War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0489 Chapter XXI. ENGAGEMENT AT VALVERDE, N. MEX.

Search Civil War Official Records

was exceedingly difficult for the operations of cavalry or artillery. For the purpose of attacking him while on the march the main body of our force had already been thrown across the river and advanced into the neighborhood of the ravine up which he was moving. Preparations for the attack were made, and skirmishers thrown forward for the purpose of drawing the fire of his batteries and developing his position. This was accomplished, but one of the volunteer regiments (Pino's) was thrown into such utter confusion by a few harmless cannon-shots that it was impossible to restore them to any kind of order. This and the near approach of night rendered it inexpedient to continue the attack. To mask our intentions and keep the enemy in his position as long as possible a demonstration upon his right flank was made by Colonel Roberts with all the cavalry force, under cover of which the troops were withdrawn, the infantry posted so as to prevent his effecting a lodgment during the night on the point opposite the post, and the artillery and cavalry crossed the river to the fort.

These movements had the intended effect, and on the morning of the 21st the enemy was found in the position he had occupied on the previous evening. During the night many of his animals stampeded from the want of water and between 200 and 300 horses and mules were captured and brought into the fort.

At 8 o'clock his advance was seen moving in the direction of the upper ford, and Colonel Roberts was detachment with the regular and volunteer cavalry to occupy and hold the ford. He was followed

immediately by two sections of McRae's battery and Hall's 24-pounder howitzers (two), supported by Brotherton's company of the Fifth, Ingraham's of the Seventh, and two (Mortimore's and Hubbell's) selected companies of volunteers. Graydon's Spy Company and 500 mounted militia, under Colonels Pino and Stapleton, had already been sent to the eastern side of the river to watch the movements of the enemy, threaten his flanks and rear, and impede his movements as much as possible.

As his movement in the direction of the upper ford became more determined, Selden's battalion, eight companies of regular infantry, and one of Colorado Volunteers, were recalled from the opposite side of the river sent forward to re-enforce Colonel Roberts. Carson's regiment (eight companies of New Mexican Volunteers) followed immediately afterwards. Soon after noon the object of the enemy was fully developed, and his whole force, with the exception of about 500 men, was moving in the direction of the upper ford. Leaving two companies of volunteers, a regiment of militia under Colonel Armijo, and some detachments from the regular troops to garrison the post, I ordered Pino's regiment from its position on the opposite bank, and moved with Company G, First Calvary, and the remaining section of McRae's battery, to the upper crossing. On reaching the field I learned that the advance of the enemy had gained the crossing before our own advance, and endeavored to effect a lodgment that would command the ford. Major Duncan, Third Cavalry, in command of the immediate advance, promptly crossed the river, dismounted his men, and in a sharp and spirited skirmish drove the enemy from the position he had seized, enabling Colonel Roberts to establish his batteries in positions to drive the enemy from the heavy bosques in rear of the ford.

After a contest of two hours with artillery and small-arms, during which the Confederate forces fought with great determination and made several desperate efforts to obtain command of the crossing, this was accomplished, and they were driven form all the points near the ford. At 12 o'clock Selden's command reached the field, and under