." [191] In order to absolve himself of any blame for what might happen, Paul explained the circumstances to the adjutant general of the army in order "to throw the responsibility of any disaster which may occur on the right shoulders." [192]

At the same time, Governor Connelly, who had been advocating an offensive against the Texans, supported Colonel Slough's decision. Connelly thought Slough's column could "curtail the limits of the enemy, and mayhap lead to the expulsion of the enemy from the capital." The governor predicted that "this slight difference of opinion and movement will lead to no unfavorable result." Connelly also hoped Canby would march from Fort Craig to join in the offensive. [193] Canby was not moving, however, and the defense of the territory fell primarily on the troops at Fort Union. The Colorado Volunteers, sometimes called the "Pike's Peakers," were ready to fight and confident of victory.

The Texans were not nearly as well organized as most of the officers at Fort Union believed. [194] Sibley's brigade was spread out from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, where only about 250 to 300 Texans, under command of Major Charles L. Pyron, Second Regiment of Texas Mounted Rifles, held the territorial capital. Sibley was reportedly ill; some said he was often drunk. He was not providing much leadership for his brigade, leaving that to other officers. [195] He had some of his troops at Albuquerque to deal with Canby if he moved out of Fort Craig. Others were watching the routes east of the Rio Grande, in case Canby tried to slip around and join the troops at Fort Union. The Confederates were still searching for supplies to sustain their drive toward Fort Union and were not yet prepared to undertake further offensive action. They were, despite their striking successes, still in dire straits. They needed to capture the supplies at Fort Union soon, or they would be unable to sustain themselves in New Mexico. The Texans, who had not yet been defeated in New Mexico, remained confident of victory, exhibited high morale, and were ready to fight hard when required.

John M. Chivington
John M. Chivington, courtesy State Historical Society of Colorado.

The showdown came on the Santa Fe Trail at Apache Canyon and Glorieta Pass, March 26 and 28, 1862. [196] Colonel Slough left Fort Union with 1,342 volunteers and regulars, including Ritter's and Claflin's batteries, on March 22. Colonel Paul remained in command of the post with 257 serviceable troops. Slough's command encamped the first night on the Sapello, the second at Las Vegas, and gathered at Bernal Springs (approximately 45 miles from Fort Union) on March 24 and 25. Major John M. Chivington (a Methodist Episcopal preacher turned soldier), First Regiment of Colorado Volunteers, was sent ahead with 418 men "toward Santa Fe, with a view of capturing or defeating a force of the enemy reported to be stationed there." Chivington's command marched toward Glorieta Pass, halting about midnight of March 25 at Martin Kozlowski's Ranch (near the abandoned Pecos Pueblo). [197]

On the same day Confederate Major Pyron at Santa Fe, having been informed that troops were advancing from Fort Union, marched most of his command from the city with two six-pounder guns to meet the federal troops. They camped that night at Anthony P. Johnson's Ranch (present Canoncito) at the western entrance to Apache Canyon, the western approach to Glorieta Pass. Pyron sent four scouts ahead to keep a watch for the troops from Fort Union. With sufficient warning from those pickets, Pyron hoped to be able to place his command in a position to defeat his adversary. Chivington, after establishing camp, sent 20 scouts ahead at 2:00 a.m. to try to capture Pyron's pickets, who were reportedly about five miles away at Pigeon's Ranch (owned and operated by Alexander Valle) at the eastern entrance to Glorieta Pass. They were successful early in the morning of March 26 and brought all four Confederate scouts to Chivington's camp. [198]

Chivington led his command over Glorieta Pass that same day. He apparently did not learn from the captured pickets where the Texans were located, but he had deprived Pyron of a warning of his presence in the area. Pyron, meanwhile, left Johnson's Ranch about noon to lead his command over the same route. Both forces were probably surprised to meet each other in Apache Canyon about mid-afternoon. Pyron soon had his six-pounders set up and firing at the Union troops. Chivington had no artillery but enjoyed superior numbers and a position above the Texans. He deployed some of his men up each side of the canyon, above the elevated range of the artillery, from where they fired down on the Confederates. The rough terrain and trees helped to render the artillery ineffective.

In the three-hour battle at Apache Canyon, the Confederates retreated from the field. As they fell back they destroyed a small bridge, hoping it would stop the Union pursuit. A company of 103 mounted Colorado Volunteers was ordered to jump their horses across the sixteen-foot chasm, and all but one made it. [199] After capturing 71 prisoners, Chivington decided to stop the pursuit because the sun was setting and he feared that Confederate reinforcements might be near. He reported his own losses in the engagement as 5 killed and 14 wounded and the Confederate losses as 32 killed, 43 wounded, and 71 prisoners. After agreeing to a truce until the following morning to bury the dead and treat the wounded, Pyron returned to Johnson's Ranch and Chivington set up camp at Pigeon's Ranch. The engagement at Apache Canyon was the first defeat of the Texans since they had invaded New Mexico.

Confederate Invasion of New Mexico, 1862. Source: Robert M. Utley, Fort Union National Monument, 28. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

One of the Texan volunteers, Private George M. Brown, who was among the prisoners taken at Apache Canyon, later explained the impact this reversal had on the rebels. He was with Pyron's troops at Santa Fe, planning to "march on and take Fort Union, which, we thought, was ours already." Of the engagement on March 26, he wrote: "Out we marched with the two cannons, expecting an easy victory; but what a mistake. . . . They were regular demons, upon whom iron and lead had no effect, in the shape of Pike's Peakers, from the Denver City gold mines. The Texans thought the Colorado volunteers "seemed to have a charmed life." Nothing turned them back. After seeing some of his comrades killed and maimed, Brown declared, "Such a sight I never want to see again." [200] He was taken to Fort Union and later paroled to return to Texas.

When Brigadier General Canby, still at Fort Craig, received word that Colonel Slough had led the troops from Fort Union and that an engagement had been fought at Apache Canyon, he was not pleased. He said Slough's advance was "premature, and is at variance with my instructions." "It may," he predicted, "involve serious consequences." Therefore, Canby determined to take most of the troops at Fort Craig and move north to join in the conflict, leaving Colonel Carson and 11 companies of New Mexico volunteers to defend Craig. Canby realized that the Confederates could be caught between two Union forces and forced to fight on two fronts at the same time. Then, as soon as possible, he would unite with the troops from Fort Union. "When united," he concluded, "the force under my command will be sufficient to expel the enemy from the country north of this post." [201] Perhaps Canby was fearful of what would happen to Slough's command, or perhaps he was fearful that Slough might get credit for a victory while he was sitting tight at Fort Craig. Whatever the case, Canby was too late to affect what happened east of Santa Fe.

Battle of Glorieta Pass, 1862. Source: Warren A. Beck and Ynez D. Haase, Historical Atlas of New Mexico, 37.

On March 27 Chivington moved his command back to Kozlowski's Ranch, and he and Pyron were both joined by reinforcements. Colonel Slough moved the remainder of his force to Kozlowski's Ranch, and Confederate Lieutenant Colonel William R. Scurry [202] brought more Texans from his camp at Galisteo to Johnson's Ranch. Scurry spent the day at Johnson's Ranch, expecting an attack at any moment. [203] Private Gardner claimed that Colonel Slough had sent a message to the Confederates at Johnson's Ranch on the morning of March 27, announcing "that the Armistice was up, and we would attack them soon, but we didn't intend to attack them that day at all." [204] On March 28 Scurry, determined to wait no longer, led about 700 men with three pieces of artillery over Glorieta Pass to attack the enemy. On the same day Slough, in a daring two-column offensive, had sent Major Chivington with 430 men on a back road over Glorieta Mesa to the heights overlooking Apache Canyon and Johnson's Ranch. Chivington's force, guided by Lieutenant Colonel Manuel Chavez of the New Mexico Volunteers, was to harass the Confederates from the rear while Slough and the remaining 900 Union troops moved over the Santa Fe Trail.

William R. Scurry
William R. Scurry, courtesy State Historical Society of Colorado.

Slough, to give Chivington time to travel the longer distance, moved to Pigeon's Ranch and waited there, unaware that the Confederates had advanced to a position in Glorieta Canon about a mile west of Pigeon's Ranch. When that was discovered about 10:30 a.m., the Union troops were rushed forward to form a battle line. They were met by the fire of Confederate artillery. Both sides utilized artillery; the Confederates had three pieces and the Union troops had eight. The Texans enjoyed an element of surprise and forced Slough's troops to retreat several times during the day. Slough abandoned the field soon after 5:00 p.m. and retreated to Kozlowski's Ranch. Captain Enos, quartermaster, was credited with saving the Union supply and ammunition train during the retreat. [205] Confederates were too exhausted to pursue, but must have felt they had achieved an important victory.

