Notes and Documents
"I Have Been Worse Treated Than Any Officer":
Confederate Colonel Thomas Green's Assessment
of the New Mexico Campaign
Edited by Curtis W. Milbourn*
IN 1861, CONFEDERATE BRIGADIER GENERAL HENRY HOPKINS SIBLEY ORGA-
nized three regiments of cavalry, the Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Texas
Mounted Volunteers, into what became the nucleus of Sibley's Brigade.
With this brigade, Sibley planned to capture Union-controlled New Mex-
ico Territory and eventually expand the Confederacy to Southern Cali-
fornia. This effort at conquest is known as the New Mexico Campaign.'
Although the New Mexico Campaign held the promise of great gains
for the Confederacy, the chances of success were relatively slim. Addi-
tionally, the war east of the Mississippi River captured the attention of
* Curtis W. Milbourn holds an M.A. in history from Angelo State University, where he was
honored as the 2ooo Distinguished Graduate Student for the College of Liberal and Fine Arts.
He has written extensively about Tom Green, in his thesis and m various journals. Milbourn, is
a lieutenant with the San Angelo Police Department and helps homeschool his three children.
'Born in Louisiana in i816, Sibley graduated from West Point in 1838. He had extensive ser-
vice in the antebellum United States Army, participating in the Seminole War, the Mexican War,
and the Utah expedition against the Mormons. His experience seemed to portend success m the
Confederate Army. Unfortunately, "he was not the type ... to inspire the enlightened soldier to
follow him eagerly into battle." As it turned out, Henry Hopkins Sibley was "one of the worst gen-
erals to serve" the Confederacy. Ezra J. Warner, Generals zn Gray (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State
University Press, 1959), 276-277; Jerry Thompson, Confederate General of the West: Henry Hopkns
Szbley (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1996), xix (quotations).
For years, the far-ranging goal to expand the Confederacy has been generally accepted as the
reason for the campaign. However, two historians recently noted that "it is interesting that none
of the other chroniclers of Sibley's campaign mentions the designs on California. ... The plans
... sound a bit farfetched." T. T. Teel, "Sibley's New Mexico Campaign-Its Objects and the Caus-
es of Its Failures," Battles and Leaders of the Czvil War, Vol. 2, ed. Robert U. Johnson and Clarence C
Buell (New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1956), 7oo00; Thomas S. Ednngton and John Taylor, The Battle
of Gloneta Pass: A Gettysburg m the West, March 26-28, 1862 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexi-
co Press, 1998), 11 (quotation).
The historiography of the New Mexico Campaign and related subjects continues to increase as
interest in the Civil War grows. For years, the best book about the entire campaign was Martin
VOL. CV, NO. 2 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY OCTOBER, 2001
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/. Accessed March 29, 2015.