Sunday, October 10, 2010
Yes--there was a Civil War in the West Too.
In New Mexico Sibley's Brigade, an army of Texas Confederates attempted to invade New Mexico, moving up the Rio Grande. After advancing through much of the state, they were defeated by a Union force at Glorietta Pass called the "the Gettysburg of the West." Sibley had overextended his supply lines and overestimated the ability of his troops to live off the land, as well as the underestimated the fighting ability of the Union forces there. Battles fought in New Mexico, culminating at Glorietta Pass, were important in preserving the Union because they ended the attempt by the Confederacy to capture the West-- New Mexico, California, Nevada, its people, and its vast resources.
While many Californians were divided on the issue of secession during the war, forts built in California and manned by California Union soldiers were used to keep the Confederate Army out of California as well as keep California firmly in the Union.