It is impossible to determine accurately the losses of either side because of the conflicting reports. Colonel Slough estimated Union losses at 28 killed, 40 wounded, and 15 prisoners, and Confederate casualties of at least 100 killed, 150 wounded, and several prisoners. Colonel Scurry reported 36 killed and 60 wounded in his command and stated that Union killed must have exceeded 100.

The apparent Confederate victory at Glorieta Pass was deceptive. Chivington's command had delivered what proved to be the decisive blow to the Confederate invasion of New Mexico at Johnson's Ranch. There his troops captured and destroyed a piece of artillery that Scurry had left behind and burned the supply train of approximately 70 wagons containing food, ammunition, clothing, baggage, forage, medical supplies, and other items. Chivington later recalled that the "wagons and supplies were run together and set on fire and kept under guard until the ammunition had all exploded and the supplies had all been consumed, nothing remaining excepting the irons of the wagons." [206] At Johnson's Ranch, three Texans were killed, several were wounded, and 17 were captured. One Union soldier, Private Simon Ritter, Company A, First Colorado Volunteers, was injured when the Confederate ammunition exploded. Chivington's command was guided by Padre Polaco (the Reverend Alexander Grzelachowski) over a different route back to the camp near Kozlowski's Ranch, where they arrived about 10:00 p.m. [207]

The impact of the destruction was felt by the Texans. Confederate Private Brown later informed his "dear wife," "our whole train of seventy wagons was burned by the enemy. In one of the wagons was that trunk of clothing you sent me. . . . It was burned up with the rest." [208] Confederate Private H. C. Wright recalled many years later, "it was a great shock to us to find that after we had won the battle we had lost the victory by our supplies having been destroyed." [209] Wright also remembered it was a "dreadful blow. We were left shorn of everything, with three or four hundred dead and wounded men on our hands and no means to care for them." [210] Chivington later claimed that his men bayoneted over one thousand mules which had pulled the Confederate supply train, an apparent exaggeration. [211] The uncertainty of how many mules, if any, were killed that day remains an interesting footnote to the history of the engagement at Glorieta Pass. [212]

Samuel D. Raymond
Samuel D. Raymond, bugler with First Colorado Volunteers at Glorieta, Photo Collection, Fort Union National Monument.

Colonel Scurry, his entire supply train destroyed and his men extremely low on ammunition, was unable to follow up his success on the field at Glorieta Pass. [213] If they had captured the Union supply wagons and ammunition, which the quick action of Captain Enos prevented, Scurry might have had a second chance. [214] His men, however, suffered intensely from want of food, blankets, and medical supplies. It turned cold and snowed on them during the night after the battle. They had to retreat to Santa Fe for supplies. [215] It was the beginning of the end of Confederate occupation of New Mexico. [216] The engagement at Glorieta Pass and Johnson's Ranch was the turning point of the war in the Southwest, referred to by some historians as the "Gettysburg of the West." Brigadier General Sibley was forced to abandon his planned attack on Fort Union, and his brigade was driven from New Mexico during the late spring and early summer of 1862. The troops from Fort Union, led away from the post by Colonel Slough in violation of Canby's orders, had saved the territory for the Union. The post on Wolf Creek had truly lived up to its name.

The soldiers left behind at Fort Union, some of whom continued to labor on the fieldwork and others were engaged in shipping supplies to troops in the field, must have been anxious for news of Colonel Slough's column. Their initial reaction, upon learning that the Confederates had driven the column from the field at Glorieta and Pigeon's Ranch, was undoubtedly one of apprehension that the fight might soon be at their doorstep. When they heard the news of Chivington's destructive blow at Johnson's Ranch, the anxiety and suspense were transformed into celebration and relief. It was unlikely that anyone who had worked on the fieldwork was disappointed that its walls were not tested in battle.

A temporary hospital was established at Kozlowski's Ranch at the time of the battle at Glorieta Pass, under the direction of Surgeon Joseph C. Bailey. The wounded were treated there until they could be moved to Fort Union. During the time the troops were at Kozlowski's place some of his fences were used as fuel, amounting to about 25 cords of wood. Some doors, shutters, and other lumber was used for coffins, bunks, and benches for the sick and wounded. Dr. Bailey had authorized the appropriation of property for the benefit of the soldiers. Kozlowski later submitted a claim for compensation, asking for $300 for the loss of fences and $150 for the other materials used. Since the damage occurred under supervision of the medical department, Captain McFerran needed a statement from Dr. Bailey, whom he could not locate, or the surgeon general to certify that the payment should be made. McFerran observed that Kozlowski would probably be satisfied with $200 to $250 for the fences and $100 for the other lumber. [217] Kozlowski was most likely paid but the exact amount was not found.

Colonel Slough's column returned to Fort Union on April 2, as directed by Canby. Slough, whom Canby charged with violating orders by marching his troops away from Fort Union, resigned his commission effective April 9. [218] Major Chivington was promoted to the rank of colonel to replace Slough. Colonel Paul, who had been so upset when he discovered Slough outranked him, now took command of operations. [219] Paul placed Captain Asa B. Carey, Thirteenth Infantry, in command of the post and led most of the troops at Fort Union back toward Santa Fe, hoping to join up with Canby's troops from Fort Craig at some point to continue pushing the Texans out of the territory. Governor Connelly was confident that this would happen soon. [220] When Canby's troops appeared at Albuquerque, the Confederates at Santa Fe were called there to join Sibley's force in an attempt to hold the city. Troops from Fort Union reoccupied Santa Fe, where they found the Confederates had left behind their wounded comrades. [221] Governor Connelly moved the seat of his government back to the capital on April 12. [222] Canby traveled east of the mountains around Albuquerque and joined up with Paul's troops from Fort Union at Tijeras, and the combined force pursued the fleeing Texans down the Rio Grande valley. There was a small skirmish at Peralta and the Texans continued to retreat. There was an exchange of some prisoners, [223] and Canby paroled and sent out of New Mexico the remaining Confederate prisoners ("about 500"). Those who were wounded were treated until they could travel. [224]

One of those parolees, Private Brown, explained what had happened to Sibley's brigade in a letter to his wife. After the victory at Valverde, he wrote, "we felt like heroes." With renewed confidence, he recalled,

. . . we were marching up the country with the fixed determination of wrenching this country from the United States Government and we all thought it would soon be in our hands. But what a mistake. Having marched to within eighty miles of Fort Union, we were again met by the enemy from Fort Union, and after three battles with them, all of us who were not killed or taken prisoners were obliged to destroy everything they had, and flee to the mountains for their lives, and get out of the country, the Lord only knows how. We were among those taken prisoners. [225]

Brown, while at Socorro, explained that "some of the prisoners were sent to the States; the rest of us have been started home this way." He revealed that they were paroled "by swearing never to take up arms against the United States again, which I was very glad to do." He was sorry to have lost, and reiterated, "had it not been for the devils from Pike's Peak, this country would have been ours." He also had his fill of war, warning "if brother John has not joined the volunteers yet, keep him away for God's sake." Without explaining why, Private Brown considered Sibley largely responsible for what had happened to the Texas volunteers in New Mexico. "I hope the day is not far distant," he asserted, "when Gen. Sibley will be hung." [226] He was not alone in that opinion. Private Wright declared that Sibley "proved himself incompetent" and "shirked his duty." [227]

Captain Teel, who did not concede that the troops from Fort Union had beaten the rebels in battle, blamed Sibley's ineptitude for the Confederate failure in New Mexico Territory. "General Sibley," he later declared, "was not a good administrative officer. He did not husband his resources, and was too prone to let the morrow take care of itself." Sibley did not pay enough attention to his supply line and relied too much on the hope of capturing provisions as needed. Teel believed the Texans did not succeed primarily because of "the want of supplies." "Under such circumstances," he concluded, "failure was inevitable." Teel believed that, if Baylor had been in charge, "the result might have been different." [228] That may have been Teel's rationalization, but it was also credible.

