Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March 28, 1862

March 28, 1862: Trans-Mississippi Theater, New Mexico Campaign – THE BATTLE OF GLORIETA PASS, New Mexico. The Union forces re-group at Kozlowski Ranch, at the far eastern end of the pass through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains: the 1st Reg. of Colorado Volunteers, a detachment of the 2nd New Mexico Inf., detachments of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiments, 5 companies of the 5th U.S. Infantry, and a company of the 2nd Reg. of Colorado Volunteers—about 1,300 total, under the command of Col. John Slough. The Confederate forces, encamped at the far west end of the pass, at Johnson’s Ranch (Apache Canyon), consist of a battalion of the 2nd Texas Mounted Volunteers (under Maj. Pyron), four companies of the 5th Texas (under Maj. Shropshire), nine companies of the 4th Texas, five companies of the 7th Texas, and five field pieces (cannons)—about 1,100 troops under the field command of Lt. Col. William Scurry of the 4th Texas. This morning, both forces march toward the other, when Scurry’s advance force chases off the Union advance (1). The Texans then run into several companies of Coloradans under Lt. Col. Tappan, arrayed in battle line. Scurry launches an attack (2), and the larger Confederate force drives the Federals from their line, and back to Pigeon Ranch. There, Col. Slough organizes a larger line, using most of his troops, strung across the canyon, and reinforced with artillery.  As the Texans attack, the battle devolves into a sporadic series of infantry firefights all afternoon (3). 

In the meantime, Col. Slough has sent Maj. Chivington off to the left to flank the Confederates (4), but the trail leads them far afield. Lt. Col. Manuel Chaves of the 2nd New Mexico finds a trail to Johnson’s Ranch, where the Confederate wagons and supply train are. Back at Pigeon’s Ranch, Scurry sends Maj. Paguet and the 4th Texas up on the bluffs behind the Union right flank (5), where his sharpshooters lay down a fire that forces the Federals to give way and withdraw. Slough forms another line beyond Pigeon’s Ranch, but by evening is forced to withdraw (6) down the pass to his supply base. It is a Confederate tactical victory—until Chivington’s force, led by Captains William Lewis and Asa Carey and the U.S. Regulars, launches an attack down the steep bluff slopes into the Rebel supply train, where the wagons and supplies are put to the torch, and horses and mules slaughtered. As the Rebels discover this shocking attack in their rear, being completely out of supplies, the battle turns into a strategic Union victory, as the Confederates retreat out of the pass and all the way back to Santa Fe—and eventually all the way out of New Mexico, ending Confederate hopes of dominating the West; cutting communications between California and the East; capturing mining fields in Colorado, California, and Nevada; and even perhaps adding California (and her ports), Nevada, Utah, and Colorado to the Confederacy.

Union Victory.


            Killed    Wounded    Captured    Total

U.S.       51                 78           15              144

C.S.      48                 80           92              220


—Gathering at Corinth, Mississippi to form the new Army of the Mississippi (C.S.A.) are the troops under Gen. Beauregard from western Tennessee, the brigades under Gen. Polk, garrison troops from Memphis under Gen. Daniel Ruggles, the remainders of Gen. Albert S. Johnston’s command from Nashville, and some troops from Mobile under Gen. Braxton Bragg. Albert Sidney Johnston takes overall command, with Pierre G.T. Beauregard as second-in-command. The new army is organized as follows:

I Corps Mag. Gen. Leonidas Polk        2 divisions -      4 brigades      9,404 men
II Corps Maj. Gen. Braxton Bragg       2 divisions -     6 brigades     16,279 men
III Corps Maj. Gen. William Hardee                              3 brigades       6,758 men
Reserve Corps Maj. Gen. George Crittenden (later replaced by John C. Breckenridge)
                                                                                                3 brigades      7,211 men
 Total                                              @40,000

—In a message to the Confederate States Congress in Richmond, Pres. Jefferson Davis calls for a military conscription system: "I therefore recommend the passage of a law declaring that all persons residing within the Confederate States, between the ages of 18 and 35 years, and rightfully subject to military duty, shall be held to be in the military service of the Confederate States, and that some plain and simple method be adopted for their prompt enrollment and organization, repealing all of the legislation heretofore enacted which would conflict with the system proposed.


—Alexander B. Downing, of the 11th Iowa Infantry Regiment—part of the First Brigade of Gen. McClernand’s Division—is camped at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, near Shiloh Church, with Gen. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee. He records in his journal:

Friday, 28th
—It is warm and dry—it is delightful. There is nothing of importance going on. Our camp is well protected on the left by the Tennessee river and by Owl creek on our right flank. Most of the camp ground lies high and just rolling enough to keep the ground dry. Our camp—the First Brigade of the First Division—lies almost due north and south, so arranged for the purpose of giving the brigade a good drill and parade ground. The camps of the different brigades, all through the woods, face in any desired direction, except the regiments out in front, which are so arranged as to be facing the enemy should they have to form a line of battle.

—Col. John Hunt Morgan, of Kentucky, and his Confederate cavalry raiding behind enemy lines, capture a train on the Louisville-Nashville railroad. They make several Union officers prisoner, and destroy the train.

—Miss M.B. Pettigrew, of Hillsborough, in central North Carolina, writes to her brother, Brig. Gen. James Johnston Pettigrew, with the Rebel army in Virginia, despondent about Jackson’s defeat at Kernstown, affairs on the Mississippi, and Yankee encroachment on the North Carolina coast nearby:

. . . Jackson’s reverse has cast down the whole community. And made us more nervous about the intelligence from the West. I trust these hordes of miserable Yankees will be kept out of the Mississippi Valley. What shall we do with our [numerous?] enemy! I hope the military men know. Surely I do not. Our reverses have roused our people more than they have been yet. The people from the West are going down in numbers to be armed for the war. It is a great happiness to think President Davis can furnish arms for all who come.
Our Albermarle country is very much changed by the fall of Roanoke Island. Brother William has moved his people to Chatham County & burned his cotton. Brother Charles is here now to forward some of his Negroes to Cherry Hill but he intends remaining on his plantation for the present. He believes his Negroes will stand by him, as they have seen enough to make them know their master is their best friend. . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment