War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0507 Chapter XXI. ENGAGEMENT OF VALVERDE, N. MEX.

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the special reports of the various commanders, herewith inclosed, enter sufficiently into detail to elucidate the various actions in which the troops were engaged during the campaign.

It is due to the brave soldiers I have had the honor to command to premise that from its first inception the "Sibley brigade" has encountered difficulties in its organization and opposition and distaste to the service required at its hands which no other troops have met with.

From misunderstandings, accidents, deficiency of arms, &c., instead of reaching the field of its operations early in September, as was anticipated, I found myself at this point as late as the middle of January, 1862, with only two regiment and a half, poorly armed, thinly clad, and almost destitute of blankets. The ranks were becoming daily thinned by those two terrible scourges to an army small-pox and pneumonia. Not a dollar of quartermaster's funds was on hand or ever had been to supply the daily and pressing necessities of the service, and the small means of this sparse section had been long consumed by the force under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Baylor, so that the credit of the Government was not as available a resource as it might otherwise have been.

Having established a general hospital at Dona Ana, I determined to move forward with the force at hand. Accordingly, during the first week in January [February?], the advance was put in march for old Fort Thorn; thence on the 7th of February the movement was continued to a point 7 miles below Fort Craig, where the Santa Fe papers boasted we were to be met and overwhelmed by Canby's entire army.

On February 16 a reconnaissance in force was pushed to within a mile of the fort and battle offered on the open plain. The challenge was disregarded, and only noticed by the sending out of a few well-mounted men to watch our movements. The forces of the enemy were kept well concealed in the bosque (or grove) above the fort and within its walls.

The reconnaissance proved the futility of assaulting the fort in front with our light metal, and that our only hope of success was to force the enemy to an open-field fight. It was accordingly determined by a partial retrograde movement to cross the Rio Grade to the east bank, turn the fort, and force for the recrossing. to do this involved, first, the hazardous necessity of crossing a treacherous stream in full view of the fort; second, to make a "dry camp" immediately opposite and remote from the fort, only a mile and a half, and the next day to fight our first battle. The enemy seemed to have been so confounded by the boldness and eccentricity of these movements that the first was accomplished without molestation, save a demonstration on the afternoon of the 20th, as we were forming our camp by the crossing, of some 2,500 infantry and cavalry, with the purpose apparently of making an assault upon our lines. Here the spirit and courage of our men were evidenced by the alacrity shown in getting into line to confront the enemy. A few rounds from our well-directed guns, under the management of Captain Teel, Lieutenants Riley and Woods, checked his advance and drove him to the cover of his sand-revetted mud walls.

It is proper to state here that these operations, approved by me, were conducted by Colonel Thomas Green, of the Fifth Regiment, the state of my health confined me to the ambulance for several days previous.

On the morning of the 21st, considering that the impending battle must decide the question at issue, though still very weak, I took the saddle at early dawn to direct in person the movement. Green's regi-