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OUR DEFEAT AT VALVERDE.
Canby, who had reached the field at 1 P. M., considered the day his own, and was about to order a general advance, when he found himself anticipated by Green, at whose command his men, armed mainly with revolvers, burst from the wooded cover and leaped over the line of low sand-hills behind which they had lain, and made a desperate rush upon McRae's battery confronting them. Volley after volley of grape and canister was poured through their ranks, cutting them down by scores, but not for an instant checking their advance. They were 1,000 when they started; a few minutes later, they were but 900; but the battery was taken; while McRae, choosing death rather than flight, Lieut. Michler, and most of their men, lay dead beside their guns. Our supporting infantry, twice or thrice the Texans in number, and including more than man for man of regulars, shamefully withstood every entreaty to charge. They lay groveling in the sand in the rear of the battery, until the Texans came so near as to make their revolvers dangerous, when the whole herd ran madly down to and across the river, save those who were overtaken by a cowardly death on the way. The Colorado volunteers vied with the regulars in this infamous flight.
Simultaneously with this charge in front, Maj. Raguet, commanding the Texas left, charged our right at the head of his cavalry; but the disparity of numbers was so great that he was easily repulsed. The defeat of our center, however, soon altered the situation; our admirable guns being quickly turned upon this portion of the field, along with those of the Texans, when a few volleys of small
arms, and the charging shout of the victors, sufficed to complete the disaster. No part of our army seems to have stopped to breathe until safe under the walls of the fort. Six excellent guns, with their entire equipage, and many small-arms, were among the trophies secured by the victors. The losses of men were about equal-60 killed and 140 wounded on either side. But among the Confederate dead or severely wounded in the decisive charge, were Lt.-Col. Sutton, Maj. Lockridge, Capts. Lang and Heurel, and several lieutenants.
Col. W. L. Robards and Maj. Raguet were also wounded, though not mortally. The celerity of the flight precluded the taking of more than half-a-dozen prisoners, among them Capt. Rossel, of the regulars, captured while crossing the river.
Fort Craig was still invulnerable; though a flag of truce, dispatched by Canby as he reached its gates, was fondly mistaken for a time by the Texans as bearing a proposition to surrender. It covered an invitation to a truce for the burial of the dead and proper care of the wounded, to which two days were given by both armies; when a Rebel council of war decided that an assault was not justifiable, but that they might now safely leave Canby to his meditations, and push on up the river into the heart of the Territory. They did so, as they anticipated, without further opposi tion from the force they had so signally beaten. Leaving their wounded at Socorro, 30 miles on the way, they advanced to Albuquerque, 50 miles further, which fell without resistance, and where their scanty stock of provisions was considerably replenished.
At Cubero, 60 miles westward, they obtained more provisions and some ammunition. Still advancing on Santa Fé, the Confederates encountered," at Cañon Glorietta, or Apache Pass, 15 miles from Santa Fé, near Fort Union, a new Federal force of 1,300, composed partly of regulars, but mainly of green Colorado volunteers, the whole commanded by Col. John P. Slough. The Rebel force actually present, under Col. W. R. Scurry," was decidedly inferior in numbers," but in nothing else. The narrowness of the cañon precluded all flanking, enabling the Rebels to span it with a line of infantry, which instantly charged, with the Texan yell, revolver and knife in either hand. Our forces scarcely waited to be in danger before breaking and flying in the wildest confusion. In a few moments, not a man of them remained in sight of the Rebels.
Scurry halted, re-formed his men, brought up his guns, and fired a few shots to ascertain the position (if position they still had) of his adversaries, and then ordered Maj. Shropshire, with his right, and Maj. Raguet, with his left, to charge with cavalry and develop the new Federal line, while he would lead forward the center at the first sound of their guns. Delay ensuing, he moved to the right to ascertain its cause, and found that Shropshire had been killed. Immediately taking command of that wing, he advanced and attacked-the left opening fire, and the center advancing, as he did so. Three batteries of 8 guns each opened a deadly fire of grape, canister, and shell, as they
came within range, tearing through their ranks, but not stopping their advance. A short but desperate hand-to-hand conflict ensued, our infantry interposing to protect their guns, which were saved and brought off, with most of our wagons. But our infantry soon gave way, and the Texan victory was complete. Their loss was reported by Scurry as 36 killed and 60 wounded; but among the former were Majors Shropshire and Raguet, Capt. Buckholt, and Lt. Mills. During the fight, which lasted from noon until about 4 P. M., Maj. Chivington, of Colorado, with four companies, gained the rear of the Rebel position, and destroyed a part of their train, also a cannon, which he spiked; when, learning that Slough was defeated, he decamped. Our total loss was reported at 23 killed and 50 wounded; while in a skirmish with Pyron's cavalry, the morning before, Slough took 57 prisoners, with a loss of only 15.
