1862 February 21st

February 21 1862 Friday

Battle of Valverde, NMT (CWSAC Major Battle – Confederate Victory)

Formation of Permanent Confederate Government

Burnside’s Expedition to North Carolina

Sibley’s Operations in New Mexico

CSA. The permanent Confederate States’ government was announced, ending the Provisional status of the preceding government and confirming its officers in post.

Arkansas. Expedition to Fayetteville began. Union Brigadier-General Samuel Ryan Curtis’ Army of the Southwest moved from Sugar Creek towards Fayetteville. Two divisions marched twelve miles south to Cross Hollows and two more divisions reached Bentonville twelve miles to the southwest. Cavalry was moved to Osage Springs.

Valverde, New Mexico Territory, also known as Fort Craig. Confederate Brigadier-General Henry Hopkins Sibley and the Army of New Mexico had crossed to the east side of the Rio Grande to the ford at Valverde, north of Fort Craig.

After leaving detachments and garrisons along his line of march, his original force of 2,800 men was reduced to about 2,600 men. He aimed to cut Union communications between the fort and military headquarters in Santa Fe. During the night Sibley’s Confederate army camped several miles from Valverde ford, During the night many of their mules and horses stampeded but were later recaptured.

In the morning, Sibley sent an advance party consisting of four companies of the 2nd Texas Mounted Rifles under the command of Major Charles Pyron to scout ahead to the ford, with the 4th Texas Mounted Rifles under Lieutenant-Colonel William Read Scurry following close behind. The rest of Sibley’s brigade remained in camp, intending to follow later.

Union scouts informed Union Colonel Edward Richard Sprigg Canby of the Confederate movements towards the north. After establishing the Confederate strength and position after his repulse of the previous evening, Canby left Fort Craig with more than 3,800 men in Regular and volunteer units to prevent the Confederates from crossing the river. Canby sent a mixed force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin Stone Roberts of the 5th New Mexico Infantry to hold the ford. The infantry and artillery slowed the column down so Roberts sent Major Thomas Duncan ahead with the cavalry to secure the ford. Following Roberts’ departure, Canby sent forward additional reinforcements from the fort’s garrison and assigned several companies of New Mexico militia to observe the enemy, to harass his flanks and rear, and impede his movements.

The Confederates were unaware that Union forces had arrived to guard the ford until they arrived at the riverside. Pyron sent for reinforcements from the 4th Texas Infantry while his men took cover in an old river bed, which served as an excellent defensive position. Despite their numerical advantage, the Union cavalry deployed a skirmish line instead of trying to drive the Confederates out of their position. This forced the Union artillery to remain on the western bank of the Rio Grande. When Scurry arrived, he deployed his regiment to Pyron’s right, with the regimental artillery on the Confederate left.

Skirmishing started in earnest at 8 am and by 11.30 am each side had brought up reinforcements. Despite their numerical superiority, the Confederates were mostly armed with short-range shotguns, smoothbore weapons, and pistols, which couldn’t reach the Union positions three hundred yards away. Nor could the small-calibre Confederate howitzers couldn’t reach the Union artillery on the far bank of the river. Meanwhile, Canby ordered most of the remaining garrison at Fort Craig to march to Valverde, leaving militia to guard the fort.

When he arrived, Canby moved most of his command, including the artillery, acrosss to the eastern bank, leaving the 1st New Mexico Infantry and 2nd New Mexico Infantry on the western bank as a reserve. By early afternoon, the remainder of the Confederate force (the 5th Texas Mounted Rifles under Colonel Thomas Green and a battalion of the 7th Texas Mounted Rifles under Lieutenant Colonel John Sutton) arrived at the ford. Sibley, who had remained with the wagons during the morning, because he was either ill or intoxicated, relinquished command of the brigade and Green took over. Green then handed command of the 5th Texas Infantry to Major Samuel Lockridge.

Around 2 pm, Green authorised a company of lancers to attempt a charge on what they thought was an inexperienced New Mexico company on the Union extreme right. The company turned out to be a well-disciplined Colorado company who repelled the charge. Twenty of the lancers were killed and wounded during the charge, with almost all of their horses disabled or killed as well. When they had returned to the Confederate line, the lancers quickly rearmed with pistols and shotguns and continued fighting in the battle.

By late afternoon, Canby decided that a frontal assault would fail and planned to attack the Confederate left. He ordered one of his batteries to redeploy closer to the Confederate line and moved several companies to his right, including the 1st New Mexico. However, this repositioning of the troops left the centre of the Union line around the battery weak, with only untested New Mexico volunteers supporting the battery. Hoping to stall the anticipated Union attack, Green ordered Raguet to attack the Union right with his battalion; this attack was repulsed by frontal fire and a flank attack from the 1st New Mexico. The Union right advanced to follow the retreating Confederates. At this point, Green ordered the Confederate right wing under the command of Scurry to charge the Union centre. The attack force of 750 men was arranged into three successive waves. The shock of the charge routed over half of the troops supporting the battery and Lockridge was mortally wounded. The Union countered with a cavalry charge but the main Confederate force continued to press their assault on Canby’s left flank, capturing a battery of six artillery pieces and breaking the Union battle line. This soon turned into a more general rout across the river.

Canby managed to reorganise his men and ordered a retreat back to the fort. Sibley was about to order another attack when Canby sent a white flag asking for a truce to remove the bodies of the dead and wounded, to which Sibley agreed. This was in part a ruse, for Canby to buy time to escape pursuit.

The Confederates claimed a victory but had suffered heavy casualties. Some reports stated that the Confederates lost 230 men killed and wounded out of 2,590 men engaged. Other accounts say 150 Confederates were wounded and killed while the Union sustained about 80 dead and 150 wounded. Alternatively, 46 Confederates were reported killed and just over 150 wounded while the Union suffered 475 to 500 men out of 2,800 men engaged). Probable losses were around 187 to 200 Confederates and 263 Union.

(CWSAC Major Battle – Confederate Victory)

New York. The notorious convicted slave trader, Nathaniel Gordon, was hung in New York City.

North Carolina. Expedition to Winston ended.

Tennessee. Expedition to Clarksville ended.

Union Organisation

USA: Brigadier-General John Milton Brannan arrived to command the Department of Key West.

Brannan, John Milton / District of Columbia-Indiana / Born 1 July 1819 Washington, District of Columbia / Died New York, New York 16 December 1892
USMA 1 July 1841 23/52 Artillery / Cadet USMA 1 July 1837 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 1st US Artillery 16 May 1842 / 1st Lieutenant USA 3 March 1847 / Regt Adjutant 17 April 1847-4 November 1854 / Captain USA 4 November 1854 / Brigadier-General USV 28 September 1861 / Major USA 1 August 1863 / Mustered Out USV 31 May 1866 / Lieutenant-Colonel USA 4th US Artillery 10 January 1877 / 1st US Artillery 16 March 1877 / Colonel USA 15 March 1881 / Retired USA 19 April 1882 / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1841 Brevet Captain USA 24 August 1847 Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel USA 25 September 1862 Brevet Colonel USA 20 September 1863 Brevet Major-General USV 23 January 1865 Brevet Brigadier-General USA 13 March 1865 / Brevet Major-General USA 13 March 1865 / WIA Belen Gate 13 September 1847
2nd Brigade W F Smith’s Division Army of the Potomac 27 October 1861 / Department of Key West 11 January 1862-15 March 1862 / Southern District of the South 31 March 1862-21 June 1862 / District of Beaufort SC 21 June 1862-22 August 1862 / X Corps South 5 September 1862-17 September 1862 / Department of the South 5 September 1862-17 September 1862 / District of Beaufort SC 17 September 1 October 1862 / Department of the South 27 October 1862-19 January 1863 / X Corps South 27 October 1862-20 January 1863 / 1st Division XXI Corps Army of the Cumberland 13 April 1863-10 May 1863 / 3rd Division XIV Corps Army of the Cumberland 10 May 1863-10 October 1863 / Chief of Artillery Army of the Cumberland 10 Oct0ber 1863-1 April 1864 / Chief of Artillery Army of the Tennessee 1 April 1864-25 June 1865 / Chief of Artillery Military Division of the Tennessee 23 June 1865-December 1865 Department of Georgia 19 December 1865-19 May 1866

USA: The Army of West Tennessee was established in the District of West Tennessee. The Army was often but incorrectly referred to as the “Army of the Tennessee”. Its proper full designation was the Army of the District of West Tennessee.

USA: Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant assumed command of the Army of West Tennessee.

