War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0551 Chapter XXI. SKIRMISH AT PERALTA, N. MEX.

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had left Albuquerque, moving down the river, and during the day and night of the 14th the united command was marched to Peralta, 36 miles distant, arriving there before the Confederate had any suspicion of the movement. On the morning of the 15th a mountain howitzer, and a train of 7 wagons, loaded with supplies and escorted by a lieutenant and 30 men, were captured. In the conflict 6 of the Confederates were killed, 3 wounded, and 22 captured. To cover this movement Colonel Paul, with his column and three companies of cavalry, under Captain Morris, Third Cavalry, had been detached, and, after completing it, received permission to clear the bosque in front of Peralta of the enemy's force that the occupied it. After some sharp skirmishing, in which our loss was 1 killed and 3 wounded, this work was handsomely executed, and the bosque in front and rear of the town occupied by our troops.

The point occupied by the Confederate troops was known to be the strongest (except Fort Union) in New Mexico, and as nearly all the men had been twenty-four and many of them thirty-six hours without food, no general attack was designed until after the approaches to the troops allowed time to obtain food and rest. This reconnaissance was made on the afternoon of the same day, the points and direction of attack selected, and the camp of the command advanced to a point nearer the town, and where the trains could be guarded by a smaller number of men. During the night the enemy abandoned his position and crossed to the right bank of the river, leaving his sick and wounded behind him, without attendance, without medicines, and almost without food.

After detaching the staff officers attached to department headquarters to make arrangements for future operations and the train that could be spared for supplies the pursuit was continued down the left bank of the river (the shortest route), with the intention of crossing at La Joya, Polvadera, Sabino, or Fort Craig, if the enemy should not be overtaken sooner. On the night of that day our camp was 5 miles in his rear. On the 16th we had overtaken the rear of his column, and the march was continued during the remainder of the day in sight and almost within cannon range, but on opposite sides of the river. At night our camps were directly opposite, but during the night he abandoned a large portion of his train, 38 wagons and the supplies that they contained, and fled into the mountains. After making arrangements for securing the property abandoned by the enemy the march was continued to Polvadera. At this place the command was halted for a day, in order to assure myself of the position and movements of the enemy and to secure the safety of a supply train in our rear.

These objects having been accomplished, the march was resumed and continued until we reached this post on the afternoon of the 22nd (yesterday).

The Confederate force is still in the mountains west of us. If they have taken the route by the Miembres it will be impossible to overtake them. If they have taken that by Canada Alamosa I am not without hopes of intercepting them, although my scouts report that they have abandoned everything that would encumber them in their flight.

Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,


Colonel Nineteenth Infantry, Commanding Department.