With what information that is available at this time let's see if Ygnacio's and Placido's time in the Union Army
can be reasonably tracked, And of course, some of their activities would be conjecture, preceded with words
like probably, perhaps, could be, etc., with no documentation for proof.
The Civil War began April 12, 1861 when Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, which was a key fort occupied by
Union troops. The war ceased after a little more than four years, until May 9, 1865.
On October 19, 1861, Ygnacio, joined the New Mexico Volunteers at Manzano for an enlistment of 3 years. He enlisted for the Union
cause(1) and his age was 58 years old. 12 days later, Oct 31, Ygnacio's son, Placido, age 26, followed his father and enlisted. They were
assigned to Capt. Barrientos' Co., 4th Regiment(2) and given the ranks of sergeant and corporal. Placido's horse was valued at $35 and
$6 for accessories. The records don't show if Ygnacio was compensated. They were mustered in at Albuquerque. There was a military
post there and probably that is where indoctrination and basic training occurred, but the recruits may have been shuffled to Fort Union,
about 160 miles distance, which was a well established fort and geared for recruit training. There were numbers on their reference cards,
Ygnacio, 12208356, and Placido, 12208362, probably their serial numbers, although the numbers seem a number or two long. Placido
appeared on the company muster-in roll on November 20.
(1)—Some New Mexicans were sympathetic to the Confederate cause. In the military an Union officer could merely resign his commission and switch to the
Confederacy. An enlisted man had to desert if he chose the Confederate side. The Hispanics were mainly pro Union because the Territory was sympathetic to
the Union cause and by the 1860s a large proportion of the Hispanics had their roots in New Mexico. Yet, in the neighboring state of Texas, which was pro
Confederate, many of the Hispanic volunteers had their roots in Texas.
(2)--This organization subsequently became Co. A, 5 Regiment, New Mexico Infantry and the regiment, whose organization was never completed, was
mustered into the U.S. Service at Albuquerque on November 1, 1861 to serve for three years. The officers and enlisted men not selected for retention in
service were mustered out May 31, 1862, and the remaining portion became part of the 1st New Mexico Calvary,
Two companies of the 5th Regiment, one being Capt. Barrientos' company, in which Ygnacio and Placido served, were stationed at Fort
Craig, which was about 30 miles south of Socorro, N.M. when Confederate forces approached the area in mid February 1862 The fort
was under the command of Col. Canby and he had nearly 3,000 men, about equally regular army and New Mexico volunteers, to
challenge the invaders of about 2500 Texan volunteers led by Brig. Gen Sibley.
The two forces skirmished on February 20 and on the 21st the main battle was fought at Valverde ford about seven miles north of the fort
with a combined total of approximately a little more than 400 soldiers killed and wounded. The fort was bypassed and Sibley's force
continued north to be defeated at Glorieta Pass, N.M. in late March. Col. Christopher "Kit" Carson's 1st Regiment was very involved in
Although companies of the 5th Regiment were involved in the battle at Glorieta Pass it is very unlikely that any Union soldiers that fought
at Valverde would have engaged the Confederates at Glorieta Pass, because somehow they would have had to bypass Gen. Sibley's
troops during the 33 days between battles. The distance from Fort Craig to Glorieta Pass is approximately 180 miles.
On May 10, 1862 Ygnacio and Placido was transferred from the infantry to the 1st Regiment, New Mexico Cavalry. They were in
Company H and were present on the company muster roll for the months of May and June. Their ranks were reduced to that of private
and Ygnacio was given the classification of farrier.
New Mexico was not again invaded by the Confederates after the expulsion of the Texans in early 1862, but the numerous Indian tribes
of the Territory and the adjacent eastern plains took advantage of the war to indulge in frequent uprisings. The 1st Cavalry was almost
continuously employed during its term of service in expeditions against the hostile Navajos, Apaches, Comanches, Kiowas, Utes, etc.,
and detachments of the regiment were stationed as garrisons at the various military posts of the territory such as Forts Bascom, Canby,
Stanton, Wingate, Sumner and Whipple.
For the months of July and August 1862 the company muster rolls stated that Ygnacio and Placido were present and remarks noted that
they were transferred from Co A 5th N.M. Volunteers and due soldiers since the middle of February for horse and equipment.
Ygnacio and Placido were absent on the muster roll for September and October. It was noted that they were on detached service at Fort
Stanton, N.M., and had been since October 21. It was also noted that Ygnacio had been reduced from sergeant on October 1st.
From November 1862 through June 1863 Ygnacio and Placido were present at company muster rolls and it was noted that Ygnacio was
a farrier. No other notations were made during that time period.
