The Battle of Glorietta Pass, New Mexico

Battle of Glorietta Pass, NM

Mar. 28, 1862

SYNOPSIS U. S. Troops under Col. John P. Slough.
Confederate troops under Major Charles Pyron

Learning from spies that about 1,200 Confederates were in the Apache canon and at Johnson's ranch beyond, Col. Slough moved out from his camp at Kozlowski's ranch to attack them. His command consisted of detachments of the 1st Col., 4th New Mexico, and 5th U. S. Infantry, 1st, 2nd and 3d U. S. Cavalry, and Ritter's and Claflin's batteries, 1,342 men in all. A little beyond the camp Maj. J. M. Chivington with about 430 men was sent up Apache canon to get to the enemy's rear. The cavalry of the main column acting as advance guard had scarcely reached Pigeon's ranch before it was attacked by the Confederates in force and driven back.

The batteries were then brought forward, the infantry was thrown out upon the flanks; the cavalry supported the batteries and the firing became general. Two attempts to take the Federal batteries were repulsed with heavy loss. About 5 p. m. after 5 hours' fighting a flag of truce came from the Confederates and measures were taken to gather up the dead of both forces.

In the meantime Chivington had gained the enemy's rear and fallen upon the train of 60 wagons, capturing and destroying it and a 6-pounder gun, and taking 17 prisoners. On learning of Chivington's success Slough re tired with his column to his camp, the Confederates failing to pursue. The Union loss was 29 killed and 42 wounded; the Confederates lost 33 killed and 35 wounded.
BATTLE DETAILS On the 26th of March, 1862, a force of about 400 Confederates under the command of Maj. Charles Pyron was scouting the western end of Glorieta Pass, called Apache Canyon. They came around a bend and ran into Slough's advanced party of about 415 men under the command of Maj. Chivington. Chivington attacked at once and drove the Confederates down the canyon in a wild running fight and captured dozens of Texans. Fearing the entire Confederate brigade was nearby he halted his men and withdrew to Kozlowski's Ranch near Pecos. Maj. Pyron fell back to "wood and water", two critical items in New Mexico during the early spring and sent for help. His courier found Lt. Col. William Scurry at Galisteo, just going into camp with two battalions of the brigade. Within minutes Scurry put his men on the road to Apache Canyon. An all night march through bitter cold brought them to Pyron's position about dawn. The Texans prepared for a Federal Assault and waited throughout the 27th.

At Kozlowski's, Slough and Chivington decided on their plan of attack. Slough would take about 2/3rd of th trooopps' including all the artillery, down the pass toward Santa Fe. Chivington would take his battalion of 113, guided by Lt. Col. J. Francisco Chaves of the New Mexico Volunteers over the shoulder of Glorieta Mesa and fall upon the Confederate flank. The plan was set in motion on the morning of the 28th.

Scurry had decided not to wait at Apache Canyon. He started almost all of his force, including Pyron's men, eastward through the pass. He left his supply wagons with a small guard at Johnson's Ranch at the junction of Glorieta pass and Apache Canyon. Around mid morning he hit Slough's lead elements near Pigeon's Ranch, located on the Santa Fe Trail. Scurry deployed his men in a long line and set his artillery up on a low hill. Slough did the same though his line was shorter than Scurry's, he having about 300 fewer men.

Scurry's battalions attacked with great vigor but were met with equal vigor by teh Coloradans. Slough's position was not strong, but the attack was stopped long enough to give his men time to fall back to a better one. Slough tried to send men to his right around Scurry's flank but a detachment of Texans met his men head on and stopped them. Scurry kept pressure on Slough's line while organizing his own force in a three pronged assault. Late in the afternoon the Confederates attacked Slough's entire front driving in the flanks and threatening the center. The outnumbered Federal infantry held the Texans at bay long enough for the artillery to pull back to a third line. Scurry's men pursued, but were exhausted from the six hour battle. Slough soon abandoned this line leaving the Confederates in undisputed possession of the field.

While all this was going on at Pigeon's Ranch Chivington had completely missed Scurry's flank falling instead on the Confederate suppply train parked at Apache Canyon. Lightly guarded the train was captured and destroyed leaving Scurry with no ammunition, food blankets, or other supplies. Chivington returned to Kozlowski's and Slough's reunited command continued in withdrawal toward Ft. Union. Unbable to sustain his men in the fieldScurry was forced to go back to Santa Fe where Sibley joined him.

Canby had left Ft. Craig early in April and had come north threatening Albuquerque and drawing Sibley's entire force back from Santa Fe. Canby and Slough united their forces east of the Sandia Mountains and now outnumbered the Texans. Sibley faced with superior numbers and even more destitute than before knew that to stay and fight would mean destruction of his brigade. He decided to retreat from New Mexico. The Confederacy never again seriously threatened the far west.
Jose Clemente ALARIA, musician, killed
Ramon ALARIA, Pvt., missing
Charles BENSINGER, Pvt., killed
JPablo CANDALARI, Pvt., killed
Ramon CHAVEZ, Pvt., missing
Ramon CANDALARIO, Pvt., killed
Espamino CHAVEZ, Pvt., missing
Mauricio CHAVES, Pvt., killed
Mauricio CHAVEZ, Pvt., missing
Rubio CRUZ, Pvt., wounded
Marcilina DURAN, Pvt., killed
Juan GARCIA, Pvt., killed
Nasario GARCIA, Pvt., killed
Basilio GONSALES, Pvt., killed
Rumaldo GRIEGO, Pvt., killed
Jose Maria GURRERA, Pvt., missing
Guadalupe LOPES, Pvt., killed
Diego LUCERO, Corp., killed
Jose de la Lus LUCERO, Pvt., killed
Jesus MARCUS, Pvt., wounded
Basillo MARTIN, Pvt., wounded
Juan CHAVEZ MEXICANNA, Pvt., killed
Antonio MONTOYA, Pvt., wounded
Victoriano MONTOYA, Pvt., wounded
Pedro PADILLO, Pvt., killed
Juan PAIS, Pvt., wounded
Jose PERALTO, Corp., missing
Salvador RIAL, Pvt., missing
Ramon RIVAL, Pvt., wounded
Gomesindo RIVERA, Pvt., killed
Benino SANCHES, Pvt., killed
Clemente SANCHES, Pvt., wounded
Jose SANCHES, Pvt., wounded
Ygnacio SANDOVAL, Pvt., missing
Jose de Jesus TAPIO, Pvt., killed
Manual TRUGILLO, Pvt., wounded
Felipe TURRIETE, Pvt., wounded
Pablo ZUNI, Pvt., killed