Location of the battlefield from the Battle of Valverde. The Battle of Valverde was a skirmish between the Department of New Mexico (Union Forces) and the Army of New Mexico (Confederate forces). The battle took place on February 20-21 of 1862. The Union forces were led by Colonel Edward Canby while the Confederate forces were led by Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley and Colonel Thomas Green. The battle resulted in the Union forces losing 202 men while the Confederate forces lost 187 men. The battle ended in a Confederate Victory.
In an attempt to stop federal
communications between Fort Craig and military headquarters in Santa Fe,
Confederate Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley led 2,500 men across the Rio
Grande and followed the east side of the river to the forde at Valverde, just north
of the fort. To try and stop this
attempt at crossing the river, Union Colonel Edward Canby left Fort Craig with
3000 men and set forth towards the river.
Once the Canby's forces were across the river from Sibley's, they opened
fire and Canby sent the Calvary across the river after the Confederate forces.1
This resulted in Sibley pulling
back the Confederate forces and retreated to the Old Rio Grande riverbed. This put Sibley's men in excellent
position. Canby then proceeded to cross
the river and began to plan his assault.
Canby came to the conclusion that frontal attack would result in failure
and decided to attack the Confederates left flank. However, before the Union could even begin
their attack, the Confederate forces launched an attack.1
Sibley started with a charge from
his cavalry, but this effort was pushed back by the Union forces. Once that attempt failed, the Confederates
launched a frontal attack on the Union and were able to capture six artillery
pieces. This resulted in Canby's line to
have to breakup and many of his men ran.
Canby had no choice but to order his men to retreat. Later on, Confederate reinforcements would
arrive and just about when Sibley was going to order another attack, Canby
raised the white flag and requested a truce so that they could remove the
bodies from the battlefield. This
resulted a victory for the Confederates, but also resulted in a large loss of
The battlefield is located near San
Antonio New Mexico and is just north of the Bosque del Apache Wildlife
Refuge. Its located in area that’s mostly
desert. One can also see a memorial to
the lives lost in the battle at the site.3