The regiment, under its famous colonel, Christopher "Kit" Carson, who was an intrepid leader at the battle of Valverde, performed
excellent service in rounding up the hostile tribes, and in conformity to the established policy of Gen. Carleton, Carson's immediate
superior, thousands of the Indians were placed on reservations provided for them.
The company muster rolls for July and August stated that Ygnacio and Placido were absent. The reason on Ygnacio's card was that he
was on temporary duty at Fort Canby, N.M. since early August. There was no reason given for Placido's absence but it was likely that he
was serving with his father.
Ygnacio and Placido were present for the company muster roll for the months of September and October.
Ygnacio and Placido were present for the company muster roll for the months of November and December. It was noted that Placido
was on temporary duty since Dec.16 escorting Lt. Col. Francisco Abreu, 1 Inf. New Mexico Volunteers. The surname Abreu is quite
unusual and perhaps the Colonel could have been related to the Abreus that Ygnacio was acquainted with in the early 1830s and was a
partner in a gold mine venture. See the "Revolt of 1837" in the Ygnacio Story.
Ygnacio and Placido were present for the company muster rolls for the months of January through April 1864. For roll call for May and
June they were listed as absent, serving temporary duty at grazing camp Fort Canby since April. The muster roll for July and August
noted that the men were present and that Ygnacio was on duty as a hospital attendant. The last muster roll, September and October,
showed that they were present. Ygnacio was listed as a farrier. He was discharged at Los Pinos, N.M. on October 21st and his accounts
were settled. He was due $100 as a bonus for serving 3 years in the military. He owed the government 96c. His description was stated,
and that he was 61 years of age, from Manzano, N.M. and born in Durango, Mex. Placido was mustered-out October 31st at Los
Pinos He was due the $100 bonus. He was advanced $29.24 for clothing plus he also owed the government 96c. His description was
stated and age was given as 26 (actually he was 29, born in Oct. 1835) and he was born in Manzano, N.M. On the muster rolls for
Ygnacio, N. L. De Guebara followed his given name. The N. L. indicated Niño Ladrón.
What prompted Ygnacio, at age 58, to join the Union Army? Did he want more excitement in his life during his twilight years? He may
have been involved in Mexico's War for Independence from Spain, which ended in 1821 and he yearned for that type of excitement. It
appears that he had a full life without trying to add to it. Perhaps it was patriotism and his belief in the Union cause that prompted him to
join the army, or perhaps it was the $13 per month salary and a $100 bonus for serving 3 years. Each community of sufficient population
in the territory was encouraged to raise a company for the volunteer service. The population of Manzano was approximately 800
residents in 1862 and with nearby communites totaled about 1800 residents. Placido's reason for enlisting is quite obvious since he and
his father appeared to be very close. He was in his prime years and although a recent newlywed with two small children, and
responsibilities, he probably told wife, Maria: “I have to be with my father for a few years, he may need me.” So, 11 days after Ygnacio
enlisted in the Union Army, Placido did the same.
Ygnacio and Placido were given the ranks of sergeant and corporal respectfully when they enlisted and the reason could have been an
incentive for them to enlist, but when they transferred from infanty to calvary they were reduced to privates and remained so until they
were discharged. Ygnacio was classified as a farrier during his time with the calvary, so its probable that he was a competent handler of
horses when he was a civilian. Their time in the military, from when they enlisted in October 1861 until they were transferred in May 1862
is pretty well accounted for, but from then until they became involved in the Indian campaign in July 1863 is a gray area. In the fall of '62
they were on temporary duty at Fort Stanton, N.M., perhaps on cleanup detail after the Confederates trashed the fort earlier in the year.
There is no information on their whereabouts from late '62 until their company was involved in the re-location program of the Navajos
from July 1863 until January 1864.
During the Indian campaign, Capt. Albert Pfeiffer was company commander of Co. H, the same company that Ygnacio and Placico were
also attached. Captain Pfieffer was involved in conducting the Navajos on their Long Walk to the ill-fated social experiment of Bosque
Redondo in 1864 and its possible that Ygnacio and Placido also were involved. And if that was the case, then the Guebaras' three-year
enlistment period would have about terminated. They were discharged in October. It's possible that more information may surface about
their time in the military and if it's discovered, it would be added to this interesting story.
The picture on the left shows the plaza in Old Town, Albuquerque. The Union military post, 1846-1867, was either
on this location or nearby. The post was where Ygnacio and Placido were mustered-in when they joined the Union
Army in late 1861. The post was temporarily abandoned when the Confederate Army passed through the area in
early 1862. Next to the plaza is San Felipe de Neri Church. Church records began in 1703. The two cannons in the
plaza are replicas of the eight that were buried by the Confederates when they retreated after the battle at
Glorieta Pass. The cannons were retrieved 27 years later. Two of the originals are at the Albuquerque Museum of
Art and History, which is nearby. The cannons could shoot a 12-pound exploding projectile 1,000 yards.
The photos of how Fort Craig,
1854-1889, appeared during the
Civil War era and how it appears
today is quite a contrast. Fort Craig
was a U.S. Army fort located along
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro,
near Elephant Butte Lake State Park
and the Rio Grande in Socorro
County, and where Ygnacio and
Placido left their footprints more
than 150 years ago. In 1861 it was
the largest fort in the Southwest
and could accommodate up to 2,000
soldiers, but the elements and
vandalism have reduced the fort to
a few remaining adobe walls. The
fort was established to control the
problem with marauding Indians.
Briefly, the fort was involved
during the Civil War in early 1862,
then resumed its function as a
base for the soldiers to try to keep
the Indians under control. It's now
a national historic site and there is
a visitor center.
|"SIR: I have the honor to report that in obedience to General Orders, No. 15, current series, Hdqrs. Department of New Mexico, I left
camp near Los Lunas, N. Mex., July 7, 1863, en route to Pueblo Colorado, N. Mex., with Companies D, K, L, and M, First New Mexico
Volunteers, the only companies of the expedition which had arrived at the place of rendezvous up to that time."
Company H, under the command of Capt. Albert Pfeiffer, in which Ygnacio and Placido served, obviously joined the
expedition later as seen in Col Carson's second letter dated July 24th.
"I arrived at Fort Wingate on the 10th instant, where I remained three days receiving supplies . . . Left Fort Wingate on the 14th, and
arrived at Ojo-del Oso on the night of the 16th."
"I arrived with my command at Fort Defiance on the 20th instant, where I found a large quantity of wheat, say 100,000 pounds . . . The
Utah Indians had preceded us on this day' march; killed 1 man (Navajo), and captured 20 sheep. Shortly after encamping, I was joined
by 19 Ute warriors, who had been operating against the Navajos on their own account. . . . I have hired 5 of this party as spies. . . . I
remained at Fort Defiance on the 21st. On the 22d I left for this place with the board appointed to select a site for Fort Canby, taking
with me the field and staff, and 70 men of the command, and the Ute Indians. . . . on the Rio de Pueblo Colorado, we came on a small
party of Navajos, and killed 3 men."
"On my return route, the Ute Indians killed 8 Navajos, making a total of 12 killed since my arrival in the country."
"I arrived at this place with the party yesterday evening at 5 o'clock, having been nearly thirty-six hours continuously in the saddle."
I would respectfully call the attention of the general commanding the department to the valuable services rendered by the Ute Indians,
and earnestly request that I may be authorized to send an officer to their country to employ at least 30 more Utes as spies for the
"DEAR GEN.: I send by Capt. Cutler the official report of the operations of my command since leaving Los Lunas, but in it have made
no mention of the women and children captured by the Utes (4 women and 17 children). It is expected by the Utes, and has, I believe,
been customary, to allow them to keep the women and children and the property captured by them for their own use and benefit, and as
there is no other way to sufficiently recompense these Indians for their invaluable services. . . . I ask it as a favor that they may be
permitted to retain all that they may capture. . . . the future of the captives disposed of in this manner would be much better than if
sent even to the Bosque Redondo. . . . As a general think, the Utes dispose of their captives to Mexican families, where they are fed and
taken care of. . . . Will you please let me know your views on this matter as soon as possible, that I may govern my conduct
"The Utes more than come up to the expectations I had formed of their efficiency as spies, nor can any small straggling parties of
Navajos hope to escape them. I trust you will grant me permission to send Capt. Pfeiffer to their villages to employ some more of them.
I am very bad off for guides, and intend to employ some Zuni Indians as much in a few days, when I shall visit their village."
"COL., I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 24th ultimo, in relation to the disposition to be made of
captured Navajo women and children, and to say in reply that all prisoners which are captured by the troops or employees of your
command will be sent to Santa Fe . . . There must be no exception to this rule. . . . such dispositions as to their future care and
destination as may seen most humane and proper. All horses, mules, or other stock which the troops or employed under your command
may capture belong to the United States, and will be reported to department headquarters. . . . But to stimulate the zeal of the troops
and employees who have captured horses and mules from the Navajos, or who may hereafter make such captures from those Indians, a
bonus of $20 apiece will be paid . . . All sheep captured will be turned over to the chief commissary of your expedition. . . . will be
killed, from time to time, and issued as fresh meat to the troops and employees. The chief commissary is authorized to pay the captors
of such sheep $1 per head."
"All other property captured from the Indians will be reported, when orders will be given as to what disposition shall be made of it."
HDQRS. NAVAJO EXPEDITION,
Camp at Pueblo Colorado, N. Mex., July 24, 1863
"I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,."
Col. First New Mexico Vols., Comdg. Navajo Expedition.
