Pigeon’s Ranch earned its name from the way its French-American owner puffed his chest and flapped his arms when dancing the fandango at local hops. The ranch functioned as an inn ‘like an Asian caravansary’ catering to passing wagon trains. On 28 March 1862, the Union army (stuffed with volunteers, led by an attorney and chaplain, and fighting after a 400-mile [645-km] forced-march in 14 days) advanced past Pigeon’s Ranch straight into Confederate Colonel Scurry’s Texan advance guard, and were driven back, sheltering behind an adobe wall. Scurry then launched a three-pronged attack, with covering sniper fire from ‘Sharpshooter’s Ridge’. Shropshire and Raguet, leading the flanking charges, were both killed, but late in the day Scurry broke through the centre, forcing a Union retreat. However, the Union side won the aftermath when they stumbled on the enemy supply train, which they destroyed. Without provisions in harsh terrain, Confederate General Sibley was forced to abandon the offensive.
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