Continued from Page 3
HUNTER'S WESTERN ARIZONA CAMPAIGN
General Henry Hopkins Sibley in a sober moment recognized the importance of Tucson and Western Arizona to the Confederacy. Thus he wrote on January 27, 1862 a letter to the Adjutant General of the Confederate Army, General Samuel Cooper that he was ordering one company of Col Baylor's command to take post at Tucson.
On February 10, 1862, the following order was issued by Lieut. Col (and Governor of the Confederate Arizona Territory) John Robert Baylor:
February 10, 1862
Captain Sherod Hunter
SIR: You will, without delay move your company to Tucson and select some point in the vacinity of that place for a camp until further orders. You will also escort Col. Jas Riley to the Mexican border, or to some point where he can get an escort from the Mexican authorities. The detachment of Capt. Helms company will return with Col Riley.
John R. Baylor
A separate document to Hunter gave specific orders for his operations. These were:
1. Maintain law and order among the citizens and soldiers.
2. Cultivate amicable relations with the citizens of the Mexican state of Sonora.
3. Make a treaty with the chiefs of the Pima and Papago Indians to secure their aid against the Apaches
4. Open communications with Confederate sympathizers in California and secure recruits for the Confederate armies from that source.
5. Scout toward Fort Yuma and report the activities of Union forces stationed there.
Renamed the Arizona Rangers, after Baylor's favorite unit, the Texas Rangers, Hunter and approximately 100 men saddled up and began the trip from Mesilla to Tucson in stormy weather throughout the journey. During the trip, Pvt. Benjamin Mays succumbed to pleurisy at San Simon while enroute.
The battered and ragged company of Confederate Arizona Rangers rode into Tucson and raised the Confederate flag on March 1, 1862. There they found Tucson under siege by the Apaches who were under the impression that they had driven out the bluecoats, rather than it being the result of the Civil War.
Hunter, in his report of April 5, 1862, described in glowing terms the reaction of Tucson's people to the arrival of the Confederate troops saying " My timely arrival with my command was hailed by the majority, may I say the entire population of the town of Tucson". The majority of the anglo population of Tucson was for the Confederacy and the local militia had carried the Confederate flag into battle against the Apaches even before Hunter's arrival. There had even been secession conventions in Tucson in March and August of 1861.
Shortly after his arrival, Hunter called in all Union men and gave them the option of either signing the following oath or leaving Tucson:
"I do solemnly sware or affirm that I will be a true and loyal citizen of the government of the Confederate States of America.And that I will bear true allegiance to the same. That I will as a faithful and good citizen observe and obey all laws of said government. That I will at all times whenever required by the proper authority take up arms in defense of the rights and liberties of said government, and that I hereby renounce allegiance to all and every other government but that of the Confederate States of America, so help me God".
Those refusing to sign were given one hour to evacuate and Hunter confriscated their property to provide for the needs of his men. Union - owned mines were also confriscated by Hunter, but none of them were put into operation for the Confederacy.
Col. James Riley and his escort had accompanied Hunter's command to Tucson. Riley participated in the flag raising and gave a rousing speech to all assembled. On March 3, he departed on a diplomatic mission to the Governor of the Mexican State of Senora with an escort of 20 men.
Hunter was able to gain 8 recruits from the Tucson residents to partially replace the loss of the men to the escort.
On March 3, Hunter set out with 20-30 men ( the rest of his men had been sent out in detachments against the Apaches) for the villages of the Pima Indians located on the Gila River (near present day Casa Grande) for the following reasons; First to enlist Pima aid in fighting their enemy- the Apache, Second to investigate rumors of an imminent invasion of Arizona by a Union army from California, and thirdly to delay the progress of any invasion, if it was true.
Upon arriving, Hunter secured a mutual defense treaty against the Apaches with Antonio Azul, Chief of the Pimas and discovered the truth of the rumors about the formation of a Union army in California and it's intention to invade Arizona. The California Column, a 1500 man brigade under the command of Colonel James Henry Carleton, was indeed preparing to invade Arizona. In preparation, a Union agent Ammi M. White who owned a grist mill located at the villages had stockpiled 1500 sacks of wheat for the column. White was arrested and, his property (especially the wheat) confriscated. With no transportation, Hunter distributed the wheat to the Pimas, who subsequently again sold it to the Union.