CAMP AT PUEBLO COLORADO, N. MEX.,
July 24, 1863
Col. First New Mexico Volunteers
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF NEW MEXICO,
Santa Fe, N. Mex., August 18, 1863
"I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant."
JAMES H. CARLETON,
|"On the night of the 4th instant, I detached Capt. Pfeiffer, with Lieut. Fitch, with 100 enlisted men, 25 of whom were mounted, and
the Ute Indians, to examine the country to the right and left of the line of march."
"On the 6th, after traveling about 17 miles, I found part of his detail encmped, having in charge 11 women and children, 5 of whom
were taken by Capt. Pfeiffer's detail, besides a woman and child, the former of whom was killed in attempting to escape, and the latter
accidentally, and 100 of sheep and goats. When I arrived, Capt. Pfeiffer, with the balance of his party, were out scouting. He returned
about 12 o'clock at night with 2 children and 1 horse, captured. About an hour before reaching camp, found and destroyed 5 acres of
"At 5 p.m. I left this camp with companies D, G, and K, 75 men of companies H and M, dismounted, and 30 mounted men of
Company M, and the Utes. Took but 1 pack animal to each company, and three days' cooked rations for the men; . . . Marched all
night, and arrived at 10 a.m. Next morning at a cannon little west of Moqui. Here the Utes took 2 women and 3 children prisoners. . . .
Capt. Pfeiffer with 30 cavalry, pushed and captured 1,000 head of sheep and goats; some of the Utes captured in the same vicinity 18
horses and mules, and killed 1 Indian. Capt. Pfeiffer severely wounded an Indian, but he contrived to secrete himself in the rocks."
"The Utes here left the command to return to their homes, ostensibly because they could not get the herds captured by Capt.'s Berney
and Pfeiffer, as they stated that it was the understanding with the general that they were to receive all the stock captured during the
campaign. . . . Some Moqui Indians report the death of the Indian wounded by Capt. Pfeiffer . . . and say that he was not only one of
the most powerful, but the worst chief of the nation. . . . While en route on the 16th, destroyed about 50 acres of corn; several of my
animals gave out and were shot.
"This forenoon I arrived at this camp, rendered memorable by the death of the brave and lamented Maj. Joseph Cumminsgs, who fell,
shot through the abdomen by a concealed Indian."
"From all I could learn from the Moqui Indians, and the captives taken, the majority of the Navajos, with their herds, are at the Little
Red River, and this is confirmed by my own observation. My next scout will probably be in that direction, and will, I trust, be more
"I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,"
C. CARSON, Col, Comdg.
command. When leaving the canon, I secreted 25 men, under Capt. Pfeiffer, in two parties, believing that the Indians who owned this
farm would return as soon as the troops had left. . . . as but a short time elapsed before 2 Indians came to the fields. . . . They were now
between the two parties, when a chase ensued, and, although badly wounded, I am sorry to say the Indians escaped."
"While en route on the 22d, discovered the bodies of 2 Indians killed by a party of Utes some short time since. About 10 o'clock a,m,,
the command arrived at a large bottom, containing not less than 100 acres of as fine corn as I have ever seen. Here I determined to
encamp, that I might have it destroyed."
At 8 a.m. On the 23d, arrived at the west opening of Canon de Chelly, but could find no water; about 12 miles farther found
abundance of running water and good grass, and encamped. I made a careful examination of the country on this day's march,
particularly in the immediate neighborhood of Canon de Chelly, and am satisfied that there are very few Indians in the canon, and
these of the very poorest. They have not stock, and were depending entirely for subsistence on the corn destroyed by me command on the
previous day, the loss of which will cause actual starvation, and oblige them either to come in and accept emigration to the Bosque
Redondo, or to fly south to Red River to join the wealthy bands now there"
On the 29th, left camp at 6 a.m.; when about 7 miles out, I sent a detachment, composed of Companies D and H, to a wheat field 5
miles east of the line of march, where they killed an Indian."
"In summing up the results of the last month's scout, I congratulate myself on having gained one very important point, viz, a
knowledge of where the Navajoes have fled with their stock, and where I am certain to find them. . . . I have ascertained that a large
party of Navajoes are on Salt River, near the San Francisco Mountains, among the Apaches, and within easy striking distance of Pima
villages. I would respectfully greatly facilitate the entire subjugation of the Navajo nation."
HDQRS. NAVAJO EXPEDITION,
Fort Canby, N. Mex., August 31, 1863
"Very respectfully, your obedient servant,"
Col. First New Mexico Volunteers, Comdg.
