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New Mexico Territory During the Civil War: Wallen and Evans Inspection Reports, 1862–1863

edited by Jerry D. Thompson, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 2008, $34.95.

Brigadier General James Henry Carleton led his strong California Column into New Mexico Territory in midsummer 1862, but the threat of a Confederate invasion to which he was responding had come and gone, following the March 26–28 Battle of Glorieta Pass. Neither Carleton nor anyone else in the Union Army had reason to be sure of that, however, and Federal defeats elsewhere in the country painted a gloomy picture.

Further motivated by a disdain for Mexicans and Indians beyond what he thought of the Confederates, Carleton resolved to assess the territory in anticipation of future campaigns he expected would have at best unreliable support from Washington. Part of Carleton’s effort involved dispatching officers to inspect New Mexico’s forts and towns, for which task he chose Major Henry Davies Wallen and Captain Andrew Wallace Evans. This book is a compilation of their detailed reports, annotated for context by Thompson, regent professor of history at Texas A&M International University.

The result is an invaluable record of the logistical requirements of manning the various Southwestern outposts during the 1860s. The inspectors found a range of situations. Some garrisons boasted a satisfactory training regimen, supported by adequate food, clothing and equipment. Others were poorly supplied, with inadequate horses in poor health or men whose morale and discipline left something to be desired. The inspectors noted all problems in hopes they would be addressed.

Although the Confederate threat in the Southwest was over, a state of war had existed between the Army and Cochise’s Chiricahua Apaches since February 1861. Those hostilities were to intensify in postwar years.


Originally published in the December 2008 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here