52nd legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2015


Linda M. Lopez









     WHEREAS, there were more than eight thousand New Mexicans, six thousand three hundred of whom were Spanish-speaking New Mexico Hispanos, who fought in the American Civil War in New Mexico in February and March of 1862; and

     WHEREAS, the two major battles were the battle at Valverde in the southern part of New Mexico and the battle at Glorieta Pass just north of Santa Fe; and

     WHEREAS, the confederates' move to the west during the Civil War was prompted by the fact that the confederacy was losing the Civil War to the union; and

     WHEREAS, the confederates were in urgent need of soldiers and resources and therefore devised a plan to head west to capture New Mexico and Colorado for the gold and silver mines and continue west to control the ports in southern California and the finances, soldiers and resources that would come with these holdings; and

     WHEREAS, the first major battle fought in the west was the battle at Valverde, north of Fort Craig and one hundred miles south of Albuquerque, on February 21, 1862, where the confederates defeated the union army in a brutal and bloody battle; and

     WHEREAS, after suffering defeat, the union soldiers made their way back to Fort Union to regroup and prepare for the next battle; and

     WHEREAS, the confederates easily captured Albuquerque and Santa Fe in their move northward with plans to finish off the union soldiers at Fort Union; and

     WHEREAS, the battle at Glorieta Pass took place from March 26 to March 28, 1862; and

     WHEREAS, the eight hundred regular and volunteer union soldiers at Fort Union were joined by nine hundred fifty Colorado volunteer infantrymen; and

     WHEREAS, the New Mexico volunteers were led by Lieutenant Colonel Manuel Chavez, Rafael Chacon, Corporal Albino Garcia and scouts like Anastasio Duran, Innocencio Arellanes and many others from Las Vegas and Chaperito, New Mexico; and

     WHEREAS, the New Mexico volunteers provided the intelligence of this battle as they knew the terrain, territory and mountains of the Pecos wilderness and Glorieta Pass; and

     WHEREAS, casualty figures vary, but it is estimated that the union soldiers suffered thirty-eight killed and sixty-four wounded, fifteen captured and three missing, and the confederates suffered thirty-six killed, sixty wounded and twenty-five captured during the three-day battle; and

     WHEREAS, the New Mexico volunteers' Lieutenant Colonel Chavez and scouts, including Anastasio Duran and others, had detected the long train of eighty supply wagons filled with clothing, supplies, food and ammunition sitting virtually undefended at Johnson's ranch at the west entrance to Glorieta Pass near present-day Canoncito while the battle raged on; and

     WHEREAS, the New Mexico Hispano volunteers led the effort to set the train of eighty wagons on fire and chased away more than five hundred horses and mules; and

     WHEREAS, the confederates were left without ammunition, supplies, horses, mules or food and had no choice but to accept defeat and retreat back to Santa Fe; and

     WHEREAS, eventually, the confederates were forced to gather what little remained and prepare for the long retreat back to San Antonio, Texas, as they were followed and closely monitored by the New Mexico Hispano soldiers; and

     WHEREAS, this was classified as a major victory for the union army led by the Spanish-speaking soldiers and volunteers of New Mexico whose knowledge of the terrain and territory proved to be the strategic key to this victory; and

     WHEREAS, the victory at Glorieta Pass secured the west for the union, and was the last battle in the west during the Civil War; and

     WHEREAS, the Civil War sites advisory commission was established in 1990 to identify the nation's historically significant Civil War sites, determine their relative importance, determine their condition, assess threats to their integrity and recommend alternatives for preserving and interpreting them; and

     WHEREAS, the "Report on the Nation's Civil War Battlefields" issued in 1993 presented the commission's findings; and

     WHEREAS, the commission categorized each battlefield as class A, B, C and D according to its historical significance and designated the priority of preservation of each battlefield as I, II, III and IV based on historical significance, the integrity of the remaining battlefield features and the level of threat to the battlefield's existence; and

     WHEREAS, of the roughly ten thousand five hundred military actions of the Civil War, three hundred eighty-four, or three and seven hundredths percent, were identified by the commission as principal battles and rated according to their significance and risk of loss; and

     WHEREAS, class A and B battlefields represent the principal strategic operations of the war, class A battlefields having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war and class B battlefields having a direct and decisive influence on the campaign; and

     WHEREAS, the Glorieta Pass battlefield was designated as a priority I.1, meaning it is a class A battlefield with fair integrity, moderate threats and less than twenty percent of its core area protected; and

     WHEREAS, with this rating, the commission placed Glorieta Pass on the same level with battles such as Gettysburg and Antietam; and

     WHEREAS, the commission recommended that congress focus its preservation efforts on priority I nationally significant battlefields; and

     WHEREAS, since 1993, portions of the Glorieta Pass battlefield have become a unit of the national park service; and

     WHEREAS, the Glorieta Pass unit Pigeon's ranch comprises roughly twenty percent of the total battlefield, and the remaining eighty percent is in private ownership; and

     WHEREAS, the Glorieta Pass battlefield is managed by Pecos national historic park and is supported by the Glorieta battlefield coalition, a nonprofit citizens' organization; and

     WHEREAS, the Glorieta Pass battlefield also is designated as a national historic landmark, which means it is a site possessing exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States; and

     WHEREAS, fewer than two thousand five hundred historic places in the nation bear this distinction;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that a task force be convened, composed of representatives from the cultural affairs department, the county of Santa Fe, the Hispano Round Table of New Mexico, the New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens and the historical society of New Mexico, to plan the development of an American Civil War memorial to be placed at the Glorieta Pass battle site; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force report its findings and make recommendations to the appropriate interim committee at the committee's November 2015 meeting; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this memorial be transmitted to the co-chairs of the New Mexico legislative council and to the cultural affairs department, the county of Santa Fe, the Hispano Round Table of New Mexico, the New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens and the historical society of New Mexico.

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