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 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2005 01:05 am
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Margana
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Why was Sibley given a brigade to take to the gold fields of Colorado?  Did the Confederacy really think they could just walk in and take over the mining operations?



 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2005 04:04 pm
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David White
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I don't think Colorado was his goal, it was really Southern California where there were many southern sympathizers.  If Colorado became a goal later then he very nearly did that.  Glorietta Pass was a near thing if it hadn't been for Chivington's attack on the Confederate supply train, the Confederates would have been able to head north or west at their descretion, not bad for troops commanded by a raging alcoholic... Okay so Sibley was drunk in his wagon and the Confedrates were really commanded by Tom Green but he didn't lose his head in New Mexico, he lost it in Louisiana... get it, it's a joke, oh I slay me sometimes.



 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2005 11:35 pm
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connyankee
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Interesting observations, all.  I think Sibley thought he could roll up the Union forts along the river and secure the area for the Confederacy and he began to do so.  Unfortunately for him he ran into a bunch of pretty tough miners, mostly from Colorado, who were pretty used to a hard life anyway.  A lot of these people, already in the territories at the outbreak of the war, had to choose sides out there.

As far as being given a brigade goes, I don't think Sibley was given anything.  It is known that he went east to get "permission" from Jefferson Davis for his idea of rolling up the Union forts.  If he asked for men, equipment and supplies, there is little evidence to suggest that Davis had any of these to give.  No, Sibley recruited his own men and supplies.

Sure would like to visit La Glorietta Pass someday, if there's anything left of it by the time I get there.  It is a very endangered site as I understand.

Ever watch the movie "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," with Clint Eastwood?  The backdrop of the flick is loosely based (I mean really loose) on Sibley's retreat from the territory.  "Blondie, you son of a b...."

Not sure, but I think Sibley is buried in Fredericksburg, VA.

:)



 Posted: Wed Nov 9th, 2005 12:04 am
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Margana
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I had originally thought that the CSA had decided since they needed gold, they would just go and get it!  They never reckoned with the desert, carrying water and provisions, and...... Indians.  Since Glorietta is in NM, how far did Chivington and his men have to travel?  (Trying to picture the area, now.)  Ed Bearrs was to have gone there a few years ago for a private tour, but I'm not sure that he made it.  



 Posted: Wed Nov 9th, 2005 01:39 am
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connyankee
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One thing is for sure and that is that this story doesn't get as much attention as it deserves.  I thank the poster for making the point.

We know, for example,  that prior to the war Jefferson Davis favored a southern route for a trans-continental railroad when that issue was debated.  I just don't think the new Confederate government had the means to establish itself in the western territories.  It had more urgent problems to deal with.  We now think (I think) the move to push Confederate authority or influence all the way to the west coast was someone's pipe dream.  Nice idea, but they couldn't do it.  It's a wonderful study in ideology.  They didn't have the strength to do it.

Regards,

CY



 Posted: Wed Nov 9th, 2005 05:17 pm
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David White
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Ed has given tours at Glorietta.

Chivington and his men rode approximately 200 miles by horseback from the Denver mining camp towns to get to Glorietta.

Some good books on this, plugging my alma maters' press are:

Don Frazier's "Blood and Treasure" (he says Sibley was going to California, he also is a wonderful and humorous speaker if you get a chance to hear him)

and Don Albert's "The Battle of Glorietta" (he mentions my buddy's grandfather who was known locally as "Padre Polaco" (real name Alexander Grzelachowski).   A former Catholic priest from Poland he quit the preisthood to marry a Mexican girl raise a family and run a general store at Puerto De Luna, NM.  He led Chivington and his men over the mountain to the Confederate supply trians.  After the war he was a confidante of Billy the Kid).

If you are just intersted in the Colorado men and what they did read:

William Whitford's "Colorado Volunteers in the Civil War" it is more dated (1909) but still interesting.

Last edited on Wed Nov 9th, 2005 05:24 pm by David White



 Posted: Sun Nov 13th, 2005 08:09 pm
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Margana
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I believe the transcontinental railroad issue in the pre-Civil War era also contributed to the animosity between the sides.  I was never very enamored with Davis because of his consistent poor choice in generals.  (Maybe because I am a born and bred northern gal?  Don't know)  Sibley drank to excess... perhaps.  So did several others, though; perhaps so many they are too numerous to mention here.   Yet, at the start of the conflict, the preponderance of experienced military men were with the South.    Removal of poor generals (Hood, Early, Sibley, Mahone, etc.) and advancement of tried and true military men (such as Longstreet) might have turned the tide.... if only a bit.  Davis was the sole decision maker, though.  



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