Friday, June 15, 2012

150-YEARS-AGO -- Sibley's New Mexico Campaign

Brig. Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley
(Library of Congress)
The Richmond Daily  Dispatch
June 17, 1862
Sibley's campaign in New Mexico.
Richmond, June 13, 1862.
To the Editors of the Dispatch:
      It having been said in a city paper that "not one single Southern soldier has yet set his foot on the soil of a Northern State," allow me to point out wherein the writer is mistaken. Not only one Southern foot, but a whole army have pressed Northern soil. In the month of November inst, Gen. Henry H. Sibley, with a small army of Texas, left San Antonio to conquer the United States Territory of New Mexico.
      He had no newspapers to tell the people that his march was the most successful one of modern times--thirteen hundred miles over or comparative desert, often making fifty miles without water, his men living for fifteen days on beefs his defeating in two pitched battles three times his own number of the best troops in the United States army, (almost twice his number being old United States Regulars;) of his having marched three hundred miles into the enemy's country, planting the Confederate flag over the capital of the enemy's conquered territory.
          I saw that flag raised. It was made of a captured United States flag; it was raised upon a Federal flag-staff; a salute was fired by batteries of captured United States guns, and "Dixie" played by a captured United States band!
          Gen. Henry Sibley is on the Stonewall Jackson style. When he entered the Territory of New Mexico, although in the 35th parallel, and winter just coming in. He destroyed every tent in his army. His officers carry no trunks or mess chests.
          They sleep where night finds them; whip the enemy wherever he shows himself, and have never seen a shovel or pick since they opened the campaign.--Sibley graduated at West Point in 1836, distinguished himself in the Mexican War, for which he was twice brevetted, and at the time of the present revolution was one of the first to resign and come to the relief of his native South.
          He was Major of the Second Dragoons. He is a Creole, having been born in Louisiana, and if he has a chance, he will show the enemy west of the Mississippi, that there is a "Stonewall" on both sides of the river. His standing order to his officers is to "attack the enemy at all times, " always on the offensive and never on the defensive, although the enemy have invariably brought three and four times his number against him.
          When a Federal battery annoys Sibley, he has it taken in this way. He has silenced all the artillery the enemy had in that country.--His is the only army of invasion the Confederate States has yet sent out. If he was well reinforced, he would dip the Confederate flag into the Pacific at San Francisco before another year.
A Soldier.

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