Texas Invades New Mexico

Few Americans know that significant Civil War battles were fought in New Mexico, and even fewer know of Fort Craig’s role in the conflict. In history books major battles like Gettysburg, Antietam, and Vicksburg get most of the reader’s attention. But had an innovative, albeit flawed, Confederate general succeeded in his plan, the Colorado gold fields would have fallen to the South – a move that might have changed the outcome of the Civil War.

The Confederate invasion of New Mexico took place in the winter of 1862. Before it was over both sides suffered hundreds of casualties in a series of critical battles. And like the larger conflict in the East, these engagements pitted former friends against each other, as was the case of the commanders on opposite sides as the Texas Confederates approached Fort Craig.

Bloodshed at Valverde

The Valverde fight was chaotic and bloody, and in many ways unconventional. The Texans had come with a couple of units with peculiar weapons choices.

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Friends Become Foes

The tragic scenario was repeatedly played out in the American Civil War, particularly among West Point graduates. Two U.S. Army officers who spent years fighting side-by-side now found themselves on opposite sides as the South seceded from the Union.

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Colonel Canby’s Outrageous Bluff

Where Sibley was flamboyant and over-the-top, his Union counterpart was subdued and quietly cerebral. But Colonel Canby also had his unconventional side.

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