Grant, Ulysses Simpson (Hiram Ulysses) / Ohio / Born 27 April 1822 Point Pleasant, Ohio / Died Mount McGregor, New York 23 July 1885
USMA 1 July 1843 21/39 Infantry / Cadet USMA 1 July 1839 / 4th US Infantry 1 July 1843 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 7th US Infantry 30 September 1845 / 4th US Infantry 15 November 1845 / Regt Quartermaster 1 April 1847-23 July 1848 / 1st Lieutenant USA 16 September 1847 / Regt Quartermaster 17 November 1848-5 August 1853 / Captain USA 5 August 1853 / Resigned USA 31 July 1854 / Brigadier-General USV 9 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861 / Colonel USV 21st Illinois Infantry 15 June 1861 / Major-General USV 16 February 1862 / Major-General USA 7 July 1863 to rank from 4 July 1863 / Lieutenant-General USA 4 March 1864 to rank from 2 March 1864 / General-in-Chief of the US Army 12 March 1864 / General USA 25 July 1866 / Resigned USA 4 March 1869 / General USA Retired 4 March 1877 / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1843 Brevet 1 Lt USA 8 September 1847 Brevet Captain USA 13 September 1847
District of Ironton 8 August 1861-15 August 1861 / District of Southeast Missouri 1 September 1861-23 December 1861 / District of Cairo 23 December 1861-14 February 1862 / District of West Tennessee 14 February 1862-12 September 1862 / Army of West Tennessee 21 February 1862-24 October 1863 / Chief of Staff Department of the Mississippi 29 April 1862-10 June 1862 / Department of the Tennessee 16 October 1862-17 October 1863 / XIII Corps Tennessee 24 October 1862-22 December 1862 / Military Division of the Mississippi 16 October 1863-18 March 1864 / General-in-Chief 12 March 1864-4 March 1869

USA: Joseph Taylor confirmed Brigadier-General US and Commissary-General of Subsistence 21 February 1862 to rank from 9 February 1862.

Taylor, Joseph Pannell / Kentucky / Born 4 May 1796 Louisville, Kentucky / Died Washington, District of Columbia 29 June 1864
3rd Lieutenant USA 28th US Infantry 20 May 1813 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 August 1813 / 1st Lieutenant USA 15 July 1814 / Discharged USA 15 June 1815 / 2nd Lieutenant USA Artillery 17 May 1816 / 1st Lieutenant 24 November 1817 / Captain USA 6 July 1825 / 2nd US Artillery 1 June 1829- 7 July 1838 / Captain Assistant Commissary of Subsistence 10 March 1829 / Major USA 7 July 1838 / Lieutenant-Colonel USA Assistant Commissary-General of Subsistence 30 November 1841 / Colonel USA Commissary-General of Subsistence 29 September 1861 / Brigadier-General USA Commissary-General of Subsistence 21 February 1862 to rank from 9 February 1862 / Brevet 1 Lt USA 17 May 1861 to rank from 15 July 1814 Brevet Colonel USA 30 May 1848
Commissary-General of Subsistence 29 September 1861-29 June 1864 / Member of the War Board 17 March 1862-23 July 1862

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln

Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin

Secretary of War: Edwin McMasters Stanton

Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

  • North Atlantic Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough USN
  • South Atlantic Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer Samuel Francis Du Pont USN
  • West Gulf Blockading Squadron USN: Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut USN
  • East Gulf Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer William McKean USN
  • Pacific Squadron USN: Rear Admiral Charles H Bell USN
  • Western Gunboat Flotilla USN: Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote USN
  • Potomac Flotilla USN: Lieutenant Robert Harris Wyman USN

General–in-Chief: George Brinton McClellan

  • Department of Florida: Lewis Golding Arnold
  • Department of Kansas: David Hunter
  • Department of Key West: John Milton Brannan
  • Department of the Missouri: Henry Wager Halleck
    • District of West Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant
      • Army of West Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant
    • District of Cairo: William Tecumseh Sherman
    • District of St Louis: John McAllister Schofield
    • District of Central Missouri: James Totten
    • District of North Missouri: John McAllister Schofield
    • District of Southeast Missouri: Ulysses Simpson Grant
    • District of Southwest Missouri: Samuel Ryan Curtis
      • Army of the Southwest: Samuel Ryan Curtis
  • Department of New Mexico: Edward Richard Sprigg Canby
  • Department of New York: Edward Denison Morgan
    • Southern District of New Mexico: Benjamin Stone Roberts
  • Department of North Carolina: Ambrose Everett Burnside
  • Department of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
    • Army of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
  • Department of the Pacific: George Wright
    • District of the Humboldt: Francis James Lippitt
    • District of Oregon: Albemarle Cady
    • District of Southern California: James Henry Carleton
  • Department of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan
    • District of Harper’s Ferry and Cumberland: Frederick West Lander
    • Army of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan
  • Department of Texas: Vacant
  • Department of Virginia: John Ellis Wool
  • Department of Western Virginia: William Starke Rosecrans
    • District of the Kanawha: Jacob Dolson Cox
    • Cheat Mountain District: Robert Huston Milroy
    • Railroad District: Benjamin Franklin Kelley

Confederate Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Jefferson Finis Davis

Vice-President: Alexander Hamilton Stephens

Secretary of War: Judah Philip Benjamin

Secretary of the Navy: Stephen Russell Mallory

Military Adviser to the President: Vacant

  • Department No 1: Mansfield Lovell
  • Department of Alabama and West Florida: Braxton Bragg
    • Army of Pensacola: Samuel Jones
    • Army of Mobile: John Bordenave Villepigue
  • Department of Henrico: John Henry Winder
  • Department of the Indian Territory: Douglas Hancock Cooper
  • Department of Norfolk: Benjamin Huger
    • District of Albemarle: Henry Alexander Wise
  • Department of North Carolina: Richard Caswell Gatlin
    • District of Cape Fear: Joseph Reid Anderson
    • District of Pamlico: Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
    • District of Roanoke Island: Henry Marchmore Shaw
  • Department of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
    • District of Aquia: Robert Augustus Toombs
    • Army of the Potomac: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
      • I Corps Potomac: James Longstreet
      • II Corps Potomac: Gustavus Woodson Smith
    • Valley District: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
      • Army of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
  • Department of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder
    • Army of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder
  • Department of South Carolina, Georgia and East Florida: Robert Edward Lee
    •  District of Middle and East Florida: William Montgomery Gardner
    • District of Georgia: Alexander Robert Lawton
    • District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
      • 1st Sub-District of South Carolina: Arthur Middleton Manigault.
      • 2nd Sub-District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
      • 3rd Sub-District of South Carolina: Nathan George Evans
      • 4th Sub-District of South Carolina: John Clifford Pemberton
      • 5th Sub-District of South Carolina: Thomas Fenwick Drayton
  • Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring
    • District of Lewisburg: Henry Heth
  • Department of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert
    • Eastern District of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert
    • Western District of Texas: Henry Eustace McCulloch
    • District of Galveston: Ebenezer B Nichols
    • District of Houston: John Creed Moore
    • Defences of Pass Cavallo: John W Glenn
  • Western Department: Albert Sidney Johnston
    • First Geographical Division: Leonidas Polk
    • Trans-Mississippi District: Earl Van Dorn
    • District of East Tennessee: George Bibb Crittenden
    • Army of Central Kentucky: William Joseph Hardee
    • Army of Eastern Kentucky: Humphrey Marshall
    • Army of the West: Benjamin McCulloch interim Earl Van Dorn awaited
  • District of Arizona: Henry Hopkins Sibley
    • Army of New Mexico: Henry Hopkins Sibley
  • Forces in Richmond: Charles Dimmock

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont
Henry Wager Halleck

Major-General USV

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler
David Hunter
Edwin Denison Morgan
Ethan Allen Hitchcock
Ulysses Simpson Grant

Brigadier-General USA

John Ellis Wool
William Selby Harney
Edwin Vose Sumner
Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
Irvin McDowell
Robert Anderson
William Starke Rosecrans
Philip St George Cooke

