Forty years at El Paso, 1858-1898; recollections of war, politics, adventure, events, narratives, sketches, etc., by W. W. Mills. Page: 57 of 163
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FORTY YEARS AT EL PASO.
Sibley had now commenced his retreat to Texas. Our
combined forces under Canby by a silent forced march
overtook them at 2 o'clock one morning at Peralto, the
home of the loyal Governor Connolly. We camped within
two miles of Peralto without being discovered. We
could hear the sounds of revelry at the governor's
house, then Sibley's headquarters. A brief consultation
was held. Roberts proposed to "go in at daybreak
and wake them up with the bayonet," and, of course,
the whole command would have voted to do so but
Canby's policy was to drive them out of the county without
further loss of life-to "win a victory without losing
men," he said, and perhaps he was wise.
We skirmished all that day, with advantages in our
favor, but neither commander seemed disposed to bring
on a general engagement, and that night Sibley, with
the full knowledge of Canby, continued his retreat down
the Rio Grande, a portion of our troops following them
as far as El Paso.
Of the thirty-five hundred Texans who entered New
Mexico only about eleven hundred returned to Texas.
The others were dead, wounded, sick, prisoners or deserters.
Many were buried on the west side of El Paso
street, near where the Opera House now stands.
This was a disastrous expedition. They were brave
men, but their management, discipline and at times their
food, was not good, and the mortality from disease was
I accompanied Colonel Roberts to Santa Fe, where
he detailed me as post quartermaster, but learning that,
while I was a prisoner at Fort Bliss President Lincoln
had appointed me collector of customs at El Paso, and
not intending to follow the profession of arms, I resigned
and returning to the home from which I had
been driven, took possession of that office.
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Mills, William W. Forty years at El Paso, 1858-1898; recollections of war, politics, adventure, events, narratives, sketches, etc., by W. W. Mills., book, 1901; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6112/m1/57/?q=Forty%20Years%20at%20El%20Paso,%201858-1898:%20Recollections%20of%20War,%20Politics: accessed June 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .