Rebels in the Rockies

Confederate Irregulars in the Western Territories

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About the Book

The Civil War in 1861 found Southerners a minority throughout the West. Early efforts to create military forces were quickly suppressed. Many returned to the South to fight while others remained where they were, forming a potentially disloyal population. Underground movements existed throughout the war in Colorado, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and even Idaho. Repeatedly betrayed and overwhelmed by Union forces and without communications with the South, these groups were ineffective.
In southern New Mexico, Southerners, who were the majority, aligned themselves with the Confederacy. Four small companies of irregulars, one Hispanic, fought (effectively) as part of the abortive Confederate invasion force of 1861–2. The most famous of these, the “Brigands,” were close in function to a modern special forces unit. In 1862 the Brigands were sent into Colorado to join up with a secret army of 600–1,000 men massing there, but were betrayed. Returning to Texas, the Brigands and the other irregulars were used for special operations in the West throughout the War; they also fought in the Louisiana-Arkansas campaigns of 1863–4.

About the Author(s)

Walter Earl Pittman is a leader in New Mexico historic preservation. He lives in Roswell, New Mexico.

Bibliographic Details

Walter Earl Pittman
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 260
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, 10 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7820-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1438-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Introduction 1

1. The New Mexico Territory in 1861 5

2. A Fresh Southern Breeze 12

3. Rebels at High Tide 27

4. The Confederate Army of New Mexico 37

5. The Brigands 45

6. Valverde 52

7. Fading Dreams 66

8. The Santa Fe Gamblers 72

9. Glorieta; Ambiguous Glory 78

10. The Arizona Adventure 97

11. The Long Retreat 103

12. Campaign’s End 117

13. War Comes to Colorado 123

14. Charley Harrison’s War 138

15. Madison’s Raid 154

16. The Reynolds Gang 168

17. Battles in the Bayous 186

18. Last Chances 202

19. Endgame 214

Conclusion 219

Chapter Notes 223

Bibliography 241

Index 249


Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Civil War Books and Authors; “there is much to commend in Pittman’s work. He has compiled in a single volume the fascinating stories of New Mexico’s rebels and followed them further than any author to date”—The Journal of Arizona History; “an excellent contribution to the history of the Civil War in the far west and the study of irregular operations during the war.”—The NYMAS Review; “an excellent contribution to the history of the Civil War”—Strategy Page; “Pittman has done a marvelous job in bringing the Civil War West to life…in-depth study…Pittman is a gifted storyteller who deftly navigates his way through a considerable amount of material covering a large geographic area…an entertaining read that is easy to recommend”—Southwestern Historical Quarterly; “of great interest to students of both Western history and Civil War history…well-researched, well-documented”—The Denver Westerners Roundup; “the author is to be commended for bringing this largely unknown facet of the war to the public’s attention”—The Journal of America’s Military Past; “only a small number of works on the war in the Far West have emerged. Rebels in the Rockies fills the hole in the existing literature quite nicely. Rebels in the Rockies is an important work on the war in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado”—Civil War News; “with an antiquarian’s passion for detail, Pittman presents mountains of information”—Civil War Times; “Pittman is an excellent writer and he utilizes the available evidence to the utmost”—Civil War Book Review.