This was an inconvenience to the California Column who was depending on the wheat being at the Pima villages and delayed their advance by more than 2 weeks because the Union leaders could not arrange for the supplies needed by their men. The Pimas refused Union currency and would trade their wheat only for manta, a type of broadcloth, which the Union forces did not have. Union Captain William Calloway wrote the following to his superiors "Send us manta or we will starve. We have only one days rations at present." It took 2 weeks to procure sufficient supplies of manta in order to purchase enough wheat to supply the Union troops. In the interim, the troops lived on their scanty supplies and the generosity of the
Hunter later wrote of a further incident "While delaying at the Pima villages, awaiting the arrival of a train of 50 wagons which was reported to be en route for this place for said wheat (which report, however, turned out to be untrue) my pickets discovered the approach of a detachment of cavalry, and which detachment, I am happy to say, we succeeded in capturing without firing a gun. The detachment consisted of Captain William McCleave and nine men of the First California Cavalry." McCleave and his men along with Amii White were soon on their way, under guard, to Tucson.
McCleave's capture did not end Hunter's activities at the Pima villages. While there, he learned that the Union forces were storing hay at all of the former Butterfield Overland Stagecoach Stations between the villages and Fort Yuma. Hunter sent out detachments to burn the hay, which they succeeded in doing at six of the stations. These probes marked the westernmost penetration of the Confederate Army during the war and would precipitate the furthest west skirmish at Stanwix Station.
On March 30, 1862, Confederates under the command of Lieutenant John W. Swilling were torching hay stored at Stanwix Station located on the Gila River, about 80 miles east of Fort Yuma. While engaged, they encountered the vanguard of a 272 man force sent from Fort Yuma to the rescue of Captain McCleave. The Union force was commanded by Captain William Calloway. The Confederates fired at the approaching Yankees, wounding one in the shoulder, then fled pursued by a detachment of Union horsemen. They eluded capture and brought word to Hunter in Tucson.
Captain Hunter, upon learning of the Union force disposed of his prisoners- parolling McCleave's nine men escort and sending McCleave and miller White under guard to Mesilla. He further stationed a picket detachment of nine men under the command of Sergeant Harry Holmes on the Fort Yuma- Tucson road at a place with a sweeping view of the country called Picacho Pass.
The Union force encountered at Stanwix Station soon moved on to the Pima villages, thus setting the stage for the westernmost battle of the War Between the States, the Battle of Picacho Pass. Realizing that the pickets would warn the Confederate commander of his approach, Calloway was determined to capture them before they could issue any warning. Calloway divided his force, detaching two squads under the commands of Lieutenants Baldwin and Barrett to circle around the Eastern and Western faces of Picacho Peak thus entering the pass from the South and cutting off any retreating Confederate pickets while he lead the main force directly down the Tucson road. On April 15, 1862, brash Lieutenant James Barrett with 12 men arrived early, disobeyed orders and attacked the Confederate campsite capturing Sgt Holmes and two others. Alerted by the gunfire, the other Confederates gathered in a defensive position in a nearby thicket. Barrett ordered his men to mount and flush them out. This strategy proving unsuccessful, Barrett ordered his men to dismount and advance on foot. For 90 minutes, the two sides fought desperately. When the shooting ended, 3 Federals including Barrett lay dead and 3 others were wounded. The Confederates escaped to warn Hunter.
The Union dead were buried where they fell on the battlefield. In 1892, the army removed the remains of the two enlisted men to the National Cemetary at the Presidio, in San Francisco, California. Barrett's remains were undiscovered until 1928, when Southern Pacific Railroad workers found them only yards away from the railroad embankment they were constructing. A monument to the Union dead was erected on Barrett's grave, but later was removed to Picacho Peak State Park. Barrett lies where he fell in 1862.
The Union report of April 18. 1862, by Captain Calloway states that in addition to the three captured Confederates, three others were wounded. Hunter's report does not indicate that there were any wounded.
Captain Calloway, upon learning of the results of the Battle of Picacho Pass, thought he faced an enemy force of 200- 230 men. California newspapers estimated that the Confederate force in Tucson could muster up to 1500 men. Calloway retreated through the Pima villages to Stanwix Station where he awaited reinforcements. These under Lieutenant- Colonel Joseph West soon arrived, advanced on the Pima villages, built an earthwork fortification named Fort Barrett, and settled down to gather supplies and prepare for the final advance on Tucson.
