Confederate Occupation

The Arizona Territory had no real value to the Confederacy. California was much more important, and therefore Arizona was essential because it connected Texas with California.

In the Arizona Territory, the public sentiment was sympathetic to the Confederate cause. In 1861, a convention was held in Tucson, which formally declared that the territory was part of the Confederacy. In August, Granville H. Oury was elected to the position of delegate to the Confederate Congress. The Territory asserted that all of its misfortunes were due to the neglect of the U.S. Government. The neglect did exist, but it was due to the fact that the territory had Confederate supporters. Most of the military officers in Arizona were Southerners and joined the Confederate Army after secession (1). The enlisted troops, however, supported the Union.

Colonel John R. Baylor

Lieutenant Colonel John R. Baylor, along with the Second Regiment of Texas Mounted Rifles, took the Arizona Territory for the Confederacy in July of 1861. Baylor took only 250 men with him into Arizona, and left the rest of his unit in Texas to defend Fort Bliss. Baylor's first target was Fort Fillmore in Mesilla. The fort was under the command of Major Isaac Lynde, who when learning of the Confederate movement, confronted them and demanded surrender. Baylor refused and the battle ensued. Three Union soldiers were killed before Major Lynde ordered the retreat back to Fort Fillmore. Lynde abandoned the fort the next day and marched his men to Fort Stanton. Baylor, upon learning of this, ordered his troops to cut off the fleeing Union army. Baylor succeeded in his effort, and on July 27, Lynde surrendered. On August 1, he issued "The Proclamation to the People of the Territory of Arizona"

"The social and political condition of Arizona being little short of general anarchy, and the people being literally destitute of law, order, and protection, the said Territory, from the date hereof, is hereby declared temporarily organized as a military government until such time as Congress may otherwise provide.

I, John R. Baylor, lieutenant-colonel, commanding the Confederate Army in the Territory of Arizona, hereby take possession of said Territory in the name and behalf of the Confederate States of America.

For all purposes herein specified, and until otherwise decreed or provided, the Territory of Arizona shall comprise all that portion of New Mexico lying south of the thirty-fourth parallel of north latitude. (2)"

All of New Mexico south of 34 degrees became part of the Arizona Territory. He made Mesilla the capital, organized a military government, and appointed himself governor. He ordered Fort Buchanan and Fort Breckinridge evacuated and the Soldiers sent east to the Rio Grande. The Forts were also destroyed. This action allowed the Apache Indians to take possession of the area. They were brutal to all the inhabitants, killing all who could not escape or find refuge in Tucson.

On August 28, 1861, a Convention of the People of Arizona was held. The convention ratified Baylor's proclamation and elected a delegate to the Confederate Congress: Granville Oury. Oury was instrumental in drafting legislation to admit Arizona as a territory to the Confederacy. John H. Reagan introduced a bill to the Confederate Congress that would officialy make Arizona a territory of the Confederate States of America. "The Act to Organize the Territory of Arizona" was passed on January 13, 1862 and the Confederate Territory of Arizona became a reality on February 14, 1862 when Jefferson Davis issued this proclamation:

"I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, do issue this, my proclamation, declaring said "Act to organize the Territory of Arizona" to be in full force and operation, and that I have proceeded to appoint the officers therein provided to be appointed in and for said Territory. (3)"

Captain Sherod Hunter

In early 1862 Captain Sherod Hunter took 200-300 Texans from Mesilla and took possession of Tucson by February for the Confederacy. Hunter's objective was to keep track of Union forces massing at the California border and to deal with the situation of the Apache Indians that were terrorizing the area. Hunter arrived in Tucson on February 28, 1862. Hunter controlled the western part of the Arizona Territory until May of that year and won battles at Stanwix Station and Picacho peak against a formidable Union opponent.

Continued in California Column

John Robert Baylor

John Robert Baylor created the Confederate Territory of Arizona on August 1, 1861 and served as its governor the entire time it existed. Baylor was born in Paris, Bourbon City, Kentucky on July 27, 1822. His father was a surgeon for the U.S Army, but in 1833 left the military and moved to Second Creek, Mississippi with his family in tow. John and his brother Henry were sent to Woodward College a short time after the move. They spent two years there, during which their father died. The boys returned home to their mother, who subsequently packed up and moved them to Little Rock Arkansas. In 1840 John moved to Texas to live on his uncle's farm, where he developed a hatred of Indians, Something that would later affect his future political career. John served with Captain Nicholas Mosby Dawson's Company of Texas Cavalry during the invasion of Texas in 1842. After which he returned to live with his mother who had moved to the Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma). John was arrested in 1844 on charges of murder, which he had no involvement in. He escaped and fled back to Texas. Baylor met the love of his life Emily Hanna, and married her on March 27, 1845. In 1853, Baylor was elected to the Fifth Texas Legislature to represent Fayette County. On May 23, 1859 he raised a vigilante group of approximately 300 men to attach a group of Comanche Indians. On December 8, 1860 both John and his brother George signed up to be delegates at the convention to determine secession of Texas from the Union. Shortly after the official secession of Texas, Baylor organized the Regiment of Mounted Rifles to confront Unites States military if they resisted secession. Baylor recruited a second regiment and sent them to occupy far west Texas, and later moved on into Arizona. On July 23, 1861 Baylor set out for Arizona, which had seceded from the Union and requested annexation by the Confederacy. Baylor's force confronted Union troops at Fort Fillmore, but easily drove them away. After taking control of the Arizona Region, Baylor proclaimed it the Confederate Territory of Arizona and appointed himself governor. Baylor appointed officials to run the government, who took up their positions quickly. On August 28, 1861 a convention in Tucson ratified Baylor's actions. Baylor's first problem as governor was the realization that he only had 450 men to hold the territory against invading forces or internal opponents (Union supporters, Indians). Baylor added the Arizona militias to the Confederate force but that included roughly 200 men. Without the help of reinforcements from the Confederate government, Baylor had to make due with what he had. He sent troops throughout the territory to deal with Yankee aggression. The largest of the conflicts occurred at Mesilla. Baylor also dealt with the Indians of the territory, which lead to his downfall. Baylor was eventually thrown out of Arizona, and though he tried to convince the Confederacy to retake the area, he was unsuccessful. He died on February 8, 1894 and is buried at Montell, Texas.

Sherod Hunter

Sherod Hunter was born around 1824, it is unknown exactly when, and was probably born around Robertson County, Tennessee. On October 10, 1841 Hunter applied for a marriage license to a woman named Lydia Hunter (probably a cousin) but it is unknown if they ever actually got married. Shortly before 1857 Hunter moved to Mesilla, New Mexico and a few years later he settled on the Mimbres River, about 25 miles outside Deming, New Mexico. He began a career as a farmer in the area. Hunter became a soldier for the Confederate Army when Governor Baylor of the newly created Arizona Territory requested soldiers. He enlisted as a private in Captain George Frazer's Company of Arizona Rangers. By August 1, 1861 he had been promoted to First Lieutenant. Baylor later commissioned Lt. Hunter to the Regiment of Arizona Rangers, where he was again promoted to captain and placed in charge of recruitment. ON February 10,1862 Hunter and his men were ordered to go to Tucson to establish a military post for observation of Union forces that were coming from California. Hunter's job in Tucson was also to deal with the Indian situation that had erupted in the area. Captain Hunter's "Arizona Campaign," as it was called, lasted until May 14, 1862. Hunter used a hit and run attack plan to free the Arizona Territory from the Union forces that occupied it and was able to take control of the area all the way to the Colorado River. Hunter's track record was excellent. He was able to delay the invasion by the California Column for over a month and also won the two most western conflicts with Union forces, Stanwix Station (March 30, 1862) and Picacho Pass (April 15, 1862). On May 14, 1862, Hunter's small army was finally forced to evacuate Tucson, and again evacuate Mesilla when the Confederate forces chose to pull out of there. After arriving in San Antonio in late July of 1862, Hunter resigned his position of Captain of the Arizona Rangers. Hunter was later promoted to the position of Major in Baylor's Regiment of Texas-Arizona Cavalry on October 3, 1862. He played a prominent role in the battles against Union forces under General Nathaniel P. Banks in the Louisiana area in 1863 and 1864. His most famous accomplishment was the capture of Brashear City, LA. After his successes in Louisiana, Hunter became the centerpiece to a plan to retrieve the Arizona Territory for the Confederacy. On January 25, 1865 Sherod Hunter was detached from his regiment to return to Arizona to raise a force that might serve the Confederacy in New Mexico and Arizona. Not much is known about Hunter's time in Arizona. It seems that he took the title of Colonel. He was able to establish a post at Eagle Pass and raised a regiment of 300 men. It is likely that went to Mexico to recruit, because many Confederate supporters fled there from California and the New Mexico and Arizona Territories by the Union. Little is known of Sherod Hunter after the war ended, except that he was known to have made stops in Mexico and Tennessee until settling down in Arkansas where he died.