Brigadier-General USV

Samuel Peter Heintzelman
Erasmus Darwin Keyes
Andrew Porter
Fitz-John Porter
William Buel Franklin
William Tecumseh Sherman
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Don Carlos Buell
Thomas West Sherman
John Pope
George Archibald McCall
William Reading Montgomery
Philip Kearny
Joseph Hooker
John Wolcott Phelps
Samuel Ryan Curtis
Charles Smith Hamilton
Darius Nash Couch
Rufus King
Jacob Dolson Cox
Stephen Augustus Hurlbut
Franz Sigel
Robert Cumming Schenck
Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss
Frederick West Lander
Benjamin Franklin Kelley
John Alexander McClernand
Alpheus Starkey Williams
Israel Bush Richardson
James Cooper
James Brewerton Ricketts
Orlando Bolivar Willcox
Michael Corcoran
George Henry Thomas
Ambrose Everett Burnside
Henry Hayes Lockwood
Louis Blenker
Henry Warner Slocum
James Samuel Wadsworth
John James Peck
Ormsby McKnight Mitchel
George Webb Morell
John Henry Martindale
Samuel Davis Sturgis
George Stoneman
Henry Washington Benham
William Farrar Smith
James William Denver
Egbert Ludovicus Vielé
James Shields
John Fulton Reynolds
William Farquhar Barry
John Joseph Abercrombie
John Sedgwick
Charles Ferguson Smith
Silas Casey
Lawrence Pike Graham
George Gordon Meade
Abram Duryée
Alexander McDowell McCook
Oliver Otis Howard
Eleazar Arthur Paine
Daniel Edgar Sickles
Charles Davis Jameson
Ebenezer Dumont
Robert Huston Milroy
Lewis Wallace
Willis Arnold Gorman
Daniel Butterfield
Horatio Gouverneur Wright
Edward Otho Cresap Ord
William Nelson
William Thomas Ward
John Gross Barnard
Innis Newton Palmer
Seth Williams
John Newton
Winfield Scott Hancock
Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
George Wright
Isaac Ingalls Stevens
Thomas Williams
George Sykes
William Henry French
William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks
John Milton Brannan
William Wallace Burns
John Porter Hatch
David Sloane Stanley
William Kerley Strong
Albin Francisco Schoepf
Lovell Harrison Rousseau
James Scott Negley
Thomas John Wood
Richard W Johnson
Adolph Wilhelm August Friedrich Von Steinwehr
Joseph Bennett Plummer
John Gray Foster
George Washington Cullum
Jeremiah Tilford Boyle
Christopher Columbus Augur
Schuyler Hamilton
Jesse Lee Reno
George Washington Morgan
Julius Stahel
John McAllister Schofield
Thomas Jefferson McKean
John Grubb Parke
Zealous Bates Tower
Jefferson Columbus Davis
James Henry Lane
John McAuley Palmer
William High Keim
James Abram Garfield
Lewis Golding Arnold
Frederick Steele
William Scott Ketchum
Abner Doubleday
John Wynn Davidson
Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana
David Bell Birney
Thomas Francis Meagher
Henry Morris Naglee

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (Quartermaster-General)
Henry Knox Craig
Lorenzo Thomas (Adjutant-General)
James Wolfe Ripley (Ordnance)
Joseph Pannell Taylor (Commissary-General of Subsistence)

Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

General ACSA

Samuel Cooper
Albert Sidney Johnston
Robert Edward Lee
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

Major-General PACS

Leonidas Polk
Braxton Bragg
Earl Van Dorn
Gustavus Woodson Smith
Theophilus Hunter Holmes
William Joseph Hardee
Benjamin Huger
James Longstreet
John Bankhead Magruder
Mansfield Lovell
Thomas Jonathan Jackson
Edmund Kirby Smith
George Bibb Crittenden
John Clifford Pemberton
Richard Stoddert Ewell
William Wing Loring

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Benjamin McCulloch
Charles Clark
John Buchanan Floyd
Henry Alexander Wise
David Rumph Jones
Henry Hopkins Sibley
John Henry Winder
Richard Caswell Gatlin
Daniel Smith Donelson
Samuel Read Anderson
Benjamin Franklin Cheatham
Daniel Harvey Hill
Jones Mitchell Withers
Richard Heron Anderson
Robert Augustus Toombs
Samuel Jones
Arnold Elzey
William Henry Chase Whiting
Jubal Anderson Early
Isaac Ridgway Trimble
Daniel Ruggles
Roswell Sabine Ripley
Albert Pike
Paul Octave Hébert
Joseph Reid Anderson
Simon Bolivar Buckner
Leroy Pope Walker
Albert Gallatin Blanchard
Gabriel James Rains
James Ewell Brown Stuart
Lafayette McLaws
Thomas Fenwick Drayton
Thomas Carmichael Hindman
Adley Hogan Gladden
John Porter McCown
Lloyd Tilghman
Nathan George Evans
Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox
Robert Emmett Rodes
Richard Taylor
James Heyward Trapier
Samuel Gibbs French
William Henry Carroll
Hugh Weedon Mercer
Humphrey Marshall
John Cabell Breckinridge
Richard Griffith
Alexander Peter Stewart
William Montgomery Gardner
Richard Brooke Garnett
William Mahone
Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
Edward Johnson
Maxcy Gregg
Raleigh Edward Colston
Henry Heth
Johnson Kelly Duncan
Sterling Alexander Martin Wood
John George Walker
John King Jackson
George Edward Pickett
James McQueen McIntosh
Bushrod Rust Johnson
James Patton Anderson
Howell Cobb
George Wythe Randolph
Joseph Brevard Kershaw
James Ronald Chalmers
Joseph Lewis Hogg
Daniel Marsh Frost

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