Captain Hunter's reaction to the Picacho Pass Battle was to send a detachment of 10 men under the command of Lieutenant James H. Tevis to search for the missing pickets. Tevis arrived in time to see the retreating Federal force which he accurately estimated at 200 cavalry and five wagons. Upon receiving Tevis's report, Hunter realized he would quickly need reinforcements if he was to hold Western Arizona. Governor Baylor at Mesilla was appraised of this fact but could do nothing as the Confederate Army of New Mexico had met defeat at Glorietta and was in full retreat back to Texas.
On May 5, 1862, Captain Hunter's Arizona Rangers had the first of two engagements with the Apaches. A foraging party, gathering cattle in the vicinity of Dragoon Springs ( near the current town of Dragoon) was ambushed by a large band of Apache warriors led by Cochise and Francisco. Four of Hunter's men were killed and the Apaches stole 25 horses and 30 mules in addition to the cattle. The dead Confederates were buried at the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach Station at Dragoon Springs where they remain to the present day.
The Confederates would exact revenge when a force of 30 men under the command of First Lieutenant Robert L. Swope was sent out to recover the cattle and mounts. Swope suprised the Apaches, killing 5 and recovering the livestock without Confederate loss.
On May 14, Hunter was appraised of the Confederate reversals in New Mexico, and gave the order to evacuate Tucson. Lieutenant Tevis and a small detachment remained in Tucson with orders to watch for the Union forces and report their arrival to Captain Hunter.
That same day, West and four companies of California infantry and cavalry left the Pima villages for Tucson. Instead of moving directly, they moved first to occupy Fort Breckenridge Northeast of Tucson. The fort had lain abandoned since the departure of the U.S. Army in May, 1861 who burned it before leaving. West arrived at the fort on May 18, raising the Stars and Stripes over its blackened ruins. The forts name was changed to Fort Stanford after Governor Leland Stanford of California. Former Vice- President Breckenridge's name was inappropriate after he went South.
West and his troops marched into Tucson on May 20, 1862, the cavalry with bugles sounding and guidons fluttering. The infantry marched in with fifes and drums playing "Yankee Doodle". Both amused the remaining citizenry. The last remaining Confederates in the town- Lieutenant Tevis were almost captured when the Union forces entered the town by a different route.
After repeated skirmishes with the Apaches, Captain Hunter and Company A, Arizona Rangers, reached Mesilla on May 27, 1862 where it was soon combined with two other units for the defense of the Mesilla valley. Thus ended Hunter's Western Arizona Campaign.
In their new capacity, The Arizona Rangers became part of Lieutenant Philemon Herberts battalion of Arizona Cavalry. While most of the Confederate Army of New Mexico departed for San Antonio, Herberts battalion was among the units left behind under the command of Colonel William Steele, in a forlorn attempt to hold the Mesilla Valley and the El Paso region for the Confederacy.
A primary concern of Steele's command at this time was obtaining adequate supplies. Foraging parties were sent out to requisition food, horses, mules and other supplies from the native Mexicans of the surrounding region. Hunter's Rangers were involved in these foraging expeditions and encountered resistance from armed parties of New Mexican guerillas. On July 1, 1862 Hunter and his men had a sharp clash with the guerillas near Mesilla.
Three days later, on July 4, 1862, advance elements of the California Column reached the banks of the Rio Grande River near Fort Thorn. Within three days after that, Colonel Steele and his entire command (including Hunter and the Arizona Rangers) were in retreat to San Antonio and safety. The Arizona Rangers were thus amongst the very last Confederate units to withdraw from the Confederate territory of Arizona, and with their going, Confederate Arizona ceased to exist.
THE UNION COUNTER- OFFENSIVE
You met Lieutenant Pettis previously in Part 3 of this presentation. Pettis was a member of the California Column and wrote a history of same in 1907 at age 73. Much of the following is from his history.
The California Column consisted of 10 companies of the 1st California Infantry, 5 companies of the 1st California Cavalry, the Fifth California and Light Battery A of the 3rd U.S. artillery, with a total strength of 2350 rank and file. Their campaign started from Fort Yuma on the California- Arizona border.
Never did the column move as one unit. Advance parties were sent ahead to scout, strengthen fortifications at camping points, and to collect what food and forage was available for the larger groups to follow. As we saw in the previous part, Confederate Sherrod Hunter and his Arizona Rangers did much to delay the column by destroying these accumulations of supplies whenever found. Another reason for breaking up the column as previously mentioned was the limited water supplies at springs and waterholes.
