Cover image for Civil War in the Southwest : recollections of the Sibley Brigade
Civil War in the Southwest : recollections of the Sibley Brigade
Thompson, Jerry D.
First edition.
Publication Information:
College Station : Texas A&M University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxv, 195 pages : maps ; 25 cm.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E580.4.S5 C58 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In 1861 and 1862, in the vast deserts and rugged mountains of the Southwest, eighteen hundred miles from Washington and Richmond, the Civil War raged in a struggle that could have decided the fate of the nation.

In the summer and fall of 1861, Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley raised a brigade of young and zealous Texans to invade New Mexico Territory as a step toward the conquest of Colorado and California and the creation of a Confederate empire in the Southwest. Of the Sibley Brigade's sixteen major battles during the war, their most excruciating experiences came during the ill-fated New Mexico Campaign.

Civil War in the Southwest tells the dramatic story of that campaign in the words of some of the actual participants. Noted Civil War scholar Jerry Thompson has edited and annotated eighteen episodes written by William Lott "Old Bill" Davidson and six other members of Sibley's Brigade that were originally published in a small East Texas newspaper, the Overton Sharp Shooter, in 1887-88.

Written "to set the record straight," these veterans' stories provide colorful accounts of the bloody battles of Valverde, Glorieta, and Peralta, as well as details of the soldiers' tragic and painful retreat back to Texas in the summer of 1862. With his extensive knowledge of Sibley's campaign, Thompson has provided context for the eyewitness accounts-and corrections where needed-to produce a campaign history that is intimate and passionate, yet accurate in the smallest detail.

History readers will find much to ponder in these unique first-person recollections of a campaign that, had it succeeded, would have radically altered the history of the Southern Confederacy and the United States.

Author Notes

JERRY THOMPSON is an award-winning author or editor of eighteen books on the history of the Southwest, including Confederate General of the West: Henry Hopkins Sibley . Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and professor of history at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas, he holds a doctorate in history from Carnegie-Mellon University and serves as general editor of the Canseco-Keck History Series for Texas A&M University Press.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This book comprises 18 firsthand accounts of the Confederate invasion of New Mexico in the American Civil War. These accounts by Texas veterans of the campaign were unknown to most scholars until discovered about ten years ago in an obscure, small-circulation, Texas newspaper of the late 1880s. Ably edited and annotated by Thompson, a widely recognized authority on the Civil War in the Southwest, these documents describe the 1861-62 march from San Antonio to northern New Mexico; the battles of Valverde, Glorieta, and Peralta; and the long, deadly retreat from Santa Fe to San Antonio. Not unexpectedly, the veterans who wrote these accounts 20 years after the war got a few facts wrong, and they tended to exaggerate the significance of their battles and the whole campaign. Thompson corrects the errors in helpful endnotes, and in a 13-page introduction summarizes the campaign and places it in the wider context of the whole Civil War. These valuable recollections are generally accurate and always colorful, and they provide significant information on some obscure aspects of the New Mexico campaign. All levels and collections. R. G. Lowe University of North Texas