While the residue of Sibley's Brigade was retreating toward Fort Bliss, Colonel James H. Carleton, First California Volunteers, who had served at Fort Union during the early 1850s, led a column of some 1,500 California Volunteers into present Arizona. They forced the Confederate troops, who had occupied Arizona Territory under Baylor, to retreat back to Texas, as well. By mid-July 1862, even Fort Bliss was back in the hands of Union troops. As soon as Canby was assured that Carleton's California Column would be able to clear the Confederates from Arizona and southern New Mexico, he made plans to return the Colorado Volunteers to their home territory. [229] Canby wrote to his counterpart in the Department of Kansas, "I do not think that an invasion of this country by the Rio Grande will again be attempted, but it may be by the Canadian or the Arkansas, if our troops in the South should meet with any serious reverses." [230] The major threat Canby anticipated was the attempt "to cut off or destroy the supply trains coming to this country." [231] He turned his attention to the protection of the Santa Fe Trail and the New Mexican settlements from Indians. These were missions the troops at Fort Union and throughout the department had been engaged in for more than a decade, and now the volunteers joined in the ventures. [232] In addition, the troops at Fort Union, with the help of civilian employees, continued to receive and ship out prodigious quantities of provisions for the entire department.

The condition of Fort Union was evaluated at the end of June 1862 by the post quartermaster, Lieutenant Alexander W. Robb, Second Colorado Volunteers. He found neither the old nor the new post satisfactory for housing soldiers or commodities. His report to Major Henry Davies Wallen, Seventh Infantry, a native of the South who chose the Union cause and was the current post commander, included a detailed description of the fieldwork.

First. The old post built in 1851 is in a state of dilapidation having been reported some years ago unfit for occupancy: there are a few buildings which have been repaired and are now temporarily used as Quarters and Storehouses.

Second. The new post which is being built according to plans of Capt. C. Grover was commenced in 1861 and is not completed as orders were received from Dept. Head Qrs. to discontinue the work. The four angles [demilunes] designed for Storehouses and Company Quarters are completed, each wing is 200 feet in length and 26 feet in depth which is subdivided into a storehouse 100 feet in length and 6 rooms [approximately 16 x 26 feet] designed for the use of one Company. The condition of these houses are good, being just completed, but being partly underground when heavy rains occur the roofs leak badly and the water collects and runs in at the doors.

According to the plan there should be eight sets of Officers Quarters two of which are occupied, the rest not being completed each set forms an angle and is composed of eight rooms.

One side of the angle is composed of 3 rooms, two of which are 16 feet by 18 feet and one 12 feet by 16 feet, the other side is composed of five rooms, two of which are 14 feet by 16 feet, one 12 by 16 feet, one 16 by 16 feet, and one 8 by 16 feet. They are built partly underground, and during heavy rains the rooms are subject to inundation.

The parapet forming the breast work is fast washing away and filling up the ditch around the works, this cannot be prevented unless the slopes are sodded. There are two sets of Company Quarters and one set of Officers' Quarters of four rooms, inside the work which are put up temporarily, which to render substantial buildings would have to be rebuilt: the only board floors in the Garrison are in the two set of officers outside the field works, all the rest are dirt floors. I would respectfully state that the buildings forming the officers Quarters, Company Quarters & Storehouses, cover the curtain of the field work to such an extent as to weaken the defense of the place, and as stated before all being under ground and without ventilation are unhealthy to men, and subject all the Stores placed in them to damage. [233]

Major Wallen added the following endorsement to the report, leaving no doubt about the state of the recent construction and recommending the construction of new facilities.

I have carefully examined the buildings at the post and find their condition as expressed in the above communication. The log huts at the old post are very much decayed and not susceptible of being repaired - the Quarters and Storehouses inside the field works are damp, badly ventilated and not fit to be occupied except in an emergency. I have recently moved two companies from the work and encamped them, have increased the allowance of Quarters for those remaining as a precaution against diseases.

I would respectfully urge the necessity of erecting Quarters & Storehouses at this point, or in this vicinity, as those now in use are in every respect wholly unfit for the purposes for which they were designed. [234]

Wallen's proposal to build new facilities later resulted in a decision to begin work on the third Fort Union. From Robb's report, it was not clear how the officers and men of the six companies comprising the garrison were quartered, but apparently some were at the old post, some at the field work, and some in tents. It was not a satisfactory arrangement. The post hospital was located in one of the buildings at the old post. The post surgeon, James Thomas Ghiselin, reported "that the building used for a Hospital at this post is old and so badly out of repair the sick are made very uncomfortable after every rain storm by the excessive dampness of the walls and flooring." Dr. Ghiselin believed it would be "less expensive to the Government, and more comfortable for the sick - to erect an entirely new building than repair the old one." [235]

Major Wallen endorsed the surgeon's recommendation and forwarded it to Colonel Canby, noting that he had "carefully examined the building now in use & find that it is very much decayed and not susceptible of being made comfortable for the sick." After noting that "there are so many men constantly at the Hospital, some of them with Small Pox," Wallen requested that the depot quartermaster "be instructed to erect a suitable building for a hospital with a room or ward somewhat removed for patients with contagious diseases." [236] Some of the patients at Fort Union and other posts in the department had been sent to a new general hospital established at the hot springs near Las Vegas. [237] Everything at Fort Union, as Wallen had stated, was "wholly unfit."

The criticism of the fieldwork and other buildings at the post was not confined to military reports. Soon after Captain Plympton completed his experiment with artillery, which exposed the vulnerability of the fieldwork, and filed his critical evaluation of the new structures on June 20, 1862, [238] Second Lieutenant Gerald Russell, Third Cavalry, an acting assistant adjutant general in the department, leaked the report to the Santa Fe Republican. Additional information was apparently pried from one or more soldiers. The July 5, 1862, issue of the Republican carried an acerbic article titled "Fort Building in New Mexico."

With feigned praise for the "model" fortification at Fort Union, "truly a beautiful structure" where "the ditch is on the right side," all "the angles are skillfully placed, and the interior arrangement is more than could be desired," the article scathingly declared that "Ungenerous Captain" Plympton's artillery demonstration had revealed "humiliating facts." Plympton had shown the "seventy thousand dollars" spent there had been wasted on "fine feats of engineering skill" proven to be "worse than worthless." The post, which had recently been "the only fort in New Mexico held by United States troops," had given false security to the people of the territory.

The article speculated that "the skillful engineer who planned and constructed" the earthwork had "elicited the admiration" of the war department and "led to the promotion which we are informed he has received." Then, in biting commentary, observed: "The invention of an underground tunnel several thousand feet to the spring, which having been finished caved in, when water was found within the fort a few feet below the surface by digging wells, denoted singular foresight." That was the kind of foresight that placed the "seventy thousand dollar earthworks" within artillery range of the bluffs.

Colonel Canby was furious and immediately used his authority to stop public criticism of the army. Lieutenant Russell was reprimanded. The editor (former territorial secretary, James H. Holmes) and publisher (Putnam O'Brien) of the Republican were arrested and held for trial because they refused to reveal the source of information in the article. Under martial law, they had no right to publish military information that might aid the enemy. They were apparently found guilty and given a suspended sentence. When Putnam was released was not determined, but Holmes was "discharged from custody" on July 24. [239] Canby had made it clear that military records revealing conditions at Fort Union were not for publication.

Despite or because of the controversy over the location and condition of Fort Union, Colonel Canby requested that the defects in the fieldwork be corrected, that a redoubt be placed on the mesa above the old fort to prevent enemy artillery from being planted there, and that adequate quarters and storehouses be erected beyond the fieldwork ("beyond the range of any but rifled cannon"). He believed Fort Union was the best location in the department for the general supply depot and appealed for authority to begin construction of necessary buildings. [240] Canby started Captain McFerran working on the plans for a third Fort Union, which was to be built of adobes set on stone foundations and have pitched roofs covered with shingles. The first building, a large storehouse, and some new quartermaster corrals were begun before Canby left the department in September. [241]

On September 18, 1862, Brigadier General Carleton replaced Canby as the commander of the Department of New Mexico, and Canby soon accompanied many of the regular troops from Fort Union to Fort Leavenworth for service in other parts of the country. Most of the companies of the First, Second, and Third Cavalry and the Seventh and Tenth Infantry in the department, which had been permitted to remain in New Mexico until volunteers were raised and the Confederate challenge was crushed, were leaving for other theaters. [242]

James H. Carleton
James H. Carleton, courtesy Museum of New Mexico.

Carleton, like Canby, was satisfied with the location of Fort Union and the general depot for the department. He had no objection to building new quarters and barracks near the fieldwork. He was concerned, however, about the "gradual disappearance of neighboring pools [Los Pozos]," and "the drying up of springs in the vicinity." In order to be fair, Carleton requested that a board be appointed to select the best site for a depot, declaring that the issue had been up in the air for a dozen years and "the result is we have no depot - and have spent money enough to make two or three." At the same time, he held a certain affection for the post where he had served a decade before. A few weeks after assuming command of the department, Carleton requested Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs to evaluate and approve the plans for the third post. [243] The construction of the third Fort Union is described in chapters six and seven.

Meanwhile, Carleton selected a company of infantry from the post garrison to serve as an artillery battery, commanded by Lieutenant George S. Hollister, Seventh Infantry, to be in charge of the defense of Fort Union. [244] A few weeks later, when renewed rumors of another Texan invasion were rife, Carleton directed that abattis for the demilunes be cut in the Turkey Mountains, the limbs to be pointed after they were hauled to the post. [245]

Carleton, because of his earlier experience in New Mexico and his attention to duty, also understood the department and its people better than most other department commanders. He was committed to making the lives of citizens secure and expanding the areas of settlement in the territory. He was determined to deal with Indian problems as quickly as possible, settling the Indians on reservations, by force if necessary, where they could be fed and closely watched. He considered Colonel Carson, First New Mexico Volunteers, capable of leading successful expeditions against bands that refused to submit peaceably. [246]

There had been few reports of Indian troubles in the region of Fort Union during the time of Confederate invasion and retreat. By September 1862, however, there was increasing evidence of Indian assaults. Several New Mexicans were reported killed, some captured, and large numbers of cattle stolen near Wagon Mound. Indians were believed responsible for the theft of more than 100 mules and horses from a merchant's wagon train near Rabbit Ear Mountain on the Cimarron Route. Indians or "guerrilla parties composed in part of Mexicans" were presumed to have raided near Anton Chico. Troops were dispatched to investigate, provide protection, recover stolen livestock, and punish the guilty parties if possible. [247] Second Lieutenant George L. Shoup, Second Colorado Volunteers, led a detachment of 45 men from Fort Union to attempt to recover the animals stolen from the wagon train near Rabbit Ear. They were gone 41 days and recovered 92 of the stolen animals. The Indians, tribe not identified, who had perpetrated the theft promised to stop raiding supply trains. [248] Other tribesmen, however, continued to make forays against wagon trains and livestock herds.

Carleton believed the Mescalero Apaches were perpetrators of many foul deeds in southeastern New Mexico, and he sent Colonel Carson with five companies of the First New Mexico Volunteers to reoccupy Fort Stanton and turn it into a base of operations against the Mescaleros. Carleton directed his old friend, Captain Shoemaker at the ordnance depot at Fort Union, to outfit Carson's command with arms, ammunition, and equipment needed for a campaign. Carleton sent four companies of the First New Mexico Volunteers, under Lieutenant Colonel Chavez, to establish Fort Wingate in Navajo country. To keep a watch for Indians and Texans along the Pecos River, Carleton placed one company of the Second Colorado Volunteers in camp at Bosque Redondo. [249] For similar duty on the Canadian route, he sent one company of the Second Colorado Volunteers to establish and occupy a temporary camp near the mouth of Ute Creek on the Canadian "until spring." This was named Camp Easton, which later became Fort Bascom. [250] Fort Union was to protect the Santa Fe Trail and handle the distribution of supplies. Other units were stationed along the Rio Grande valley. In short order, Carleton effected a redistribution of the troops in the department to place them in position to deal with Indians as well as Texans, should they attempt another invasion. [251]

Carleton did not approve of a general hospital at the hot springs near Las Vegas, far from any military post. He ordered that it be discontinued and the patients, medicines, and hospital supplies be transferred to Fort Union. The quartermaster at the post was instructed to "prepare a building for the reception of these sick and wounded . . . in case the capacity of the present Hospital at that post is not sufficient for their accommodation." [252] Given the condition of facilities at Fort Union, it was doubtful that these additional patients could be easily sheltered. Their presence would magnify the need for a new hospital at the post.

As Colonel Carson prepared to lead his battalion from Fort Union to reoccupy Fort Stanton and deal with the Mescalero Apaches, Carleton issued broad orders: "You will attack the Mescaleros and Navajos wherever you find them until further orders." [253] Carleton sent two other columns, each independent commands comprised of two companies of California Volunteers (one led by Captain William McCleave [254] and the other by Captain Nathaniel J. Pishon), into Mescalero country to assist in their defeat. These troops were also supplied from Fort Union. Carleton believed that winter was the best time to campaign against the belligerent Indians. All troops sent against the Mescaleros were ordered to kill all men and take women and children prisoners until the tribe had surrendered to Carleton. There were to be no negotiations and no peace until the Mescaleros were soundly defeated. [255]

At the end of October Brigadier General Carleton, a decade after his first expedition to Bosque Redondo and observation that it was a good location for a military post, ordered the establishment of Fort Sumner, to honor Edwin V. Sumner, at that place. This new post on the Pecos would encourage settlers to locate in the area and block the Pecos route against Kiowas, Comanches, Mescalero Apaches, and Texan invaders. [256] Later, Fort Sumner watched over an Indian reservation for the Mescaleros and Navajos. The post was founded by Captain Joseph Updegraff, Fifth Infantry, on November 30, 1862, and was active until August 30, 1869. During all that time, it was supplied from Fort Union. [257]

Colonel Carson's campaign against the Mescaleros began to bring favorable results in November 1862. All the Mescaleros who agreed to surrender to Brigadier General Carleton were directed to the Bosque Redondo, where they would be fed and protected by the troops at Fort Sumner. Carson was directed to continue his expedition and send all Mescaleros who wanted peace to go to Bosque Redondo. Carleton believed that, "eventually, we shall have the whole tribe at Bosque Redondo, and there we can conclude a definite treaty with them." [258] Rumors of a renewed Texan invasion, which proved untrue, caused an interruption of the campaign against the Mescaleros late in 1862.

The same rumors caused a flurry at Fort Union to make additional repairs to the defense of the earthwork in case it should be attacked by a Confederate army. Abattis were cut for the exposed sides of the demilunes, as noted above. Additional work, the nature of which was not revealed, was to be done by the troops, "having one whole company - officers and all - detailed on fatigue one day, and another company the next day, and so on, until the work is done, commencing at once." [259] The depot quartermaster, Captain William Craig, was assigned the added duties of post quartermaster and placed in charge of the work. He was directed by Carleton to use any of the materials gathered for the building of the new depot that might be needed to strengthen the defense of the post. Craig was authorized to hire 30 citizen laborers to complete the magazine inside the fieldwork and, after that, perform other "necessary labor." [260] Ceran St. Vrain brought 100 volunteer workers from Taos to Fort Union, where they worked 20 days "with pickaxes and spades, free of pay, the Government feeding them." [261] While beefing up the defense of military installations throughout the territory, Carleton also gave attention to possible dangers among the populace.

Because several federal officials in New Mexico had fled from the territory during the Texan invasion in the spring of 1862, Brigadier General Carleton took steps to prevent further defections in case the anticipated infiltration occurred. Captain Plympton at Fort Union was directed by Carleton to detain any citizens attempting to flee "to the States . . . unless they have passports signed by myself." [262] If they slipped past Fort Union, the commander at Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory, was requested to send them back. [263] Carleton had no use for people he considered cowards or, even worse, disloyal to the Union cause. He forbade purchases by procurement officers from merchants whom he considered "indifferent . . . to . . . efforts to maintain the Union." [264] Carleton was alert to untrustworthy citizens within as well as enemy attacks from without New Mexico.

The expected Confederate attack never materialized, but a party of southerners from the Colorado gold fields were captured, while making their way along the Canadian River to Fort Smith, by the troops at Camp Easton and brought to Fort Union. Second Lieutenant Shoup led the detachment of Second Colorado Volunteers that caught the party of 24 led by Green Russell from Georgia, the man credited with discovering gold in western Kansas Territory (Colorado Territory after 1861) in 1858 and setting off the Pike's Peak rush of 1859. There were six orphan children in the group, and at least three cases of smallpox among the prisoners were under the care of Dr. Levi J. Russell, a member of the party. They were leaving Colorado Territory where their Confederate sympathies were not appreciated. Shoup, who had enlisted some Comanche allies to capture what he suspected was a party of Confederate guerrillas, was surprised when he discovered who his captives were. He took them to Fort Union to let higher authority decide what should be done. Three of the prisoners died from smallpox on the way to Fort Union and others, including all the children, contracted the disease. Carleton wrote to Adjutant General Thomas for instructions for handling such cases. Over $20,000 worth of gold was taken from the party but later restored to them. The Green party received medical aid and was released to return to Georgia in February 1863. While the party remained at Fort Union, the citizens of Santa Fe and soldiers in the department contributed several hundred dollars for the "comfort and support" of the children. [265]

By the end of January 1863 Carleton, who had visited the troops from Santa Fe to Franklin in Texas, was confident that an imminent invasion was not going to happen. He informed Governor John Evans, Colorado Territory, "I do not believe any considerable force from that state [Texas] will attempt to invade this country again, at least for the present." Unless the Confederacy should win the war in the East, Carleton considered the chances of another attempt to expand westward to be remote. If the Confederate States of America established their independence, however, he considered such a move to be "more than probable." [266] Carleton's views proved to be correct.