Following the Battle of Picacho Pass, Union Captain Calloway returned to the Pima Villages and started work on a permanant camp, the earthworks of which were named Fort Barrett. It took several weeks for the main elements of the column to reach the Pima Villages.
On May 15th, an advanced detachment under Colonel West left the villages for Tucson, going through "Casa Grandes" and Rattlesnake Springs for old Fort Breckenridge (later named Fort Grant), where the American flag was run up on the flagpole of the abandoned fort amid the cheers of the men and the field music playing "The Star Spangled Banner".
On May 19th, the detachment marched 15 miles and encamped within 10 miles of Tucson. The grand enterence to Tucson was made from 3 different roads on the 20th. There they found that the Confederates had publicly announced that the "Abs" (absolutionists) would soon take control of the town which would be given over to a brutal soldiery. The alarmed population, mostly Mexican, had evacuated starting southward for Sonora.
The troops would stay in Tucson for two months, until July 20th, while the column was being assembled and accumulating enough food and forage to start the final leg to the Rio Grande, still almost 200 miles away. Almost all supplies were being brought by wagon train from Southern California. It was during this period that Carleton and Canby were permoted to Generals.
Repeated efforts were made to open communications with Federal troops in New Mexico and to alert them that the California Column was on it's way. None of the express parties ever returned. The following expedition though successful explains why. On June 15, 1862, Sergeant William Wheeling, expressman John Jones and a Mexican guide named Chaves left Tucson with dispatches for General Canby at Fort Craig. This party was attacked by Apaches at Apache Pass, about 75 miles East of Tucson, on June 18th. Chaves was killed by the first exchange of shots and Wheeling so seriously wounded that he fell off his horse and was dispatched. Both bodies were later found badly mutulated. Jones escaped and after a ride of 200 miles reached the Rio Grande near Mesilla, where he was captured by the Rebels who relieved him of his dispatches and threw him in jail. He still somehow got word through to Canby, probably via a Union sympathizer.
On June 21st, a strong party of cavalry left Tucson, arriving at Fort Thorn on the Rio Grande (between Mesilla and Fort Craig) on July 4th. Thorn had been abandoned by the rebels. Lieutenant Commander Eyre was reinforced by a squadron of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry and proposed attacking Mesilla, but received peremptory orders from the "Fighting Parson" now Colonel Chivington of the 1st Colorado Volunteers at Fort Craig, who under General Canby's orders was in command of the Southern Military District of New Mexico.
The largest battle of the California Column took place in early July when Captain Roberts, Company E, 1st Infantry, Captain Cremoney's Company B, 2nd Cavalry and with two mountain howitzers under the command of Lieutenant Thompson left Tucson for the San Simeon River to establish a camp for the relief Eyre's command should they be forced back by the Texans. This relief command was attacked by a large force of Apache warriors under Cochise. The howitzers turned the tide and the Apaches were forced with a loss of nine killed, while the troops suffered 2 killed and 2 wounded.
The California Column commenced advancing from Tucson on July 20th with five companies of infantry under the command of Colonel West departing. They were followed the next day by Captain Willis with two companies of infantry and Battery A, 3rd U.S. Artillery. On July 23, Lieutenant Colonel Rigg with five companies of infantry followed. Each detachment had subsistence for 30 days, with a full supply of entrenching tools. Upon their arrival in Tucson, the infantry had carried full fifty pound packs, a notable achievement considering the nature of the country through which they marched in woolen uniforms and the heat and thirst they encountered. Much to their relief, General Carleton issued General Order #10 on July 17th stating " that every soldier may move forward with a light, free step, now that we approach the enemy; he will no longer be required to carry his knapsack".
Carleton arrived at Fort Thorn on August 7, 1862 and immediately communicated with Canby. The balance of the column arrived on the Rio Grande in detachments as they left Tucson, one day apart. By August 15th with the retreat of the Confederates to San Antonio, Mesilla was made headquarters of the Federal District of Arizona. The Southern Overland Mail Route was opened and troops of the California Column reoccupied U.S. military posts in Arizona, New Mexico and Northern Texas.