Ygnacio and Placido
oooooCivil War Union Soldiers
This is a painting of Fort Defiance or Fort Canby, as it appeared
in 1870. The fort was established in 1851 and named Fort
Defiance but re-named Fort Canby temporarily during the
conflict with the Navajos in 1863. It was located on prime Navajo
grazing land which the Indians were prohibited from using and
caused the Navajos to respond. The fort is near Window Rock,
AZ and is in use today for governmental agencies.
"CAPT.: I have the honor to report on the 5th instant
I left my camp, 7 miles south of Canon Bonito, with
Companies B and H, First New Mexico Volunteers,
dismounted, and D, G, K, and M, mounted (total
strength, twelve companies, and 4 field and staff
officers, and 333 enlisted men), on a scout for thirty
"Companies G and H arrived at Defiance on the 2d
instant with their horses in very poor condition.
Those of Capt. Pfeiffer's company (H) were so
broken down that I was reluctantly obliged to
dismount his men, and leave his horses at Defiance
"After leaving clamp, I took a direction south, toward
Zuni, intending to visit village, procure some guides,
thence to scour the country to the Moqui and Oribi
villages, and return by the Cannon de Chelly. When
about two hours from camp, we found and destroyed
about 70 acres to corn. . . . The wheat, about 15
acres, was fed to the animals, and the corn, about 50
across, was destroyed."
"On the 9th ultimo, I left camp at the Cienega Amarilla, 7 miles south of this post, with Companies D, G, H, K, L, and M, numbering
10 officers and 395 enlisted men and 192 horses."
"On the 11th, I arrived at Zuni . . . The Governor of Zuni furnished 3 men as guides to the river, and I was accompanied by about 20
others, who desired thus to show their friendship to the whites and their enmity to the Navajoes. That they are not on friendly terms
with the Navajoes, and are desirous to aid us in every possible manner. I am fully satisfied, not alone from their professions, but from
having seen the dead bodies of some Navajoes, whom they had recently killed in an engagement."
"On the 22d, some fresh signs reported by my spies. I sent forward in the evening Capt.'s Pfieffer and Deus and Lieut.'s Hodt, Hubbell,
and Postle, with 126 enlisted men with directions to march all night . . . On the 24th, was joined by Capt. Pfeiffer's party. . . . They
captured 1 child. . . . am satisfied that no Indians have been on the river within this distance since last spring, excepting this party of 7
seen by Capt. Pfeiffer."
"Saw fresh Indian signs, . . . discovered a small village, which had just been abandoned. This I had destroyed."
"This scout, I am sorry to say, was a failure as regards any positive injury inflicted on the Navajoes; but the fatigues and hardships
under gone by my command are fully compensated for by increased knowledge of the country, and of the haunts of the Navajoes with
"I would respectfully call the attention of the general commanding to the fact that since leaving the river the animals of my command
have had but five days' rations of corn; . . . have been almost constantly in the field . . . grass has only been found at long intervals . . .
the supply of water is uncertain . . . since their arrival in this country have they been in an efficient condition for field service. . . . The
result of all this is, that I cannot again this winter take the field with a mounted force. . . . I am now about to operate in detached
parties on foot, which plan of campaign I shall continue during the winter."
HDQS, NAVAJO EXPEDITION,
Fort Canby, N. Mex., October 5, 1863
"I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,"
Col. First New Mexico Cavalry, Comdg. Expedition
"CAPT.: I have the honor to report, for the information of the department commander, the on the 15th ultimo I left this post with
Companies C, D, G, H, and L, First Cavalry, New Mexico Volunteers, dismounted, for the purpose of exploring the country west of the
Oribi villages, and, if possible, to chastise the Navajoes inhabiting that region."
"On the 21st, arrived at the Moqui vallage. I found on my arrival that the inhabitants of all the villages, except the Oribi, had a
misunderstanding with the Navajoes, owing the some injustice perpetrated by the latter. . . . succeeded in obtaining representatives from
all the villages, Oribi excepted, to accompany me on the war-path. My object in insisting upon parties of these people accompanying me
was simply to involve them so far that they could not retract—to bind them to us, and place them in antagonism to the Navajoes. . . .
While on on this subject, I would respectfully represent that these people, numbering some 4,000 souls, are in the most deplorable
condition . . . they are as peaceable people; have never robbed nor murdered the people of New Mexico . . . and I earnesly recommend
that the attention of the Indian Bureau be called to this matter."
"From the Oribi village I marched my command 65 miles . . . Next day my command captured 1 boy and 7 horses and destroyed an
"On the 25th, we captured 1 woman and child, about 550 head of sheep and goats, and 70 head of horses, and destroyed another
Indian encampment. . . . At daylight next morning I sent out two parties of 50 men each, under the command of Capt.'s Pfeiffer and
McCabe. . . . Our camp of this day is about 25 miles northwest of the San Francisco Mountains."