Carleton informed Adjutant General Thomas that the probability of another Texas invasion was "so remote as to justify me in employing the troops under my command in chastising the hostile tribes of Indians" in the department. Carleton believed the Mescalero Apaches were already "subdued," and over 350 members of that tribe were at or soon to be at Fort Sumner. Carleton planned to place the Mescaleros on a reservation and have them plant crops in the spring. An expedition against the Mimbres Apaches in southwestern New Mexico had resulted in the death of Mangus Colorado and many of his followers, and Carleton hoped to have the Mimbres Apaches on a reservation soon. In the spring of 1863 he planned to send a major expedition against the Navajos and force them onto a reservation. [267] In all these efforts, Carleton relied on supplies shipped through Fort Union.

Captain Plympton, post commander, and Captain Craig, depot quartermaster, apparently came to a disagreement over the allocation of storehouses at Fort Union between the depot and the post. Carleton urged them to make peace in the interest of the public service. To settle the situation, Carleton directed Captain McFerran, chief quartermaster in the department, while McFerran was at Fort Union on other business, to oversee the arrangements of "rooms for public stores arriving from the States." Carleton believed there were sufficient buildings at the post to accommodate the present needs of the depot and the fort. He did not want the enmity between the two officers at Fort Union to disrupt the operation of either facility. He urged them to "shake hands over the matter and let it pass by." [268] A few days later Carleton requested authorization from Quartermaster General Meigs to continue with construction of the new depot at Fort Union in the spring. [269]

Perhaps, in part, to placate Captain Plympton, Carleton ordered the construction of a new commanding officer's quarters near the fieldwork. This was to be a temporary structure, to serve until the third fort was built, located where Captain Plympton desired. Captain Craig was instructed to "tear down the old house on the hill, known as Col. Sumner's house - which was formerly used as a Hospital at Fort Union" to obtain "the lumber and doors and windows now in it to make a set of officers quarters, say four rooms and a Kitchen, with a yard &c, complete and comfortable." The quarters were to be "built of logs, and will be plastered on the inside, with blinds to the windows and a gallery running along its front, say ten feet broad." The roof was to be made of the materials comprising the roof of the old house. The chimneys were to be of stone. Craig was to assign as many workers to this task as "you can spare to complete the building." [270] The exact location of these quarters in relation to the fieldwork is unknown.

The need for more secure storehouses at Fort Union was emphasized on the night of March 29, 1863, when "some person or persons" broke into the commissary depot and stole three sacks of flour and four barrels of whiskey. A board of inquiry decided that the storehouse was "a very insecure building" and absolved Captain Carey, depot commissary officer, of any "neglect" in the loss of provisions. [271] The provisions were needed throughout the department. When the commander at Camp Easton, Captain E. H. Bergmann, First New Mexico Volunteers, was authorized to begin construction of permanent quarters, he was directed to obtain equipment and supplies from the depot at Fort Union. [272] Later, Captain Plympton was transferred from Fort Union to command the post and oversee the construction at Camp Easton. [273]

Fort Union was not only the source of supplies for most of the troops in the department, but it became the supply center for defeated Indians as well. By March 1863 Carleton was satisfied that the Mescalero Apaches were sufficiently subjugated to proceed with the establishment of a reservation for them at Bosque Redondo near Fort Sumner. Carleton, Superintendent of Indian Affairs James L. Collins, and Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy of Santa Fe went to meet with the Mescaleros and work out the details for their reservation. Provisions for these Indians were secured from Fort Union until the Bureau of Indian Affairs could provide subsistence. Colonel Carson and his battalion of First New Mexico Volunteers were directed to begin preparations to move to Navajo country and undertake a campaign designed to bring that tribe to reservation status as well. [274] When Carson led his troops out of Mescalero country, they were replaced by troops from Fort Union who continued to pressure the remaining Mescaleros to move to the reservation. [275]

The new commanding officer's quarters at Fort Union were ready for occupancy on April 10. At the same time Captain Plympton moved from the old post to these quarters, all enlisted men and laundresses belonging to the garrison were moved into quarters in the demilunes of the fieldwork. If there were not sufficient rooms in those quarters, the overflow was to be quartered in tents near the fieldwork. Only the post surgeon and general staff officers were permitted to remain in quarters at the old post. The unoccupied structures at the original post were assigned to the quartermaster and commissary depots to be used until the new storehouses were erected. [276] Permission was later granted to permit the hospital matron to continue in quarters she occupied at the old post. [277] Captain Shoemaker and the ordnance depot were apparently still located at the old post, although some of the ordnance supplies were stored in the magazine inside the fieldwork. Shoemaker was charged with outfitting Carson's expedition against the Navajos.

Colonel Carson was ordered to begin his campaign against the Navajos on July 1, 1863. Three of the nine companies of the First New Mexico Volunteers which comprised his command were from the garrison at Fort Union. Provisions for the expedition were also from the supply depots at Fort Union. Captain Carey, depot commissary officer at Fort Union, was assigned to serve as the expedition quartermaster. [278] The details of the Navajo expedition, which lasted into the spring of 1864, and the additional roundup that followed are beyond the scope of Fort Union history. As the more than 8,000 Navajos surrendered and were placed on the reservation at Bosque Redondo with the Mescalero Apaches, troops from Fort Union assisted with the transfer of the captives, some of whom were brought to Fort Union before being sent on to the reservation. Provisions were sent from the depots at Fort Union to subsist the Indians until the Bureau of Indian Affairs could assume responsibility for them. Several plows were fabricated at the quartermaster shops at Fort Union to be used by the Navajos to prepare ground on their reservation to plant crops. Carleton often argued, regarding the Indians, that "you can feed them cheaper than you can fight them." [279]

When Captain Plympton left Fort Union for Camp Easton, on August 4, 1863, Lieutenant Colonel William McMullen, First California Volunteer Infantry, became commanding officer at Fort Union. While on his way to Fort Union in July, McMullen's ambulance and escort were attacked by Indians near Paraje, a few miles south of Fort Craig. The Indians killed two soldiers, a surgeon and a private of the California Volunteers, and stole McMullen's horse. The Indians lost three killed and an unknown number wounded. Undoubtedly McMullen was relieved to reach the safe confines of Fort Union. There he found many other responsibilities besides watching out for Indians. [280]

One of the first things McMullen reported to headquarters at Santa Fe was that there were no citizen prisoners in confinement at Fort Union. This may have been the first time since the Civil War began that civilians were not held in the guardhouse at the post. Because of reports that Indians were stealing sheep, cattle, and horses in the area, McMullen was directed to take "particular care" to protect livestock (public and private) within a 50-mile radius of Fort Union. A few days later Indians attacked herders working for the quartermaster depot near Fort Union and drove off 18 mules. Because of his own recent narrow escape, McMullen quickly complied with orders to provide an escort of one corporal and six privates for Major Wallen and his family from Fort Union to Denver. [281] Carleton later made it clear to McMullen that he had no jurisdiction over the supply and ordnance depots located at Fort Union, "except to defend" them "from any enemy whatever" (including fire and flood as well as Indians and thieves). [282]

Troops at Fort Union were also expected to help maintain civil peace. In anticipation of civil disturbances (which were widely expected) at Las Vegas on election day, September 7, 1863, Carleton sent 20 soldiers under command of Captain Nicholas S. Davis, First California Volunteers and assistant quartermaster to Captain Craig at the depot, from Fort Union "to see that no citizen, of whatever party he may be, is improperly interfered with when he proceeds to the ballot box to deposit his vote." Anyone caught interfering with the election process was to be arrested and held "until further orders." Carleton hoped no arrests would be necessary and that the mere presence of the troops would prevent disruption. He asked Chief Justice Kirby Benedict to provide any advice he might have for Captain Davis on this assignment. [283] Apparently there was no trouble on election day.

