Friday, December 23, 2011

Battles Long Ago: First Stronghold 1873

Over at GFT: the first major engagement of the Modoc War, 1873.The red-hot rampage of War in the Lava Beds - now for your holiday reading pleasure!


  1. Another good one Chief. Don't know where you find the time for all of your research?

    Canby was quite a guy. There is a Fort Canby on my side of the big river, right across from Astoria I believe, a sister stronghold to Fort Stevens on your side. Grant in his memoirs said of him: "General Canby was an officer of great merit... His character was as pure as his talent and his learning were great."

    My vote for the future would be Canby's campaigns in the Southwest during the Civil War. I am not a big fan of that war - a blemish on our country I say. And the battles in New Mexico (Confederate Arizona) were a back water, certainly not decisive. But how could you resist doing up a story on battles fought by the Texas Lancers? What were they thinking? Were they copying Comanche tactics?

  2. I like the idea of Glorieta Pass in March. One of those piddly little events that turn on some bizarre coincidence (Chivington's fortuitous encounter w/ the Reb supply train...). Good one, mike...

  3. Child-killer Chivington of Sand Creek infamy?

    And fortuitous? More likely it was the scouting skill and local terrain knowledge of the Hispanic New Mexican Volunteers, and perhaps their hate of all things Texas had something to do with it also.

  4. Same-same.

    And I really will have to write this one up; it was a combination of pure dumb-ass luck and (as you suspected) good local recon. Chivington was ordered to hole up in Glorieta Passand turn the reb's position as they advanced, but instead they zipped past him and tore Clough (the Union commander) a new a-hole, driving him far to his rear and pretty much beating the crap out of his smaller force.

    At this point, with Chivington still fannying about in Glorieta Pass the leader of the New Mexican volunteers comes up and tells him that the NM scouts had sussed out the rebel trains nearby. Chivington sits there watching for an hour, comes roaring down the hillside and tears up the trains, burning everything and killing off something like 500 horses and mules.

    At this point Scurry (the reb commander) has to turn around and march home; he's in the middle of BF Nowhere and he's now out of supply.

    So while the NM recon element does good work, they don't have the strength to do the job unless Chivington is there sitting on his brains. Oh, and he later gets pimpslapped by a bunch of his fellow officers for making out like it's all due to his genius. Must have been a hell of a guy. Oh, well, the Comanche dealt with his ass.