The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958

Zhe F7ormatio of Sibley 's rigade
ad the Marct to New 4exico
ON February 1, 1861, the Texas Secession Convention voted
to take the state out of the Union. Fifteen days later,
General David E. Twiggs, the Federal commander in
Texas, surrendered his department to state officials. By terms of
the capitulation, the nineteen Federal posts were evacuated and
the troops withdrawn. This left the western frontier undefended
against Indians, as well as open to a possible invasion by Union
forces from New Mexico. The Texas authorities took steps to re-
garrison the forts, and Lieutenant Colonel John R. Baylor, com-
manding a portion of the 2nd Regiment Texas Mounted Rifles,
marched to Fort Bliss, the westernmost post in the state.
Baylor reached his destination during the first week of July,
1861.2 Soon after occupying Fort Bliss with his force of 375 men,
he became aware of the danger of offensive action from the Union
forces stationed forty miles to the north at Fort Fillmore, New
Mexico. Instead of complacently waiting for the Federals to at-
tack, Baylor determined to strike first. By the end of July, the
Texan's "lightning" campaign had resulted in the surrender of
most Union troops located in the southern part of New Mexico,
bringing practically the whole of the southern section of that terri-
tory under Confederate control.8 With the danger from enemy
troops temporarily removed, Baylor created a "Provisional Gov-
ernment for the Territory of Arizona," and made himself military
governor. But his force was small and Baylor realized that it would
be only a matter of time before the remaining superior Federal
forces to the north would rally and attempt to eradicate what he
IRobert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel (eds.), Battles and
Leaders of the Civil War (4 vols.; New York, 1884-1888), I, 33-39-
2Ibid., II, o103.
sBaylor to Washington, September 21, 1861, War of the Rebellion: A Compila-
tion of the Oficial Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (13o vols.;
Washington, 188o-11ox), Series I, Vol. IV, x7-2o.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed September 20, 2014.