Carleton reorganized the department late in August 1863, establishing four districts which were mainly designed to facilitate the payment of troops. The district of Fort Union included that post and the ordnance depot and Forts Bascom, Sumner, and Stanton. [284] Carleton was always concerned about the lengthy delays between paydays and hoped to establish regular and efficient distribution of compensation to the troops. He was convinced that systematic payment was good for morale. He also believed that an adequate supply of provisions was helpful. He welcomed Captain William H. Bell, commissary department, as the commissary officer at the depot at Fort Union, to replace Captain Carey who was sent on the Navajo expedition, to oversee the distribution of rations to the troops in the department. [285]

Because of the shortage of regular army troops in New Mexico, another regiment of New Mexico Volunteers was enlisted to help deal with the Indian problems in the territory. Major Henry R. Selden, Thirteenth Infantry, was selected to serve as colonel of the new regiment of infantry. Some of these troops were outfitted and trained at Fort Union. Lieutenant Colonel McMullen, apparently content with the way things were going at Fort Union, was shocked when he learned the results of a routine inspection of the post. Major Wallen, at the time serving as Carleton's inspector general, was examining all the posts in the department. He was not pleased with the situation he found at Fort Union. In addition to numerous shortcomings Wallen found, most of which were soon forwarded to McMullen, Wallen was furious about conditions at the fieldwork:

I cannot speak in flattering terms of the police of the post; the surroundings of the Field Work are exceedingly unmilitary. Camp followers have been allowed to build huts, pig, and calf pens, in close proximity to the ditches, and the military appearance of the work is almost entirely destroyed. I recommend that these objectionable features be removed & none of a similar character permmitted to exist at the post. [286]

Carleton communicated the weaknesses to McMullen and recommended that steps be taken immediately to improve conditions. Among the numerous faults Wallen found were "dirty" arms in the mounted units, "bad" clothing, "unsoldierly" military bearing of the command, "indifferent" appearance of the troops, "lax" discipline, "loose" instruction of troops, "bad" accommodations at the hospital, "bad" sanitary conditions at the post, and "imperfect" policing of the facility. McMullen "seldom" inspected his command, "seldom" had the articles of war read to the troops, did not have recitations of regulations and tactics, did not require the officers and men to wear the prescribed uniforms, and permitted officers and men to use public animals for private business. McMullen was ordered to make all appropriate corrections, after which Major Wallen would again be sent to inspect the garrison. [287]

McMullen was incensed, believed that Wallen was out to destroy his reputation for personal reasons, and tried to explain each criticism away. For example, he noted that the mounted troops had just arrived from field duty when they were inspected and had not been permitted time to clean their weapons nor themselves. Carleton, however, was not interested in excuses. He ordered McMullen to get things shaped up and stand another inspection. Fort Union was serving the department in an important supporting role, and Carleton wanted it done well.

When needed, Carleton wanted the troops at Fort Union to be ready to take the field to deal with Indians. In December Anastacio Sandoval, of Santa Fe, reported that some 7,000 sheep he had under herders in the vicinity of Mesa Rica near the Canadian River in eastern New Mexico Territory had been stolen by Indians. A detachment from Fort Union was sent, accompanied by Sandoval, to recover the sheep. This may have been the same flock of sheep of which more than 5,000 were recovered by troops from Fort Sumner after a lengthy battle with Navajos (with heavy losses for the Indians; at least 12 killed and many more wounded) near the Pecos River some 35 miles north of Fort Sumner. [288]

Carleton had other problems to contend with besides Indians. Early in 1864 he sent two ill men to Fort Union to be cared for until they could be sent eastward in the spring. One was "an insane soldier named Fitzgerald" of the First California Volunteers, who was to be sent to the military insane asylum in Washington, D.C. The other was a civilian, a Mr. Thornton (first name unknown) from Kentucky, whose illness was not identified but may also have been mental. He had been under the care of the surgeon at Franklin, Texas, since the Texans had been driven out in 1862. Of Thornton, Carleton stated, "we cannot turn him loose to perish." He was to be returned to his family and friends in Kentucky. Meanwhile, the commander at Fort Union was "personally" charged with seeing that the two were "properly, safely, and humanely cared for in all respects." [289] Such human tragedies provided distractions from the larger challenges of the times.

While some of the tribes in New Mexico were being subjugated, some of the plains tribes began to increase their opposition along the routes of travel during 1864. Colonel Chivington notified the commanding officer at Fort Union, Lieutenant Colonel Francisco P. Abreu, First New Mexico Volunteers, who had temporally replaced McMullen, in April that "the long anticipated difficulties with the Indians . . . appear to have reached a crisis." [290] This added to the duties of the troops at Fort Union, who were primarily responsible for guarding the western portion of the supply line from the East. At the same time, however, Brigadier General Carleton reduced the garrison at Fort Union to utilize the recently-trained volunteers and a company of regular troops at other points in New Mexico. This was necessary because of the transfer of several companies from various posts to join a campaign against the Apaches in Arizona Territory. [291]

Despite Chivington's warning, the outbreak of major warfare on the plains came later in 1864. Even so, there were raids on the supply trains beginning in April. A detachment from Fort Union was sent to accompany a supply train of commissary stores, traveling on the Mountain Route, into the post. They encountered no problems, and the supplies were soon unloaded at the depot. [292] Indians were not the only threat along the trail. A small New Mexican merchant train going to the States, owned by Manuel A. Otero, was surprised on May 21, 1864, near Cold Spring on the Cimarron Route by a party believed to be Texans. The attackers took approximately $10,000 in cash, the teamsters' provisions, weapons, some of their clothing, and 67 mules, leaving the wagons stranded. The party reached Fort Union on May 25 to report what had happened. The Texans had reportedly gone southeast toward a camp the teamsters believed to be some 10 days' travel away. [293] A few days later a New Mexican wagon train on the Fort Smith road, camped near Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas panhandle, was raided by what was believed to be the same outlaws. According to a member of that party, there were 48 attackers, "all Americans." They killed at least one of the herders with the train and headed south. [294]

McMullen was directed to select 50 of his "best men" to investigate and, "if possible, overtake these robbers and recapture the property and money." They were to have the best horses available. Troops were also dispatched eastward from Fort Bascom to cut off the retreat of the bandits if they were heading for Texas. The response from Fort Union was incredibly slow in getting started, but on June 10 Captain Nicholas S. Davis, First California Volunteers, led 50 men from Fort Union with 100 rounds of ammunition each and rations for 40 days. Their supplies were carried in three six-mule army wagons and on six pack mules. [295]

Captain Davis spent more than five weeks, traveling a distance of approximately 750 miles, searching for the robbers but found neither Texans nor Indians during that entire trip. The trail of the bandits had been obliterated by rains and all reports of them, received from New Mexicans on the plains, were either false or the troops were too many days behind to catch them. The troops from Fort Union did go to the Canadian River and follow it a considerable distance. They discovered the trail of the troops sent from Fort Bascom, which they followed until they realized they were on the trail of soldiers. Because he found no evidence of the raiding party going into Texas, Captain Davis concluded that they probably had gone to Kansas or Colorado Territory. [296] The identity of those who robbed Otero's train was not determined and Otero's property was not recovered. Additional troops were sent to Fort Union to provide better protection of the Santa Fe Trail, where Brigadier General Carleton understood "that the Indians of the plains are very troublesome and menace the safety of the trains coming to New Mexico." [297]

Captain Davis was sent from Fort Union with 100 soldiers (50 infantrymen and 50 mounted troops), two mountain howitzers, and rations for 50 days to provide protection of the Cimarron Route as far as the Upper Crossing of the Arkansas River in Kansas. He was to provide whatever aid was required by wagon trains on that road. Carleton directed that Davis camp near the Upper Crossing and have "carte blanche" for this assignment. These troops, carrying 100 rounds of ammunition each and 50 rounds for the howitzers, left the fort on August 4. [298] At the same time, escorts were being provided for the mail coaches traveling the Mountain Route between Fort Union and Fort Lyon in Colorado Territory. The troops at Fort Larned, Kansas, were escorting the mails from Walnut Creek to Fort Lyon.

Indian raids were increasing along the routes of transportation and in New Mexico. On August 1 two herders were killed and an estimated 6,000 sheep were driven off near Anton Chico. The next day, a few miles southeast of Chaparita and Hatch's Ranch, a party of approximately 60 Indians killed nine men, captured five herders, and took "several thousand" sheep and some cattle. Other reports of lost sheep placed the total at 10,000 to 15,000 head. Lieutenant Sullivan Heath, First California Volunteers, led a detachment of 25 soldiers from Fort Union to Hatch's Ranch and beyond to investigate and recover the livestock if possible. They found the Indians were heading down the Pecos several days ahead of them. Upon learning from a "Mexican" that troops had been sent from Fort Sumner to intercept the thieves, Heath returned to Fort Union. [299] The guilty parties were not caught.