On September 18th, 1862, General Carleton assumed command of the Department of New Mexico (General Canby had been ordered East) and active operations commenced against the hostile Apaches and Navajos. To congratulate the troops on the end of the Confederate threat, Carleton issued the following:
Headquarters of the Department of New Mexico,
Santa Fe, N.M., Sept 21st, 1862
Gen. Orders No 85
In entering upon the duties that remove him from immediate association with the troops constituting the "Column from California", the Commanding General desires to express his grateful acknowledgement of the conduct and services of the officers and men of that command. Traversing a desert country that had heretofore been regarded as impracticable for the operations of large bodies of troops, they have reached their destination and accomplished the object assigned them, not only with out loss of any kind, but improved in discipline, in morale, and in every other element of efficiency. That patient and cheerful endurance of hardships, the zeal and alacrity which they have grappled with, and overcome obstacles that would have been insurmountable to any but troops of the highest physical and moral energy, the complete abregation of self and subordination of every personal consideration to the great object of our hopes and efforts give the most absolute assurance of success in any field or against any enemy.
California has reason to be proud of the sons she has sent across the continent to assist in the great struggle in which our country is now engaged. The Commanding General is requested by the officer who preceded him ( Canby) in the command of this department, to express for him the gratification felt by every officer and soldier of his command at the fact that troops from the Atlantic and Pacific slope, from the mountains of California and Colorado, acting in the same cause, inspired by the sane duties, and animated by the same hopes, have met and shaken hands in the center of this great continent.
The California Column would spend the remainder of the war in campaigns against the indians. In 1863 they captured Apache chief Mangas Coloradas who was subsequently killed trying to escape. California troops were to escort immigrant and government wagon trains as far as Fort Dodge, Kansas until discharged in 1865.
Sources for Confederate Campaigns
1. David Emanuel Twiggs- The Aztec Club of 1847
2. More Twigg's Surrender History- 6th Texas Organization
3. General Twiggs Surrenders all Federal Installations in Texas- Tripod Unicorn's Quest in Texas
4. US Civil War- Confederate Occupation- Paul Besceglia
5. Ruidoso, New Mexico- Fort Stanton- PBS Weekend Explorer
6. Civil War Battle at Fort Fillmore, Tortugas, New Mexico- PBS Weekend Explorer
7. Excerpts of Dr. Thomas P. Lowery's article "Boys in the Bag", Aug. 1997, Civil War Times
8. 1861- 1862 Official Confederate Battle and Skermish Reports for the New Mexico Campaign- Bill Manley, Researcher
9. California and the Civil War- The California Column, Lieutenant George H. Pettis, Commander, Company K. 1st Regiment of Infantry, California Volunteers
10. Brig. Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley- Commander of the Confederate Forces in New Mexico
11. Handbook of Texas Online: Sibley Campaign- The Texas State Historical Association
12. Handbook of Texas Online: Valverde, Battle of- The Texas State Historical Association
13. The Westernmost Campaign of the Civil War- New Mexico Territory, 1861- 1862, 4th Texas Volunteers, Co. C
14. CWSAC Battle Summeries- Park Net, National Park Service
15. Letters From the Front, and Other Writings- Beverly Becker, New Mexico Culture Net
16. Esseys- The Civil War in New Mexico- Charles Bennett, New Mexico Culture Net
17. The Gettysburg of the west- TCP Park Net- National Park Service
18. Glorietta Combatant's Accounts- TCP Park Net- National Park Service
18. The Far Western Civil War- P.G. Nagle
19. Colonel Sherod Hunter: A biography, Col. Sherod Hunter Camp 1525, SCV, Phoenix Arizona
20. Arizona's Forgotten Dead- The Story of the Engagement at Dragoon Springs, Arizona. Col. Sherod Hunter Camp 1525, SCV, Phoenix, Arizona
21. Battle of Picacho Pass- Military History Online.com
22. Historic Events in Arizona Guard History- Excerpts from the book Arizona Heritage, Jay J. Wagoner- Civil War in Arizona
23. The California Column and the March to Tucson, 1862. Robert Flaherty, The California Military Museum
1. Fort Craig- US Dept of the Interior, Bureau of Land Managemen
2. Fort Union- New Mexico Volunteers- National Park Service
3. Fort Union- The Sante Fe Trail- National Park Service
4. Fort Union National Monument New Mexico- National Park Service
5. 1861-1862 Civil War in New Mexico- New Mexico Dept of Tourism
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