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    The decision to build a new post, approved by Colonel Canby and the quartermaster general, may have been made in response to the Confederate threat, but it also was considered necessary because the first Fort Union so badly decayed. Only a few weeks earlier, Second Lieutenant Enos, quartermaster department, had filed his report of an inspection of the post. He found that the buildings were "with scarcely a single exception rotting down; the majority of them almost unfit for occupation and in fact, all of them in such a dilapidated state as to require continual and extensive repairs to keep them in an habitable condition." He found many troops living in tents because of "the lack of quarters." In addition, "the Hospital, Commissary and Quarter Master's Buildings are entirely unfit for the purposes for which they are required." [48] There was no doubt that new facilities were indispensable at Fort Union.

    Captain Grover, Tenth Infantry, apparently was responsible for designing the earth work as well as overseeing its construction. He was assisted in superintending the work by Lieutenant William Joseph Leonard Nicodemus, Eleventh Infantry. Chapman's plans for the defense of Fort Union were "fully approved" by Colonel Canby. The new post was a square-bastioned fortification, surrounded by a ditch and earthen breastworks. On each side of the square were demilunes, housing quarters and storehouses, with earthen breast-works and a ditch on the outer sides. The square fortification, with a V-shaped demilune on each side, formed an octagon. Because the design had eight points, it was later called and is still often referred to as the "star fort." That name is incorrect for the design of the second Fort Union. At the time of its construction and use, it was known as the fieldwork.

Cuvier Grover
Cuvier Grover, Photo Collection, Fort Union National Monument.

     Regarding Chapman's request for more tents, Canby informed him that no additional tents were available for the troops at Fort Union but observed that "very good temporary shelters can be made from the remains of the old fort." [49] Canby's remark seems to confirm the dilapidated condition and questionable habitability of the original structures at the post. Chapman apparently could not spare any men from the construction of the earthwork to work on temporary shelters.

     Major Chapman reported that, on August 4, two men on "American horses" and believed to be Texas spies were seen near the post with spy glasses by a soldier encamped a few miles from Fort Union. The two men had also asked the soldier about the post, especially wanting to know how many companies were there. The next day the soldier led two officers from the post to the point where the "spies" had stood to observe. There they discovered tracks which they followed for several miles. Chapman had "no doubt they were Texan Spies" and assumed they were gathering information to plan an attack. He was confident, "if we have time to entrench the command we can defend ourselves against a much superior force." [50] In order to free as many troops as possible to work on the new post, Chapman sent Lieutenant Colonel Kit Carson and Captain Albert H. Pfeiffer, First New Mexico Volunteers, to Taos and Abiquiu to hire as many Utes and New Mexicans considered necessary to perform herding, scouting, and other duties at Fort Union. [51] Canby authorized the employment of Ute auxiliaries as soon as possible to harass any Texans they could find in the area. [52] On August 7 Carson and Pfeiffer left Fort Union to attempt to hire 100 Utes for duty. Because the army would have to feed the families of the Ute warriors while they were employed, Chapman authorized the purchase of additional beef and flour to do so. [53] A week later Carson returned with 20 Utes, and more were expected as soon as they received their annuities. The post quartermaster at Fort Union was directed to provide a few cooking utensils for the Utes. [54]

     On August 7 Chapman informed department headquarters that approximately 200 men were employed "every four hours day and night on the entrenchments." It was not clear how many different units of 200 worked each day nor how many soldiers total were engaged in construction. If each unit of 200 men worked two shifts in 24 hours, which seems likely, there would have been 600 at work. However many were assigned to the task, Chapman was pleased to report that the work was "progressing very well, and in a day or two more it will be sufficiently advanced for defense." [55]

     Because most of the soldiers were occupied in construction, Chapman had established "mounted pickets out five or six miles from the post on the North, East and South, occupying prominent points for their lookouts, from which they can see a large extent of country." If an enemy force were sighted by these pickets, they could quickly warn the entire command and preparations for defense could be made. No Texans had been seen, except for the spies of a few days earlier. In fact, Chapman explained, he had received no information about an invading force from the spies that were operating along the Santa Fe Trail and the Canadian route to Fort Smith. Fort Union did not appear to be in immediate danger. [56]

     As each day passed, Chapman expressed relief that there was no news of an advancing Texan force. This left his command free to pursue the construction of the earthwork. The round-the-clock efforts on the defensive entrenchments at the second Fort Union produced the desired results. On August 8 Chapman informed department headquarters that "our work is progressing well, and in a few days more will be in a state to be occupied by troops. It can be defended now." [57] Apparently this meant that the entrenchments and earthen mounds thrown up were defensible against an artillery attack, that artillery could be fired from within the earthwork, and that the troops could reside in tents within the walls. The construction of quarters and storehouses within the facility remained to be done. Those efforts could proceed at a more leisurely pace once the defensive framework was done.

     The volunteers raised in New Mexico were required to furnish their own clothing. Many of them were unable to purchase sufficient clothing for their needs because they had no money and had not been paid for their service. As a corrective to the "destitute condition" of the volunteers, Colonel Canby directed that they be issued clothing as needed with the cost to be deducted from their first receipt of pay. Some of the immediate families of volunteers had followed their soldiers to their station, such as Fort Union, and were living at or near the post. Because it was difficult for these families to find food, Canby authorized the selling of rations to the immediate families of volunteers, the cost to be deducted from their pay. [58] Such action was considered necessary to prevent the desertion of volunteers and to help with the recruitment necessary to fill some of the volunteer companies. According to Major Chapman, the company captains of the New Mexico Volunteers were having a difficult time recruiting, noting they "have scoured the country thoroughly to fill their companies." [59]

     Rumors of Confederate soldiers on the way to Fort Union continued. When word reached Canby on August 10 that Texans had reportedly been seen on the Canadian River near the Texas-New Mexico boundary, he sent a party of Pueblo spies to investigate and report. As soon as the men could be spared from duty at Fort Union, Chapman was ordered to send two companies of New Mexico Volunteers to Hatch's Ranch. If none could be spared, he was directed to send two companies of a new regiment of New Mexico Mounted Volunteers, being raised to serve for only six months, as soon as they were available. The troops sent to Hatch's Ranch were to protect that area from Indians as well as any Texas invaders and keep scouting parties out along the Canadian and Pecos valleys to watch for any movements. These troops were to report to Major Chapman. They were to draw supplies from Fort Union. In anticipation of a possible military threat to Fort Union, Canby directed that the women and children at the post were to be sent to Mora or Las Vegas whenever their continued presence would interfere with operations and defense of the installation. If this became necessary, rations were to be provided for the women and children from the stores at Fort Union. [60] Colonel St. Vrain, who had a home and grist mill at Mora, reported a few days later that quarters for women and children could be had at Mora if needed. [61]

     The demands on the commissary supplies at Fort Union were temporarily increased in late August when the officers and men who surrendered near Fort Fillmore arrived there. Captain Alfred Gibbs, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, was in charge of these parolees. The temporary camp was under command of Captain Joseph Haydn Potter, Seventh Infantry. They remained at Fort Union until organized into a column for the march across the plains in September. [62] Major Chapman was instructed to establish a camp for the paroled troops near enough to Fort Union that they could be supplied from the storehouses but far enough away from the garrison to prevent interference with its duties. The camp was situated approximately one mile north of the site of the first Fort Union. [63]

     On August 14, 1861, an agent called Mr. Perrin (first name unknown) of the war department assigned to assist with the raising of volunteers arrived at Fort Union on his way to Santa Fe. Chapman filled him in on what had been done at the post regarding recruitment and training of New Mexico volunteers. Perrin informed Chapman that a full supply of clothing and camp and garrison equipage for 200 volunteers had been sent from Fort Leavenworth for New Mexico on July 22. [64] These supplies would help outfit a portion the volunteers raised in the territory. That a shortage existed was pointed out by Major Chapman, who declared "there is not a tent at this post for issue to the Vols. or other troops who may arrive." [65] Colonel Canby replied that, until the supply wagons arrived, the troops at Fort Union would have "to bivouac under such temporary shelter as can be provided." To help, he ordered all the supplies, clothing, and camp equipage in the department to be sent immediately to Fort Union. [66] Fortunately for the Union troops in the department, the supply trains from Fort Leavenworth kept coming. At least five contract trains had arrived at Fort Union between July 18 and early August. On August 17 the first of seven more supply trains reached Fort Union, and the rest arrived during the next few weeks. At least two of the trains had followed the Cimarron Route, and it was believed the others might do the same. It was later learned, however, that the other trains had been diverted to the Mountain Route by the commander at Fort Larned. Some of those trains came over Raton Pass and others came via Fort Garland. Chapman held troops in readiness at Fort Union to march to the assistance of any of these trains if needed. [67]

     In addition to keeping a close watch on the Santa Fe Trail, Chapman kept small parties of the New Mexico Mounted Volunteers out along the Canadian and Pecos rivers to watch for Texans and Indians. He found the volunteers to be as reliable as the spies that had been employed for that purpose. By August 15 these parties had seen "no body of Texans, Indians nor their trails." [68]

     As the number of volunteer troops increased in the department, some of the regular army companies were transferred. On August 15 Colonel Canby ordered Major Chapman to send two companies of mounted riflemen from Fort Union to Fort Wise, Colorado Territory, where they were needed to help protect the Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail. These could be spared because Chapman had four companies of New Mexico Volunteers (three foot and one mounted) "prepared for service on the plains for the protection of the trains as they approach Fort Union." [69] Until volunteer troops at Fort Union were required in the field, Chapman determined that "the work . . . on the entrenchments will go on as usual." [70] Colonel St. Vrain was requested by Chapman to designate the four companies to be utilized to protect the supply trains, if that became necessary, and Lieutenant Colonel Carson was suggested by Chapman as the "appropriate" commander for those troops in the field. Because the fieldwork held highest priority, "the men however will continue to work in the trenches, until official notice is given of their march." [71]

     Major Chapman became concerned about his position in relation to the officers of the New Mexico Volunteers. Colonel St. Vrain and Lieutenant Colonel Carson both outranked him, and Chapman worried that they might be given command of Fort Union or that he would be unable to give orders to them if necessary. He attempted to avoid giving them a direct order but simply requested or suggested what he wished they would do. It was not a good arrangement. He asked Colonel Canby for clarification of who was superior. Canby informed Chapman that the volunteers were not assigned to Fort Union for the purpose of commanding the post, but "in any combined operations the senior must command." Canby declared that "officers of the regular army will be assigned to duty according to their brevet rank which will remove to some extent the difficulties in the way of command." [72] Major Chapman was a brevet lieutenant colonel. [73] The issue of rank may have seemed trivial, but it was later to be an important factor in the defense of Fort Union and the defeat of Confederate forces in New Mexico.

     The lookout for Texans in New Mexico continued. A few days after Fort Stanton was evacuated, a Union spy reported that the site had been occupied by about 200 Texans. Approximately 25 of those Texans, "with pack mules," were believed by the informant to be headed toward Fort Union. Major Chapman sent Captain Pfeiffer and the Utes who had been employed by Carson to investigate the report that some 25 Texans were coming from Fort Stanton and, if they found them, to "annoy this party." At the same time, a detachment of Company D, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, under command of Lieutenant Joseph Tilford, was sent from Fort Union "with pack mules in the direction of Fort Stanton with the view of cutting off a scouting party of Texans known to be in route from Fort Stanton in the direction of this post." [74] If the Texans really were there, Chapman hoped one of these parties would catch them.

     Colonel Canby believed that the Texans reportedly moving north from Fort Stanton would more likely attempt to capture the supply trains coming from Fort Leavenworth than move against Fort Union. The supplies in the wagon trains, if they could be diverted to the Confederates, would help outfit more Texan soldiers, and many more Texans would be required to make a successful assault against the post. It was essential to provide protection for those supply trains and see that the commodities reached Fort Union. Major Chapman was directed by Canby to make every effort "to protect these trains but without reducing your command below what is necessary to place the defense of Fort Union upon a sure footing." This meant that the troops should be kept working on the earthwork until the spies reported evidence of a threat to the wagon trains. Canby enjoined Chapman to keep the "Utes and Spies and Guides . . . out in all directions and every means used to harass and retard their approach." [75] Chapman reported on August 19 that he had "heard nothing more of the Texans." The next day he notified Canby that one of the scouting parties, which had been down the Pecos Valley and within 65 miles of Fort Stanton, returned to Fort Union with good news. "They saw no Texans, nor trails of them or any body of men and everything was quiet on their route." [76]

     With no report of an immediate Confederate threat, work continued around the clock on the entrenchments at the second Fort Union. Until the trenches and earth walls were completed, little else was done at the post. Chapman reported to Canby on August 17 that work on new storehouses for the quartermaster and commissary supply depots would begin as soon as it was no longer "necessary to employ the whole force of the Command on the defenses of the Post." He suggested to the department commander that the fieldwork was "well suited for an Ordnance Depot" and recommended rebuilding that facility there, "where temporary storehouses might be commenced at once." [77] Everything seemed to be going well at the fieldwork except for a shortage of wagons at the post, which according to Chapman, "will necessarily retard our work to a considerable extent." [78] Every day that passed without word of a Confederate advance permitted the construction work to proceed.

     Captain Pfeiffer and the Ute scouts returned to Fort Union on August 21, after conducting a thorough search south and east of Hatch's Ranch for the Texans reportedly moving north from Fort Stanton. They "saw no signs whatever of them." Major Chapman hoped to keep the Utes in the field, protecting the wagon road between Anton Chico and Albuquerque, but the Utes decided to go home and refused to go on another expedition. Carson tried to persuade them to stay but the Utes declined, stating that sickness in the chief's family required them to return home. Three parties of New Mexican spies were sent to keep watch along the Canadian and Pecos rivers and the country south of the road between Anton Chico and Albuquerque. Although there appeared to be no Texan threat in the vicinity or along the Santa Fe Trail, as a precautionary measure Lieutenant Colonel Carson left Fort Union with four companies of New Mexico Volunteers on August 23 to provide "protection of Government trains on the Cimarron route." [79] Perhaps these troops could be spared because the entrenchments at the fieldwork were nearing completion.

     On August 26, 1861, Major Chapman notified Colonel Canby that the earthwork, begun just over three weeks before, "is now ready for occupation, but some parts of it require dressing off." Apparently none of the quarters or storehouses in the fieldwork were completed, but the artillery could be placed inside the walls and the troops could reside in tents inside the enclosure in the event of an attack. Chapman reported that a supply train arrived on August 30 and unloaded at the fieldwork, indicating that some sort of cover (perhaps only tents) was available to protect the commissary provisions in that train. [80] As a defensive position, the new fieldwork appeared secure. Work on the other structures could proceed at a more leisurely pace, without working 24 hours per day. Chapman praised Captain Grover and Lieutenant Nicodemus for overseeing the construction. He described the facility to Canby:

     "It is not as capacious as it might have been under other circumstances, but considering the time at which it was commenced, the necessity for its rapid completion and the force to be employed upon it, we have accomplished more than I expected and I believe with a Garrison of 600 good and reliable troops it can be defended against any force likely to be brought against it." [81]

     Although not all were present at the post for duty, the aggregate garrison of Fort Union at the end of August was 1,325, representing a total of 19 companies (11 of which were New Mexico Volunteers). [82] Upon receipt of Chapman's report on the new facility, Colonel Canby immediately sent words of thanks and praise for all who labored on the fieldwork. [83]

     Canby directed that all public property at the original Fort Union be moved as quickly as possible to the fieldwork. Major Chapman believed that perishable commissary items should be kept in the old storehouse until adequate facilities were completed at the fieldwork or an emergency situation arose (such as an imminent attack on the post), when the commodities could be moved to the fieldwork "in a very short time." The post commissary officer, Second Lieutenant Asa Bacon Carey, Seventh Infantry, requested instructions from the department chief of commissary, Captain John Porter Hatch, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, as to whether he should leave the subsistence supplies in the old storehouse or move them to the fieldwork immediately. [84]

     Hatch referred the matter to Canby, who resolved the issue and directed that the completion of the "storehouses at the field work be prosecuted as rapidly as possible." Meanwhile, the most perishable commodities, "such as sugar &c that require shelter will be kept in the present storehouses until the new ones are finished or until there is a pressing necessity for removing them." [85] A similar request for direction from Captain Shoemaker at the department ordnance depot at the original Fort Union elicited a similar response. Canby directed Shoemaker to leave any perishable stores in the old storehouses until secure facilities were completed at the fieldwork. [86] Major Chapman was awaiting the pending arrival of Captain John C. McFerran, assistant quartermaster, to oversee the construction of new storehouses at the fieldwork. [87]

     While all the changes that came with the outbreak of the Civil War were occurring at Fort Union and within the Department of New Mexico, there was also a change in the civilian government of the territory. When New Mexico Territorial Governor Abraham Rencher, a southerner by birth and secessionist by choice, left New Mexico for the States at the end of August 1861, he and his family were furnished at Fort Union with transportation, a military escort, and "such other facilities as may be necessary for the safety and accommodation of his family in crossing the plains." The quartermaster department was to provide transportation and camp equipage. The commissary department was "authorized to sell the subsistence stores that may be needed by the Governor and his family." [88] Dr. Henry Connelly, a Santa Fe trader who had married a widow of a prominent New Mexican merchant family, was inaugurated as the new territorial governor on September 4, 1861. Connelly did his best to stimulate loyalty among the New Mexicans and to encourage them to enlist in the volunteer regiments. He warned them not to listen to Confederate partisans, pointing out that the Texans were old enemies of New Mexico.