"to the Zuni Indians, whom I employed as spies, I am greatly indebted for the zeal and ability displayed by them, particularly their
governors, Mariano and Salvadore, the latter of whom acted as my interpreter with the other Indians."
"I will venture to assert that no troops of the United States have ever before been called upon to endure as many hardships as did the
men of my commend on this scout, and I am proud to say that all was borne with the utmost cheerfulness, both of officers and men."
HDQS, NAVAJO EXPEDITION,
Fort Canby N. Mex., December 6, 1863
"I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant."
Col. First Cavalry, New Mexico Vols., Comdg. Expedition.
"GEN.: Inclosed herewith please find the official report of Col. Carson's last scout after the Navajo Indians. I beg to call the attention of
the War Department to what he says of the destitute condition of that peaceable and gentle tribe of Indians. Known as the Moquis."
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE NEW MEXICO,
Santa Fe, N. Mex., December 20, 1863,
Brig. Gen. LORENZO THOMAS,
Adjutant-Gen., U.S. Army, Washington,D.C.:
"I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,"
JAMES H. CARLETON,
"CAPT.: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding that on the 6th instant I left this post on an
expedition to the Cannon de Chelle, with commissioned officers, 14 and enlisted men, 375. Owing to the depth of the snow on the
mountain which divides the valleys of this section with those of the Pueblo Colorado, it took my command three days to reach that
place . . . my escort killed 1 warrior. . . . On the 12th, I arrived at the west opening of the Canon de Chelle."
"Shortly after my return to camp Sergt. Andreas Herrera, of Company C, whom I sent out whit 50 men the previous night, returned
bringing in 2 women and 2 children prisoners, and 130 sheep, and goats, and having killed 11 Indians. . . . I accompanied the former
parry, being very anxious about the safety of Capt. Pfeiffer's command, whom I had sent from Fort Canby to operate from the east
opening . . . Found 11 dead bodies and 5 wounded 2 (mortally). The other 3, thought badly wounded, owing to the skill and care
bestowed upon them by Dr. Shout, will no doubt recover."
"On my return to the main camp on the evening of this day I found, to my great surprise and satisfaction, Capt. Pfeiffer and his party
in camp, having accomplished an undertaking never before accomplished in war time—that of passing through the Canon de Chelle
from east to west. . . . He killed 3 Indians (2 men) and brought in 19 prisoners, women and children. . . . While en route on my return
to camp I was joined by 3 Indians with a flag of truce, requesting permission to come in with their people . . . next morning 60 Indians
arrived. . . . expressed their willingness to emigrate to the Bosque Redondo. . . . They declare that owing to the operations of my
command they are in a complete state of starvation, and that many of their women, and children have already died . . . I sent the party
to return through the canon from west to east, that all the peach orchards, of which there were many, might be destroyed, as well as the
dwellings of the Indians."
"Having now accomplished all that was possible in this vicinity I determined to return to Fort Canby for the purpose of being present to
receive the Indians as they arrived and to take measure to send out expeditions in other directions, as I feel certain that now is the time
to prosecute the campaign with vigor and effect the speedy removal of all the Indians north and west of Little Red River."
"In summing up the immediate results of my operations on this expedition, I find the following: Killed, 23; prisoners, 34; voluntarily
surrendered, 200 souls; captured, 200 head of sheep. In addition we have thoroughly explored their heretofore unknown stronghold,
and Canon de Chelle has ceased to be a mystery. . . . We have shown the Indians that in no place, however formidable or inaccessible
in the opinion, are they safe from the pursuit of the troops of this command, and have convinced a large portion of them that the
struggle on their part is a hopeless one. We have also demonstrated that the intentions of the Government toward them are eminently
"To the officers and men of my command I return my thanks for the zealous and efficient manner in which they have seconded my
efforts . . . I am especially indebted to the zeal and intelligence of my acting assistant adjutant-general, Lieut. Lawrence G. Murphy,
first Cavalry, New Mexico Volunteers, and I particularly recommend him to the notice of the general commanding as a most efficient
and energetic officer."
HDQS. NAVAJO EXPEDITION,
Fort Canby, N. Mex., January 23, 1864
"I am, captain, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,"
Col. First Cavalry, New Mexico Vols., Cmdg.
Report of Capt. Albert H. Pfeiffer, First New Mexico Cavalry,
FORT CANBY, N. MEX., January 20, 1864
"SIR: In pursuance to General Orders, No. 29 headquarters Navajo expedition, dated January 2, 1864, I left Fort Canby, N. Mex. On
the morning of the 6th instant with company H and 33 men of Company E, First Cavalry, New Mexico volunteers, en route for the east
opening of Canon de Chelle."