Sibley entered Santa Fé in triumph soon afterward, meeting no further resistance. He collected there all that remained of his little army, and confiscated to its use whatever of provisions and clothing, of wagons and animals, he could lay hands on. But he found the population, with few exceptions, indifferent or hostile, the resources of food and forage extremely limited, and his hold upon the country bounded by the range of his guns. Never had heroic valor been persistently evinced to less purpose. Before he had rested a month, he found himself compelled to evacuate his hard-won conquest, and retreat
10 Col. Scurry, in his official report, declares that he had but 600 men present fit for duty.
THE TEXANS ABANDON NEW MEXICO.
by forced marches to Albuquerque, | that "sufficient funds in Confederate his depot, which Canby, advancing paper was provided them to meet from Fort Craig, was seriously threat- every want, if it be negotiated;" ening. He reached it in time to save and honors the brothers Raphael his supplies, but only to realize more and Manuel Armijo-wealthy native completely the impossibility of attach- merchants-who, on his arrival at ing New Mexico to the Confederacy, Albuquerque, had boldly avowed or even of remaining in it. He evac- their sympathy with the Confederate uated it on the 12th of April, moving cause, and placed stores containing down both banks of the river to Los $200,000 worth of goods at his disLunal, thence to Peralto on the east posal. He states that, when he evacside, where he found Canby looking uated Albuquerque, they abandoned for him. Some fighting at long range luxurious homes to identify their ensued, with no serious results; but future fortunes with those of the Sibley, largely outnumbered, crossed Southern Confederacy, and considthe river during the night, and pur- erately adds, "I trust they will not sued his retreat down the west bank be forgotten in the final settlement." next morning, Canby moving almost parallel with him on the east. The two armies encamped at evening in plain sight of each other.
Sibley, in his weakened condition, evidently did not like this proximity. "In order," as he says in his report, "to avoid the contingency of another general action in our then crippled condition," he set his forces silently in motion soon after nightfall, not down the river, but over the trackless mountains, through a desolate, waterless waste, abandoning most of his wagons, but packing seven days' provisions on mules, and thus giving his adversary the slip. Dragging his cannon by hand up and down the sides of most rugged mountains, he was ten days in making his way to a point on the river below, where supplies had been ordered to meet him, leaving his sick and wounded in hospitals at Santa Fé, Albuquerque, and Socorro, to fare as they might. He naïvely reports
In closing, Gen. Sibley expresses the unflattering conviction that, "except for its political geographical position, the Territory of New Mexico is not worth a quarter of the blood expended in its conquest;" and intimates that his soldiers would decidedly object to returning to that inhospitable, undesirable country. These and kindred considerations had induced his return to Fort Bliss, Texas, and now impelled him to meditate a movement without orders still further down the country.
Col. Canby wisely declined to run a race of starvation across those desolate mountains, in the rear of the flying foe, but returned to Santa Fé, whence his order, of even date" with Sibley's official report, claims that the latter had been "compelled to abandon a country he had entered to conquer and occupy, leaving behind him, in dead and wounded, and in sick and prisoners, onehalf of his original force.” May 4, 1862.
ing to shoot any Rebel caught bridgeburning within the Union lines-a threat which the guerrillas habitually defied, and President Lincoln declined to make good.
GEN. STERLING PRICE was a good | thereupon issued an order, threatendeal less indignant than any Unionist at the unaccountable desertion' of south-western Missouri by the new Union commander, directly on the heels of Fremont's triumphant and unresisted advance, when assured that his scouts were not mistaken in reporting the evacuation of Springfield and retreat to Rolla, by an army which he would not have dared to attack. He gradually retraced his steps from the Arkansas border, entering Springfield in triumph, and subsequently advancing to Osceola, on the Osage, thence pushing forward his forces unresisted over the greater part of southern and western Missouri, occupying in force Lexington and other points on the great river, where Slavery and Rebellion were strong, and subsisting his army on the State from which they might and should have been excluded. The village of Warsaw was burned,' and Platte City partially so,' by Rebel incendiaries or guerrillas; and there were insignificant combats at Salem, Rogers' Mill,' near Glasgow, Potosi, Lexington, Mount Zion, near Sturgeon, and some other points, at which the preponderance of advantage was generally on the side of the Unionists. Even in North Missouri, nearly a hundred miles of the railroad crossing that section was disabled and in good part destroyed' by a concerted night foray of guerrillas. Gen. Halleck
