Weatherford Democrat


June 12, 2009

NM civil war battlefield gets exposure

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The plan was to march up the Rio Grande and capture the city of Santa Fe and seize the thousands of rifles, dozens of cannons and other supplies at Fort Union for a campaign that would expand the Confederacy's borders all the way to California Coast.

But Union soldiers stood their ground at a pinch along the Santa Fe Trail known as Glorieta Pass, resulting in a battle that historians often refer to as "the Gettysburg of the West."

Public access to the Civil War battlefield has been limited, but the National Park Service is celebrating the opening of a new trail this weekend that will allow visitors to explore the area.

The Glorieta Battlefield Trail — more than 2 miles through the wooded and rocky hills southeast of Santa Fe — has been in the planning stages for several years. It's aimed at educating people about the decisive 1862 battle.

"In many ways the Civil War was a defining moment for this country but very few people know much about this campaign," said Jim Houghton, a Civil War buff and president of the Glorieta Battlefield Coalition. "Had it been successful, the outcome of the war could have been significantly changed."

Unlike states in the East, New Mexico isn't known for its Civil War battlefields, of which there are less than a handful. Still, preservation of such sites is a priority for the Park Service, said Christine Beekman, chief of interpretation and visitor services at Pecos National Historical Park, which oversees the Glorieta Battlefield.

The park acquired much of the land necessary for preserving the battlefield in 1990 but it wasn't until it acquired a key piece of property at Pigeon's Ranch — which was used during the battle as a hospital for both Union and Confederate troops — that planning for the trail began in earnest.

Text Only
Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball