The contemporary society boosts of a vast knowledge of historical happenings that have shaped it to be the way it is today. In this regard, there were moments when peace prevailed among different communities across the globe while others were marred by war and violence that resulted in the shedding of people’s blood. Among the societies across the globe that enjoys such historical memories of events that shaped its history as well as the course off its future is the United States. On the other hand, among such events is the New Mexico Campaign of the American Civil War, which occurred between February 1862 and April 1862. More important, whereas that have been negative perception towards war in the society in regard to whether it brings a solution or not, there are lasting impacts that the New Mexico Campaign of the American Civil War brought in the American society that are being felt up to date.
New Mexico Campaign of the American Civil War
The New Mexico Campaign during the American Civil War was a military operation that was led by the Confederate Brigadier General Hopkins Sibley, who launched an assault on the northern Mexico Territory. It is important to understand that the military action against the northern Mexico Territory was a military strategy, which if implemented successfully would result in an outright positioning of the Confederate army against their enemies, the Union army. However, contrary to the expectations, the New Mexico Campaign turned out to be a total failure. In reference to Wallen, Evans and Thompson (2008), Sibley’s New Mexico campaign was a disaster unparalleled in the history of the Southwest. More importantly, whereas Sibley’s-led army set out with victory in mind, the fell before the Union’s army, with more than 500 Texans laying dead from disease and battle. Note that Sibley lost up to one third of his soldiers during this war campaign.
There are several important things that were noted concerning the New Mexico Campaign. To begin with, it is important to understand that whereas the whole campaign has been termed as a failure, there are several instances of victory that were recorded. To begin with, there were several recruitment campaigns that were carried out by both parties that expected to boost each side prior to the war. For example, Taylor (1999) records that desperate for men and increasingly aware of the threat of a Confederate invasion, military authorities and territorial officials directed Canby to initiative a major recruitment drive, concentrated in northern New Mexico near Snta Fe and Fort Union. However, the Federal army was defeated in several areas by the Confederate army. Importantly, it has been noted that the victory by the Confederate was somehow miraculous.
Despite having an upper hand over the Federals, the Confederates gave up on the New Mexico campaign as a result of lack of supplies as well as diseases. Note that the Federals destroyed every supply they had, thus hindering the Confederates from taking advantage of their supplies in order to pursue them. Importantly the Confederates carried out attacks in various places on their way to New Mexico, most of which were narrowly defeated. Irrespective of the narrow victory that this army gained in various areas in New Mexico, the Confederates were unable to conquer this region as it had been their plan. On the contrary, researchers and scholars have argued in the past that the New Mexico campaign was a failure.
Why New Mexico Campaign War was fought
One of the most interesting issues in the history of wars is that they are not just fought. On the contrary, every war is justified within its context by the main participants. This is irrespective of the fact that some wars lead to massive casualties of both soldiers and the civilian whereas some wars are one-sided, i.e., either the soldiers or the civilians are much affected. In line with this, there are different reasons that were the main arguments for justification of the New Mexican Campaign.
To begin with, the ambition to possess power was one of the main causes of the New Mexico Campaign. As such, the Confederate wanted to rule from one part of the American territory to the other, thus increasing their presence in the then America. In reference to Walker (1933), the cause of the invasion was the desire to see the Confederacy a sea-to-sea power with all the advantages which a nation reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific between the parallels twenty-six and thirty-six north latitude might enjoy. Therefore, by subduing the southern region, the Confederate would be in a position to gain advantage over the Federals because this region was a critical point during the American Civil War. In this regard, it was argued that New Mexico would form as an important supply for the Confederate military as well as form an excellent communication link between the Northern and the Southern regions.
It is important to take note of the fact that the region of New Mexico was of critical significance, both to the Federal army as well as the Confederate. In line with this, it was believed that whoever conquered this region would be supplied with large amounts of war materials. As such, either the Federals or the Confederates stood a chance of increasing their presences in America by taking over the region of New Mexico. Walker (1933) notes that New Mexico could furnish large quantities of war materials; it could see to it that European contraband crossed the Rio Grande; and thus the situation in the north Mexican states could and did furnish food for thought to close observers in the department.
