The Battle of Glorieta Pass

Glorieta Pass marker, from
pictures of the western war

The Battle of Glorieta Pass took place in 1862 from March 26-28 and is called the "Gettysburg of the West" because it was an important Northern victory that stopped a Confederate invasion of the Southwest up the Rio Grande River. The invasion began with the Battle of Mesilla July 24, 1861, won by Confederates led by John Baylor. Baylor's troops were joined by Henry Silby with Texas troops. Silby and Baylor defeated the North at Valverde and went on to capture Albuquerque and Santa Fe for the South, until they were defeated at Glorieta. The First Colorado Regiment with John Chivington and John Slough marched 400 miles in 13 days from Colorado to fight against the South at Glorietta. Chivington crossed 16 miles over mountains to destroy Confederate horses, mules and wagons and supplies at Johnson Ranch. The Confederates retreated out of New Mexico back into Texas. The battlefield is part of Pecos National Historical Park, two miles south of Pecos, NM, on State Route 63.

The soldiers who fought at Glorieta included Hispanics in the Union army, such as Manuel Chavez, a member of the New Mexico Volunteers, who helped lead a group of 450 men over Glorieta Mesa to harass the Confederate right flank; they destroyed an important supply wagon in Apache Canyon, helping the Union in the long run. The New Mexico Volunteers gained an unfair reputation as cowards after the Battle of Valverde (Feb. 20-21, 1862, in Socorro County), when many volunteers fled because they didn't feel comfortable fighting in the conventional manner of the day. Also, Rafael Chacon was captain of a group of Hispanic volunteers who fought for the North against the Confederacy at the battles of Valverde and Glorieta.

Glorieta Pass, from Pecos NHP
New Mexico 1858, from LC - cu - bg



revised 4/1/06 by Steven Schoenherr | Civil War