1 Nov. 2-15, 1861. See Vol. I., pages 593-4.
Gen. John Pope, commanding the district of Central Missouri, having collected and equipped an adequate force, at length demonstrated against the Rebels occupying Lexington, under Rains and Stein, compelling them to abandon the line of the Missouri, and retreat southward. Having, by forced marches and his strength in cavalry, gained a position between them and their base at Osceola, he forced them to a hurried flight, with the loss of nearly 300 prisoners and most of their baggage, including 70 wagons laden with clothing and supplies for Price, who lay at Osceola with 8,000 men. Meantime, a detachment of Pope's forces, under Col. Jeff. C. Davis, surprised' a Rebel camp at Milford, not far from Warrensburg, and compelled its surrender at discretion. Three colonels, 17 captains, over 1,000 prisoners, 1,000 stand of arms, 1,000 horses, and an abundance of tents, baggage, and supplies, were among the trophies of this easy triumph. Pope's losses in these operations scarcely exceeded 100 men; while his prisoners alone were said to be 2,500. Among them was Col. Magoffin, brother of the late Governor of Kentucky.
SIGEL'S RETREAT FROM BENTONVILLE.
Price, thus roughly handled before that general. Sending his train ahead under escort, he covered its retreat with his best battery and infantry, planting his guns on each favorable position, and pouring grape and shell into the pursuing masses, until their advance was arrested and disorganized, when he would limber up and fall back to the next elevation or turn in the road, where he would renew the dispensation of grape with like results, then concede another half-mile, and repeat the operation. Thus fighting and falling back, he wore out the day and the distance, repelling his foes, who at times enveloped his flanks as well as his rear, with a loss of less than 100 men, a good part of these from the 2d Missouri, Col. Schaefer, who, mistaking an order, had left Bentonville considerably in advance, and who fell into an ambuscade by the way. Before 4 P. M., Sigel was met by reenforcements sent him by Gen. Curtis, when the pursuit was arrested, and he deliberately encamped near Leetown, across Sugar creek, and in close proximity to General Curtis's center position. PEA RIDGE is the designation of the elevated table-land, broken by ravines, and filling a large bend of Sugar creek, on which the ensuing battle was fought.
he had been able to concentrate his forces, did not choose to risk a general engagement. He retreated rapidly through Springfield and Cassville, closely pursued, and fighting at intervals, until he had crossed the Arkansas line, forming a junction, soon afterward, near Boston Mountains, with Gen. Ben McCulloch, commanding a division of Texas and Arkansas Confederates, thus raising his entire force to a number fully equal with that which had so keenly pursued him, which was now commanded by Gen. Samuel R. Curtis, of Iowa, and which, after continuing the pursuit down to Fayetteville, Arkansas, had retraced its steps to and halted at Sugar creek, not far over the State line. Meantime, Price was joined" and backed by Earl Van Dorn, late a captain" of U. S. regulars, now Confederate major-general, commanding the Trans-Mississippi department, and by Gen. Albert Pike, of Arkansas, heading a considerable brigade of Indians, swelling the numbers of the Rebels to about 20,000.
Van Dorn promptly resolved to give battle, and to fight it in such manner that the defeat of the Unionists should involve their destruction. Advancing rapidly from his camp at Cross Hollows, covering Fayetteville, he struck at " the division of Gen. Franz Sigel, holding Bentonville, the extreme advance of the Union position, 8 or 10 miles southwest from Gen. Curtis's center, near Mottsville, on the direct road from Fayetteville to Springfield. This attempt to isolate, overwhelm, and crush Sigel was baffled by the coolness and skill of
10 March 3, 1862.
Gen. Curtis, knowing himself largely outnumbered by the motley host collected to overwhelm him, had chosen a very strong position on which to concentrate his retreating force, provided the Rebels would attack it in front, as he expected. The country being generally wooded, he had obstructed most of the lateral roads with fallen trees; while his artillery and infantry, well posted and 11 See page 18.
12 March 6.