There are various issues that were considered by the Confederate in pursuing the war against New Mexico region. To begin with, this region was next to the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, by subduing it, the Confederate thought that this would allow them to supply their army with war materials by importing and transporting them through the sea, thus giving it an added over their opponents. It was also believed that because regions such as Arizona had vast amounts of gold, this would be used effectively in financing the war, and thus, relieve the treasury department of Richmond just as effectively.
Supplies for the army as well as excellent positioning to execute the war are important. However, this does not guarantee success. On the contrary, the availability of individuals with a willingness to fight is also necessary. In line with this, the Confederates also saw an opportunity of increasing their army by enlisting soldiers from the region of New Mexico. Researches and studies that have been carried out in the past indicate that there were many Southern sympathizers in this region who were waiting for an opportunity to enlist, with a California assemblyman asserting that thirty thousand men were ready to take up arms for the Confederacy in that state alone. In this regard, it was argued that the Confederate army would recruit soldiers on the way as they worked out on conquering New Mexico.
The ambitions to conquer New Mexico were further heightened by reports that the Federal army in the region was very weak. Accordingly, the supply of ammunitions except for small arms in the region was very limited. This was worsened by statistics that showed that the Federal army in the region had not received their pay and therefore, the amount in arrears had accrued up to six months. Therefore, the Confederate believed that most soldiers were disheartened by this factors, and could not resist attacked from the north. Furthermore, the previous climate condition did not favor most parts of this region. This therefore meant that important supplies were not acquired by the Federals as a result of poor climatic conditions. Walker (1933) argues that there had been extremely dry weather during 1859 and 1860, so that in 1861 it was difficult to secure mounts of any description in the Territory.
Historical Impact of the New Mexico Campaign
Every war in history has its own impact on generations to come. These impacts vary in magnitude. In line with this, the New Mexico Campaign had its own historical lasting impact. To begin with, the supply of soldiers was critical in during the American Civil War. Importantly, more soldiers meant that the army was strengthened and given the morale from the perspective that it was stronger than its opponent. In line with this, whereas the New Mexico Campaign was a failure, it is important to understand that it had an impact on the American Civil War in the sense that there was a major recruitment in the south that enhanced the Confederate fighting against the Federals.
Historical researchers and scholars have argued in the past that whereas the New Mexico campaign did not succeed in helping the Confederates to conquer this region and thus increase their territorial boundaries, this war formed an important basis for the success of the Confederates. Notably, after this failure, the Confederates came up with policies that helped its to achieve its goals in the American society. In reference to Woodworth (1996), Frazier has made use of obscure yet revealing primary sources to argue that the invasion of New Mexico, generally treated as a minor campaign, was the key to Confederate imperialism.
Notably, after the failure of New Mexico campaign, the Confederate introduced an imperial rule that segregated the south, thus leaving it as less developed as compared to the northern regions of the Americas. As such, there were numerous cases of slavery, especially in regard to the African Americans. In addition to this, the Confederate Imperialism resulted in a more tough approach towards the minority groups in American. For instance, most Native Americans were killed while others were displaced from their land to pave way for the imperial rule of the Confederate. This was a strategy that was used to increase the presence of the Confederate in America at that particular country. Furthermore, it is important to take note of the fact that the New Mexico campaign formed a strong foundation for execution of similar wars in the America. As such, the Confederate attacked key regions that were deemed to be of importance to the expansion of the Confederate rule.
The New Mexico Campaign remains as one of the most important historical wars during the American Civil War that was fought between the Federal and the Confederate. Importantly, the New Mexico campaign was expected to open new channels to the Confederate during this period in history that would create an avenue for them to conquer the southern region and thus increase their territorial boundaries. As such, it was expected that after conquering New Mexico, the Confederate would increase their comparative advantage in this war, not only by attaining victory over the Federal but also by enhancing the economic status of the Confederate by relieving the department of Richmond from financing the war. Furthermore, it was expected that after the taking over this region, the Confederate would access various ports, a factor that would increase their trade activities with traders from other regions across the globe.
However, contrary to this expectation, the New Mexico campaign, led by Sibley failed to achieve its target. Instead, the army failed to deliver on its expectations. Yet, this does not mean that the New Mexico campaign had no influence on the American society. On the contrary, this war acted as an important basis for the formulation of important policies that affected the whole war, especially in regard to the policies that were adopted by the Confederate. As a matter of fact, the Confederate adopted an imperialist policy that was used to segregate some regions while promoting others, leading to equality in the American society.