"On the first day I marched to the wheat fields, but saw nothing unusual or of importance; distance traveled, 9 miles. . . . Snow about
6 inches deep, and hard marching for the men (having had to pack their blankets and overcoats from the time they started until they
met the main body of the expedition), which they endured with heroic resolution. . . . the snow became deeper and the marching more
irksome and fatiguing. . . . marched 11 miles, to the east entrance of Canon de Chelle, where we encamped. . . . deep snow . . . to the
depth of 18 inches or 2 feet deep . . . Having observed a smoke in the distance I dispatched Sergeant Trujillo, of company H, with 15
men . . . He returned and brought back with him 8 Indian prisoners (women and children) in an almost famishing condition."
"During the passage of the cannon I observed plenty of oak, cotton-wood, and scrub -oak . . . Lieut. C. M. Hubbell, who was in charge,
of the rear had a great deal of trouble in proceeding with the pack trains, as the mules frequently (fell) through the ice and tumbled
down with their loads. All the indian prisoners taken thus far were half starved . . . The canon has no road except the bottom of the
creek. We traveled mostly on the ice, our animals breaking through every few minutes . . . Indians on both sides of the canon
whooping, yelling and cursing, firing shots and throwing rocks down upon my command. Killed 2 buck Indians in the encounter and 1
squaw . . . Six prisoners were captured . . . Here I saw several castles or villages . . . which was located high up among the rocks solidly
built . . . where probably some of the chiefs of the tribe resided in summer . . . and near it in the cannon was a large orchard of peach
trees . . . From this point westward the canon widens . . . At some places it spreads out like a beautiful savanna, where corn-fields, of
the savages are laid out with farmer-like taste . . . At other places the canon is confined to a narrow compass in a zigzag, meandering,
course, with high projecting rocks and houses built thereon, perforated with caverns and mountain fastness 300 or 400 feet above the
ground as hiding places."
"On the 13th, traveled about 10 miles, making 30 miles in all—the whole length of the canon, more or less—according to my estimate
of distances. As I proceed west the canon became more gently sloping and spreading out wider but mostly overflowed by the river. . . .
Next day, the 14th instant, 3 Indians (2 men and 1 woman) under a flag of truce arrived and saluted me. . . . Col. Carson arrived the
same day, and my mission was ended. Prisoners captured, 19."
"In conclusion, I have to observe that my thanks are due to Lieut.'s Hubbell, Ortiz, and Laughlin and the men of my command . . .
they having all determined to perish or force their way through this strong defile, which they gallantly accomplished without loss of life
"I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,"
Capt., First Cavalry, New Mexico Volunteers
Lieut. LAWRENCE G. MURPHY,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Navajo Expedition
Although it's an early photograph
of Fort Stanton, perhaps looking to
the southeast, Ygnacio and
Placido would not have had much
in the way of accommodations in
the fall of 1862 when they were on
temporary detached service with
the First Calvary of New Mexico
Volunteers in the Union Army,
because the seven-year-old fort
was destroyed by Confederate
forces when they retreated the
previous year. The fort was rebuilt
following the Civil War. The fort,
now on 27 acres of pristine land,
was established in 1855 to protect
settlers who were settling in the
Rio Bonito area from the
Mescalero Apaches and was
decommissioned in 1896. At one
time it was home to the Buffalo
Soldiers during the conflicts with Indians. General
Pershing, as a junior officer, was stationed at the fort. Billy
the Kid was incarcerated in the fort's guardhouse, for his
own protection during a murder trial where he was a
witness. Over the years the fort has served for federal
and state purposes. After closure as an Army post the Fort
served as a Merchant Marine tuberculosis hospital, a
WWII internee camp, a training school for the mentally
disabled and most recently as a low security women's
prison and hosted several juvenile rehabilitation
programs. It is currently a state monument and museum,
visited by thousands of tourists each year. For several
years there has been an on-going restoration program.
The fort is about 11 miles from Lincoln and would Ygnacio
or Placido have thought that 11 years later they would
reside in Lincoln. Capitan is about 7 miles distance from
the fort and would Ygnacio or Placido have thought that
150 years later that some of their descendants would
reside in the immediate area, Descendants and their
families are buried in Capitan.
The Sacred Heart Catholic Church is a beautiful
structure on the fort property. Baptism records from
1927 to 1956 are available on microfilm thanks to the
Col. CHRISTOPHER CARSON,
Comdg. Expedition against the Navajos, Fort Canby, N. Mex.
