New Mexico Campaign July 1861 – 1862

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Map Code: Ax01519

The fatal flaw in the Confederates’ New Mexico campaign plan was logistics. The strategic conception was compelling; supported by a sympathetic population, hoover up the isolated Union forts, then seize the gold and silver of Colorado, Nevada, California. The final prize was the long unblockaded Pacific seaboard for backdoor supply of the Confederate war effort. But Confederate commander Henry Sibley travelled light, hoping to reprovision by the capture of Union forts and towns. The preliminary foray of John Baylor in July 1861 captured Fort Fillmore, but not before its supplies had been destroyed. When Sibley’s main force arrived the following spring, he bypassed Fort Craig, hoping to ransack Albuquerque and Santa Fé. By the time he got to them, they were cleaned out. The Confederates won the decisive battle at Glorieta Pass, but lost their supply train. Sibley had to abandon his grand design and retreat before his army died of thirst and hunger.

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