The Battle of Valverde was fought #OTD in 1862. It was the first major engagement of the confederate New Mexico Campaign, launched the prior month under the command of Henry Hopkins Sibley, intended to drive all Union forces from the state for the rest of the #CivilWar. ImageImage
Six weeks after crossing into the state, Sibley’s army of 2,500 men approached Fort Craig along the banks of the Rio Grande River. It was the headquarters of a Union force of nearly 4,000 troops under Colonel Edward Canby, an experienced soldier and @WestPoint_USMA graduate. Image
Only 1200 of Canby’s men were well-trained. The rest were militia and volunteers, including the 1st New Mexico Regiment under Colonel Kit Carson. Ft. Craig was a formidable position, though, and Sibley elected not to attack it directly. ImageImageImage
Instead, Sibley moved his force six miles upriver to the ford near Valverde, intent on cutting the supply and communication line between the fort and Santa Fe. Scouts advised Canby of the move, and he elected to send a force under Colonel Benjamin Roberts to oppose it. ImageImage
Once it became clear this was the entire confederate force, Canby led the rest of the Ft. Craig garrison to reinforce Roberts. Initially, Canby’s men had the upper hand, including repelling the first and only lancer charge of the war, made by a company of Texas mounted infantry. ImageImage
Desperate for water from the river, Sibley ordered an assault on the Union center that caused a panicked retreat by Canby’s inexperienced militia. They retreated across the River back to the fort, leaving Sibley’s path to Santa Fe open. ImageImage

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More from @CivilWarOTD

23 Feb
Gen. Rufus Saxton died #OTD in 1908 at the age of 83. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his defense of @HarpersFerryNPS in 1862, and later raised the first black regiment in the Union Army, the 1st South Carolina Colored Volunteers. He is buried in @ArlingtonNatl Cemetery. ImageImageImage
In August 1862, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton authorized Saxton, the military governor of the Department of the South, to recruit up to 5000 troops to form the first federally approved black infantry regiments. @BlackPastOnline #CivilWar ImageImage
Saxton in turn named his friend Col. Thomas W. Higginson as commander of the newly raised regiment, which proved very effective at conducting coastal raids. Harriet Tubman briefly served with the unit in South Carolina, first as a cook and nurse, then as a spy, and scout. ImageImageImageImage
Read 6 tweets
23 Feb
Robert Smalls died #OTD in 1915 at the age of 75. Born into slavery in Beaufort, SC, during the #CivilWar Smalls commandeered the confederate transport Planter in May 1862, sailing it from Charleston Harbor and turning it over to the Union, freeing himself and the crew. ImageImageImage
Smalls was eventually made Captain of the Planter, which was converted to service in the @USNavy, making him the first African-American to command as US naval vessel. After the war, he founded the South Carolina Republican Party and was elected to the US House of Representatives. ImageImageImageImage
Read 7 tweets
23 Feb
President-Elect Abraham Lincoln (@ALPLM) arrived secretly in Washington, DC #OTD in 1861. He checked into the famed @WillardHotel in preparation of his upcoming inauguration the following week. ImageImageImage
Lincoln’s original train had been scheduled to travel through Baltimore, but railroad detective Allan Pinkerton uncovered a possible plot to assassinate Lincoln at the station there, and convinced him to switch to an earlier train that passed through Baltimore at night. ImageImageImage
Though he arrived safely, Lincoln was mocked ruthlessly in the press, which questioned his masculinity and implied that he was too cowardly to face the potentially hostile crowd. ImageImageImage
Read 7 tweets
22 Feb
The city of Wilmington, NC was abandoned by confederate forces under Braxton Bragg #OTD in 1865. It was occupied by @USArmy forces under General John Schofield hours later, closing the last port on the eastern seaboard used by the confederacy during the #CivilWar. ImageImageImageImage
Read 4 tweets
22 Feb
Colonel Augustus Wade Dwight was born #OTD in 1827 in Halifax, VT. After a privileged life attending @Yale, mining for gold, circumnavigating the globe, and practicing as a lawyer, Dwight joined the @USArmy at the outbreak of the #CivilWar. Image
Dwight was commissioned as a Captain in the 122nd New York Infantry. He would serve with the regiment for the remainder of the war, mostly as Lt. Colonel, in every major engagement of the Army of the Potomac, including @GettysburgNMP and @USGrantNPS’s Overland Campaign. ImageImageImageImage
Just two weeks before the war ended, while serving as acting Colonel and regimental commander, Dwight was killed by an artillery shell while leading his men in a counterattack near @PetersburgNPS following the failed confederate attack on Fort Stedman. ImageImageImage
Read 5 tweets
22 Feb
The Battle of Okolona, MS was fought #OTD in 1864. Union cavalry under General William Sooy Smith, delayed in riding to support General William T. Sherman’s occupation of Meridian, encountered confederate cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest. #CivilWar ImageImageImageImage
Despite being outnumbered almost 3-to-1, Forrest’s troopers routed Smith’s force in a running day-long battle. He stopped only when his men ran low on ammunition, while Smith’s force retreated all the way into southern Tennessee. ImageImage
During the fight, German-born Private Charles Bieger of the 4th Missouri Cavalry rode forward under fire to save the life of his captain, whose horse had been shot from under him. Bieger was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. ImageImage
Read 8 tweets

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