During August 1864 the Kiowas and Comanches increased their raids. As Captain Davis marched his command to the Arkansas, he met or overtook several wagon trains that had been victims of attacks. Indians had killed five Americans with a wagon train near Lower Spring on the Cimarron Route in southwest Kansas and took five wagons belonging to a Mr. Allison (first name unknown). The remains of the dead teamsters at Lower Spring were buried by Davis's troops. Another train had 130 mules stolen. The wagonmaster of a government contract train had been killed, and all the oxen stolen. Other trains had lost about 100 additional oxen to the Indians. [300]

Carleton ordered an additional 100 troops from Fort Union, under command of Major Joseph Updegraff, Ninth Infantry, with rations for 60 days to establish a camp near the Lower Spring. Captain Bergmann, with 50 troops of the First New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry from Fort Bascom and 30 infantrymen from Fort Union, was directed to encamp near Upper Cimarron Spring (also known as Enchanted Spring and Flag Spring) as additional protection for the Cimarron Route. Assistant Surgeon Harvey E. Brown was sent with Updegraff to attend the sick and wounded of his, Captain Bergmann's, and Captain Davis's commands. A regular system of communication was to be established among the three camps. [301] Bergmann's command left Fort Union on September 3, and Updegraff started from there two days later. Davis, situated on the Arkansas River, encouraged westbound wagon trains to follow the Mountain Route and provided protection to Fort Lyon for those who agreed. Captain Davis, joined by a company of troops that had been sent out from Fort Larned after hearing of the attack at Lower Spring, accompanied the eastbound trains that had joined him along the way as far as Fort Larned. From there he escorted the westbound trains back toward Fort Union. On September 20 Davis's command, "escorting a large number of citizen & government wagons" joined Updegraff's camp at Lower Spring. Additional protection was provided by troops from Fort Larned, who escorted supply trains westward from that point until they met up with troops from Fort Union. [302]

Because the garrison at Fort Lyon was insufficient to provide the needed protection along the Mountain Route for supply trains, Carleton sent two companies of the New Mexico Volunteers to serve along that road in Colorado Territory. [303] These were in addition to the regular escorts provided for the mail parties. Since the Colorado Volunteers had come to the aid of New Mexico during the Texan invasion, Carleton was returning the favor in this way. All the troops that could be spared from New Mexico were out on the two main routes of the Santa Fe Trail. They all carried supplies from the depots at Fort Un ion. [304]

Carleton renewed his request for more troops to be sent to New Mexico, where the enlistment terms of many volunteers were expiring. Many of the California Volunteers, whom Carleton had led to New Mexico during 1862 and who had contributed greatly to the defense of the department, were being mustered out of the service. Lieutenant Colonel McMullen gave up the command of Fort Union on September 1, 1864, because his term expired. He was succeeded by Lieutenant Colonel Abreu, New Mexico Volunteers, who had served as temporary commander when McMullen was absent from the post on other assignments. Abreu was superseded by Colonel Selden, First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, when he arrived at Fort Union on September 26. [305] Some of the New Mexico Volunteers were also nearing the completion of their enlistment. Three companies were transferred from Fort Craig to Fort Union to assist with "the hostilities of the Indians of the plains." [306]

Kit Carson
Kit Carson, courtesy Kansas State Historical Society.

Carleton informed Adjutant General Thomas that 2,000 "efficient men from the States" would make it possible to deal effectively with the Kiowas and Comanches. He asked for the Second Regiment of Colorado Volunteers as part of the reinforcements. He assured Thomas that, "once we can get all our supplies in, and get the merchants trains off the road, we can commence upon the Indians in earnest." For emphasis, he reiterated that his first concern was defensive, "the preservation of the trains." "When they are secure," he repeated, "the offensive may be begun in earnest." [307] To lead that offensive, Carleton turned to his reliable Indian campaigner, Colonel Carson.

He asked Carson, a former Indian agent for the Utes, to recruit a band of that tribe from their reservation to join the troops in a march against the Kiowas and Comanches in the autumn. Carson would, of course, be in command of that expedition, to be organized and outfitted at Fort Union and, from there, proceed to Fort Bascom to begin the journey in search of the Kiowa and Comanche villages. The commander at Fort Bascom, Captain Charles Deus, First New Mexico Volunteers, reported that large parties of Kiowas and Comanches were located east of that post. They were expected to establish winter camps in the Texas panhandle. Soon after Colonel Selden took command of Fort Union, Lieutenant Colonel Abreu was sent from Fort Union to take command of Fort Bascom and report "all information you can learn of the whereabouts and probable numbers" of the Kiowas and Comanches. [308]

Carleton requested of the adjutant general that no peace be made with the plains tribes "until they are soundly whipped." Even though representatives of some tribes were asking for peace, Carleton advised that "the winter time is the time to make war upon them. They are then in large villages, obliged to keep on streams where grass and timber can be found, and being encumbered by their families and by their stores of food, are easily overtaken." The Indians, he declared, "know this" and will make a peace that will last only until spring, predicting they "will be sure to commence their depredations upon the trains the moment the winter has gone by." Carleton asked for reinforcements, if possible, to join the upcoming campaign. [309]

As the arrangements were made for the campaign, Carleton expressed every confidence in Carson. "I believe," he wrote to Carson, "you will have big luck." At Fort Union, two mountain howitzers were prepared for field service (an important decision as events were to prove). Carson brought the Ute and Jicarilla Apache recruits to Maxwell's Ranch on the Cimarron (present Cimarron, New Mexico) where they were supplied with clothing and blankets as well as arms and ammunition from the depots at Fort Union. The troops for the campaign gathered at Fort Union, where Captain Shoemaker was directed to issue everything required "to fit out troops now preparing for active field service at Fort Union." [310]

There was hope that a force would march from Fort Larned, at the same time Carson took the field, to pursue the Kiowas and Comanches. [311] Carleton believed it would "disconcert them, finding troops coming from different directions." For Carson's column, Carleton had approximately 350 soldiers and 75 Indian auxiliaries. Lieutenant Colonel Abreu was to command the infantry, and Major McCleave was responsible for the mounted units. Lieutenant Charles Haberkorn, First New Mexico Volunteers, was in charge of the Indian allies. The surgeon was George S. Courtright. The entire command was to "concentrate at once at Fort Bascom, and have that post as their base of operations." All Comancheros were to be prohibited from going to the plains where they might warn the Indians about the campaign. Frank DeLisle, a noted scout and guide who was on the Cimarron Route with Captain Bergmann, was to join Carson at Fort Bascom as chief scout. Carson was to do whatever was necessary to inflict punishment "for the atrocities they have already committed." His directions to Carson were clear: "You know where to find the Indians; you know what atrocities they have committed; you know how to punish them. The means and men are placed at your disposal to do it, and now all the rest is left with you." [312]

Carson's column left Fort Bascom on November 12, 1864, heading for old Fort Adobe (the remains of which were commonly called Adobe Walls), an abandoned trading post built by Bent, St. Vrain & Co. in 1845-1846 north of the Canadian River in the central panhandle of Texas. There Carson planned to leave his wagon train of supplies and proceed with pack mules to attack the Kiowas and Comanches in their winter camps. The column encountered their enemy a few miles before reaching Adobe Walls and attacked a Kiowa village of about 150 lodges early in the morning of November 25. The Kiowas were driven from their camp and took a stand at Adobe Walls, where they were dislodged by artillery fire. Carson then occupied the old trading post. The Kiowas secured reinforcements from Kiowa and Comanche camps farther down the Canadian River, and came back to attempt to surround Carson and cut him off from his supply train and the abandoned Kiowa village. [313]

Surgeon Courtright set up his hospital within the old fort, behind the remains of adobe walls which he recalled as being "between three and four feet high." He estimated that 3,000 Kiowas and Comanches were in the vicinity, odds of more than ten to one (part of Carson's force had been left with the supply train). With the aid of the mountain howitzers, Carson broke away from Adobe Walls and, after a bitter contest, burned the captured Kiowa village. At that point, near sunset, the Kiowas and their comrades fled from the scene. Carson returned his troops to the supply train, which had been left with a guard of infantrymen. Without the artillery, given the overwhelming number of Indians faced, Carson's command would probably have been wiped out during the engagement. [314] He reported losses of two soldiers and one Indian ally killed, ten soldiers and five Indian allies wounded, and many horses wounded. He estimated the Kiowa losses at not less than 60 killed and wounded. Courtright estimated the enemy losses at "nearly 100 killed and 150 wounded."