HDQRS. NAVAJO EXPEDITION,
Camp at Pueblo Colorado, N. Mex., August 19, 1863
Colonel Christopher "Kit" Carson
General Edward Canby
"CAPT.: I have the honor to report, for
information of the general commanding, that,
on the morning of the 20th instant, the
command left Pueblo Colorado to make an
examination of the country north of that
place, including the neighborhood of the
Canon de Chelly. About 5 miles from camp
found and destroyed about 10 acres of good
"Left this canon about 4 o'clock p.m., and
returned to the camp of the 20th, taking with
me packed on the all the grain not previously
consumed by them or destroyed by the
Canyon de Chelly, located in north eastern Arizona near the border with
New Mexico, long served as a home for the Navajo people. It was
invaded by Mexican forces in 1805 and in 1858 military forces traveled
through the canyon, and it was recommended that no command ever
enter again. In order to relocate the Navajos to reservations the
stronghold was invaded again in January 1864. Union forces, under the command of Colonel Carson led almost 400
men from the 1st New Mexico Cavalry from the west entrance to the canyon and Captain Pfeifer led about 100 men
from the east entrance (see Capt. Pfeifer letter, Jan. 20, 1864). Ygnacio and Placido served in Pfeifer's company at
the time. The campaign was successful and it was the final blow to convince a majority of the Navajos to relocate.
Canyon de Chelly is entirely owned by the Navajo Tribal Trust of the Navajo Nation. It is the only National Park
Service unit that is owned and cooperatively managed in this manner. Access to the canyon floor is restricted, and
visitors are allowed to travel in the canyons only when accompanied by a park ranger or an authorized Navajo guide.
The only exception to this rule is the White House Ruin Trail.
|oThe "Long Walk" started in January 1864 when groups of Navajos, led by the Army, were relocated from their
Otraditional lands in eastern Arizona Territory and western New Mexico Territory to Fort Sumner in an area
Ocalled the Bosque Redondo (round forest). Actually, the march began the previous July when the 1st Calvary
Oof New Mexico Volunteers led by Colonel Christopher “Kit” Carson raided and destroyed the villages, corn
|and wheat fields, peach orchards and
confiscated the livestock. The natives were
forced into starvation during the winter months
and the vast majority submitted to relocation, a
relocation that was tragic. At least 200 died
during the 450-mile trek. Between 8,000 and
9,000 people, that initially was planned for
about 5,000, were settled on an area of 40
square miles. About 400 Mescalero Apaches
arrived before the Navajos and there was no
harmony between the two tribes. There was a
problem with firewood and the quality of water.
The corn crop failed and there was inept
management. Four years later, in 1868, the
program was abandoned. Another treaty, a
treaty that worked, the Treaty of Bosque
Redondo, between the United States and
|Omany of the Navajo leaders was concluded at Fort Sumner on June 1, 1868.The Navajos were granted 3.5
Omillion acres of land in their homelands and other concessions such as schools with teachers were
Oestablished and annual deliveries of things the Navajos couldn't make. On June 18 the Diné people began
Otheir “Long Walk” back home. Eventually their reservation became more than 16 million acres.
Fort Union, in Mora County, 110 miles
northeast of Santa Fe, 8 miles from the
town of Watrous off I-15, was
established in 1851 to protect settlers
and travelers using the Santa Fe Trail. It
was also used as a depot to supply
other forts. This fort was actually three
different posts in the same area. As the
railroad came, use of the Santa Fe Trail
diminished, along with the need protect
those who utilized it. Moreover, pacification of the region in subsequent years led to the decision that Fort Union
was no longer necessary and it was abandoned in 1891. Although not much exists of the original fort, it is still one
of the better pre Civil War original forts and it became a national monument in 1956. There is an attractive visitor's
center, with some nice displays, manned by some very helpful park personnel. When it was mentioned to to an
employe that there was a great great grandfather and his son from New Mexixo who enlisted in the Union Army, he
went to his office and produced 43 pages of copies of letters from July 1862 to April 1865 referring to the army's
campaign against the Indians. Delivered in a nice folder with the words: "your tax dollars at work," it was greatly
appreciated and the information comprises much of this story. There is no documentation, so far, but it is very
likely that Ygnacio and Placido spent some time at Fort Union during their three-year enlistments.
Albert H. Pfeiffer was born in Germany in 1822, and at age 22 immigrated
to America, eventually settling in New Mexico. After several ventures he
was given a commission of Captain by the Governor of New Mexico due
to his early military schooling in Europe. He eventually rose to rank of
Colonel. When the Civil War broke out, Pfeiffer enlisted with the New
Mexico Volunteers, serving under Col. Carson. While their regiment
stayed primarily in New Mexico Territory, there were reconnaissance
missions, often involving Indian raids. During this time, Pfeiffer and
Carson forged a friendship that would remain throughout their lives. He
had a turbulent life, during and after his military service and was
considered quite a warrior. Fluent in several languages, including
Spanish, he must have been a good leader of men and probably Ygnacio
and Placido would agree. He passed away in 1881 and was buried near
Del Norte, Colorado.
Colonel Albert H. Pfeiffer