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.
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"
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.
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
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 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.
|(1) Gilbert, Thomas D. "Confederate Arizona."
May 5, 2002.
(2) Perkins, Robert. Confederate Arizona and Arizona Confederates. Updated April 7 2002.
(3) Perkins, Robert. Confederate Arizona and Arizona Confederates. Updated April 7 2002.