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In or near this location, was the final battle of the New Mexico Campaign of 1862, on April 14. After the Mesilla Secession Convention of 1861 lead to the bottom portions of present day New Mexico and Arizona (then one territory) to join the Confederacy, Confederate forces under General Henry Sibley went north and occupied cities such as Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Union forces under General Edward Canby, went to liberate New Mexico. After the Battle of Glorieta Pass led to a major Union victory, Confederate forces fled southward. It is here at Peralta that Union forces, after obtaining another victory here, effectively kicked Confederate forces out of New Mexico into Mexico and Texas, only to occasionally raid into New Mexico until war's end.

  • Map of the New Mexico Campaign.
  • Map of the New Mexico and Arizona Territories at the time of the Civil War. Also depicts the portion that joined the Confederacy
  • CSA General Thomas Green, who commanded Confederate forces at Peralta.
  • Union General Edward Canby
  • Map of the Battle of Peralta
  • Snapshot from the battle of scene from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Retreating after the Battle of Glorieta Pass, Confederate troops of the 5th Texas Mounted Volunteers under Colonel Thomas Green (serving under General Henry Sibley) camped in the town of Peralta, New Mexico Territory and planned to cross a series of irrigation canals the next day. The rest of the Confederate army was encamped on the other side of the Rio Grande in the town of Los Lunas. From April 8-9, both forces briefly clashed in Albuquerque, resulting in Confederate forces to retreat to the Peralta area. 

On April 14 the pursuing Union Army forces under Colonel Edward Canby caught up with Green. At dawn, Union cavalry attacked and captured the Confederate wagon train, killing and capturing the guard. The Confederates used the low adobe houses in the town as natural fortifications. Canby captured a Confederate supply train which was then approaching Peralta, and then sent John Chivington and Gabriel R. Paul to surround the Confederates to prevent any forces from reaching Green. The adobe walls and irrigation ditches surrounding the town were stronger than Canby was willing to risk an assault on. Learning of the fighting, Sibley led the 4th and 7th Texas Mounted Rifles across the river. The rival armies battered each other in an artillery duel, until a dust storm blew in and allowed the Confederates to withdraw to the west bank of the Rio Grande, leaving behind a town which had been reduced to rubble.

The Confederates reached Los Lunas at 4 a.m., where they rested for a few hours before continuing their retreat. Canby followed with the Union army, harassing the Confederate columnn with cavalry. New Mexico was essentially liberate by the Union following this battle, securing both Arizona and New Mexico. 

In the  famed Clint Eastwood western, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, a battle scene between Union and Confederate forces takes place. The battle is intended to personify the Battle of Peralta and the New Mexico Campaign in general, though obviously exaggerated. 

Eicher, John H., & Eicher, David J.: Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001.

Heyman, Max L., Jr.: Prudent Soldier: A Biography of Major General ERS Canby, 1817-1873, Frontier Military Series III, Glendale, CA: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1959.

Filson Historical Society Library: MS #118. "Canby, Edward Richard Sprigg, 1819[sic]-1873. Papers, 1837-1873." A\C214 (1 box, 146 items; includes contemporary newspaper accounts regarding General Canby's death and its aftermath).

Frazier, Donald S. Blood & Treasure: Confederate Empire in the Southwest.' Texas A&M University Press; College Station, Texas, 1995.

United States War Department, The Military Secretary's Office, Memorandum relative to the general officers appointed by the President in the armies of the Confederate States--1861-1865 (1908) (Compiled from official records) Caption shows 1905 but printing date is February 11, 1908.

Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959.

Barr, Alwyn. "Green, Thomas". Handbook of Texas Online.

United States. War Dept; Robert Nicholson Scott; Henry Martyn Lazelle; George Breckenridge Davis; Leslie J. Perry; Joseph William Kirkley; Fred Crayton Ainsworth; John Sheldon Moodey (1897). The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 875.

Kerby, Robert L., The Confederate Invasion of New Mexico and Arizona, 1861–1862, Westernlore Press, 1958.

Thompson, Jerry D., Civil War in the Southwest: Recollections of the Sibley Brigade, TAMU Press, 2001.

Thompson, Jerry D., Henry Hopkins Sibley: Confederate General of the West, Northwestern State University Press, 1987.

Whitlock, Flint, Distant Bugles, Distant Drums: The Union Response to the Confederate Invasion of New Mexico, University Press of Colorado, 2006.

Posgate, Natalie (August 23, 2008). "Go West, Young Confederacy". The New York Times

Hall, Martin Hardwick (1960). Sibley's New Mexico Campaign. Alburquerque, NM: UNM Press.

Colton, Ray Charles, "The Civil War in the Western Territories" Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press 1959