New Mexico’s Civil War Anniversary

A Confederate tombstone at Santa Fe’s national cemetery.

Today marks the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Glorieta. In Santa Fe’s history four flags have flown over the plaza: Spain 1610 – 1821, Mexico 1821 – 1846, and the U.S. since 1846. But believe it or not, the Confederate flag flew over Santa Fe for three weeks. In March of 1862 Santa Fe was under Confederate rule. As the war was making its way westward the 4th, 5th and 7th Texas regiments of the Confederate army traipsed through the capitol city. New Mexico wasn’t a slave state, so they didn’t join Texas. Instead, a Hispanic volunteer army from northern New Mexico and southern Colorado came to the aide of the Union soldiers.

March 28, 1862

A Confederate memorial for those who died at the Battle of Glorieta Pass at Santa Fe’s National cemetery.

Flowers left on this memorial at the Santa Fe national cemetery symbolize the Yellow Rose of Texas. The Confederate soldiers from Texas died at the Battle of Glorieta Pass on March 28, 1862. Commonly referred to as the “Gettysburg of the West,” the conflict occurred 22 miles southeast of Santa Fe. That battle was the turning point for the Civil War in New Mexico territory. More than 100 Confederate soldiers lost their lives during the two day battle. Victory for the Union army provided a new foothold in the on-going war.

Captain Rafael Chacon.

The 19th century New Mexican, Captain Rafael Chacon, fought at Glorieta. Although New Mexico only played a small part in the Civil War, the Santa Fe National Cemetery was created at that time to bury the Union soldiers who died during the historical battle. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe donated the land to the federal government in 1870.

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