Because his horses were "broken down" and the enemy had scattered in all directions, Carson started back to Fort Bascom on November 27. The column returned to Bascom on December 20, ending the campaign. Carson was permitted to go to his home at Taos. Many of the troops were sent to quarters at Fort Union. [315] The destruction of the Kiowa village was a serious blow because of the approaching winter, but the Kiowas and Comanches had not been punished as Carleton hoped. [316] They would continue to raid along the supply lines to New Mexico for several more years. Carson had not been provided sufficient manpower and equipment to overhaul the plains tribes as his troops had done the Mescalero Apaches and the Navajos. Even so, the Adobe Walls campaign of 1864 was an important contribution to the defense of the Department of New Mexico and its routes of supply during the Civil War. Fort Union had been a integral part of the operation, providing equipment and supplies for the troops in the field.

At Fort Union, on November 25 (the same day of Carson's engagement at Adobe Walls), the commanding officer's quarters were destroyed by fire. Colonel Selden reported that the fire started in a room occupied by a guest, where a servant had placed "too much fire upon the hearth." There was no adequate water supply at the post for fighting a fire. Every effort was made by the men of the garrison "to extinguish the flames," but the entire building was destroyed. Selden had permitted three other officers to occupy rooms in his building, and they all lost their quarters, too. Other rooms at the post had to be pressed into service for the unfortunate officers. [317]

A few days after the fire and the battle at Adobe Walls, Colonel Chivington led his infamous attack on the Cheyenne and Arapaho village of "peaceful" Indians located on Sand Creek in Colorado Territory. It was clear that the overland trails were not going to be safe in 1865. In January Carleton began to concentrate troops at Fort Union in preparation for guarding the routes between Fort Union and the Arkansas River early in the spring. He planned to send troops to encamp at Lower Cimarron Spring, Cold Spring, Rabbit Ear Creek, and Whetstone Creek, from which points they could assist supply trains from the Arkansas to Fort Union. Carleton requested Major General Samuel R. Curtis, commanding the Department of Kansas, to provide similar protection from Fort Larned westward. Without such action, Carleton predicted "there will be many lives sacrificed, and much property destroyed." [318]

Indians were probably far from the minds of the troops at Fort Union when they celebrated the opening of 1865 with a gala event designed to escape from the conditions and isolation of their situation. Paymaster Simon Rufus Marston, a native of New Hampshire, was "shocked" when he arrived at Fort Union on the evening of Sunday, January 1, 1865, "to find a Baile in full blast." His shock was apparently because it was Sunday, a day his New England upbringing held sacred from such profane indulgences. He described the event: "In one of the largest rooms of the Q. M. department Co. A 5th U.S. Infantry were giving the most brilliant baile of the season. Senoritas gorgeously arrayed and gallant Senors ready to do or die, were tripping the light fantastic toe beneath the protecting folds of the star spangled banner." The only "excuse for such hilarity," Marston discovered, was that it was "New Years day." [319] Marston undoubtedly called upon Post Commander Selden while he was at the post.

Selden died at Fort Union on February 2, 1865, and was buried in the post cemetery the following day. The cause of his death given only as "sickness," and he was apparently ill and unable to perform his duties for at least two weeks before his demise. He was succeeded by Lieutenant Colonel Abreu, who took command of Fort Union and was also promoted to the rank of colonel. [320] Despite the loss and change of command at Fort Union, Carleton continued to plan how the troops stationed there would make the Santa Fe Trail safe for travelers in 1865.

Because it appeared that no wagon train would be secure without military protection, Carleton announced that a company of troops would leave Fort Union on the first and fifteenth of each month, beginning March 1, to escort all parties wishing to cross the plains as far as Fort Larned or until troops from Fort Larned were met on the way. The escorts would alternate between the Mountain and Cimarron routes, the companies leaving on the first of each month taking the former and those on the fifteenth following the later. The same troops would escort westbound caravans on their return to Fort Union. All travelers were invited to accompany the soldiers. [321] Carleton requested General Curtis to start similar escorts from Fort Larned on the same dates and that the escorts return to their respective posts from whatever point they met on the trail. [322]

The importance of such arrangements was supported by rumors of increasing Indian threats to the Cimarron Route. According to some Comanches who came to Fort Bascom in March, the Kiowas, Plains Apaches, Cheyennes, and Arapahos were combining "to waylay all trains on the Cimarron route . . . in a very short time." [323] Carleton was confident that his plans would prevent the success of such endeavors, should they in fact occur. "We must not have the commerce of the country stopped by rumors," he declared. "We must go ahead; and, if worse comes to worst, fight it out." [324] Although Carleton was confident the soldiers would be victorious in such a conflict, he was disappointed in efforts being made, especially at Fort Union, to keep the troops prepared for battle.

When Colonel Nelson H. Davis, assistant inspector general, completed his review of conditions at Fort Union in January 1865, he found that little had changed since the inspection of 1863. Davis found that "military affairs at this post, had for some time been indifferently attended to." Davis noted that "there was a decided improvement" after Abreu became the post commander, but still found the officers "exhibited too much apathy and lethargy in their duties, were too much given to personal ease and indulgences, calculated to promote inefficiency." The records of public property required of some officers were not properly kept. The enlisted men "in the Mexican companies, look as if they were recruited to make the number required, and were available only for the consumption of rations." Instruction of the troops was often "incorrect and incomplete." The quarters "were not properly inspected and policed." The bedding was "bad." The post was filthy. "In the absence of suitable sinks, the ditches of the field works and outskirts of the post were used by the command as substitutes therefor." The horses of the mounted troops were "insufficiently groomed and fed." Clearly, this was not the garrison of an efficient fighting force. [325]

Carleton directed Abreu to get everything in order and be prepared for another inspection "soon." He emphasized that officers "are paid for doing their duty, not for wasting the time that belongs to the United States." Every soldier was to be carefully examined by the post surgeon, and a special report was to be made on everyone unfit for active duty in the field. Abreu was responsible for seeing that everyone performed "his whole duty" and that "the standard of discipline and efficiency" was improved. [326] Carleton looked forward to the end of the Civil War and the return of regular troops to replace the volunteers in the department. The troops he sent on the Santa Fe Trail were effective in protecting the commerce of the prairies beyond the era of the Civil War.

The upheaval of the Civil War ended in the spring of 1865 with the defeat of the Confederacy. Carleton directed Captain Shoemaker at the Fort Union Arsenal to send sufficient powder and primers to Santa Fe to fire 200 guns at department headquarters, as directed by the war department, in celebration of the surrender of Robert E. Lee. [327] On July 4, 1865, Carleton ended martial law and lifted all wartime restrictions on citizens in New Mexico Territory. [328] The territory and the nation spent the better part of a generation recovering and binding up the wounds engendered by that dreadful conflict between the North and the South. The army in New Mexico continued to work for a solution to the Indian problems. The era of the "Indian wars" continued for another decade on the plains and longer in the Southwest. During much of that time, as Carleton complained in 1865, the war department and the department of the interior were frequently in conflict over the best methods of dealing with the Indians. [329] In addition to dealing with raiders on the plains, Carleton was working desperately to find enough provisions to feed more than 8,000 Navajos and Mescaleros at Bosque Redondo and combating Indian Agent Steck's opposition to his efforts.

army officers
Seated, l to r: Daniel H. Rucker, Kit Carson, and James H. Carleton. Standing, l to r: E. H. Bergmann, Charles P. Cleaver, Nelson H. Davis, Herbert M. Enos, Basil K. Norris, and John C. McFerran. Photo taken at Masonic Temple, Santa Fe, by Nicholas Brown, December 26, 1866. All these men, except Cleaver (who was adjutant general of New Mexico Territory and, later, delegate to Congress), were army officers who had served at Fort Union. Carleton, Enos, and Carson had commanded the post. Rucker, Enos, and McFerran had headed the quartermaster department. Norris had been post surgeon. Davis inspected the fort. Bergmann also commanded Fort Bascom. Courtesy Museum of New Mexico, neg. no. 9826.

For the most part, the troops in New Mexico ended the Civil War years as they had begun, protecting the routes of supply and the settlements from Indian attacks. Such would continue to be their mission for more than another decade. Throughout the Civil War years the element of supply was the key to the success of Union troops in dealing with Confederates and Indians. The story of the supply depots at Fort Union during the war may be found in chapter nine. As noted above, the building of the third Fort Union was begun in 1862 before the fieldwork was completed. The erection of the final Fort Union, along with the military operations of the troops stationed there after the Civil War, constitute the subjects next considered. After more than a decade, facilities at Fort Union were finally provided that were commensurate with its missions.

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Last Updated: 09-Jul-2005