     Colonel Canby authorized the troops in New Mexico to arrest citizens who were suspected of being Confederate sympathizers or spies. Major Chapman sent a detail from Fort Union to the nearby town of Loma Parda on August 27 to arrest two men "upon information received from Albuquerque" that they might be Texas spies. Chapman questioned the men and concluded they had come to Loma Parda primarily to gamble with the soldiers who went there while off duty to drink, gamble, and patronize prostitutes. The captives were released after taking an oath to the Union and promising "that they would immediately leave the vicinity of this post." [89]

     On orders from Colonel Canby that David Stuart and J. R. Giddings at Anton Chico were suspected of spying for the Confederates, Chapman dispatched 25 dragoons with pack mules, under command of Lieutenant Gay, to arrest the pair. Gay was warned to avoid being seen along the way, if possible, and not to engage any force encountered. "Run no unnecessary risks," Chapman ordered, "as your only object will be to arrest the above named persons, and it should be effected as quietly and expeditiously as possible." [90] Gay succeeded in capturing Giddings at Anton Chico, but learned there that Stuart had sold everything and left the town ten days previously. Stuart was considered an agent for the rebels, who had gone to join them. Giddings, who apparently implicated Stuart as being a Confederate spy, was brought to Fort Union and held in confinement until his case could be decided. [91]

     Giddings was later released upon taking an oath of allegiance to the United States. [92] A few days later some of the officers of the First New Mexico Volunteers, who were recruiting at Anton Chico, reported that Giddings was there telling the New Mexicans not to enlist. He "openly declared himself a pure Texan and opposed to the U.S. Government, and has by his great influence with the Mexicans in his neighborhood prevented many from joining the volunteers as they desired to do." Major Chapman ordered that a detail from the volunteers stationed at Hatch's Ranch be sent to arrest Giddings and return him to Fort Union. [93] Giddings was tried by a military commission on October 28, the results of which were not found. [94]

     Late in August a civilian named Griffith (first name unknown) was arrested at one of the encampments beside Fort Union, questioned about his loyalty, and detained. Griffith claimed he had come to Fort Union for the purpose of joining a train bound for the states. Chapman kept him under arrest, however, surmising he might be a spy who would endeavor to report to Confederate officers if released. [95] Another civilian, Robert Speakman, was arrested at Tecolote and brought to Fort Union after being charged by some New Mexicans with spying for the Texans. Other citizens claimed that Speakman was "a good character and believe the accusation false." Chapman held Speakman in arrest at Fort Union, awaiting Canby's decision on his case. [96] After reviewing the situation, Canby ordered that Speakman be held until his case could be decided in the territorial courts. [97] Speakman was released several weeks later after he swore an oath of allegiance to the United States. [98]

     Because it was uncertain when Captain McFerran would arrive at Fort Union to undertake erection of storehouses, Canby urged Major Chapman to proceed. "It is important," Canby directed, "to lose no time in getting the store houses for supplies in readiness." He suggested to Chapman that the storehouses might best be placed in the demilunes, but left the placement to the post commander. [99] Canby later directed Chapman to follow the plan for barracks and storehouses at the fieldwork as Captain Grover originally planned, placing them in the demilunes. The quartermaster department was directed to provide the necessary materials. Chapman was to utilize any volunteers available for work on the structures. He was short of manpower until Carson returned from his expedition on the Cimarron Route.

     Carson had led the four companies of volunteers from Fort Union as far as the Cimarron River, finding no Texans, Indians, nor supply trains on the route. Surmising that the contractors' trains had gone via the Mountain Route, Carson returned to the post. On the return march, he sent a scout of eight volunteers to travel down the Canadian River valley as far as the mouth of Ute Creek, near the New Mexico-Texas border, to watch for Indians or Texans and report back to Fort Union when they found something or completed the assignment. [100]

     Upon Carson's return to Fort Union in mid-September, Colonel St. Vrain resigned as colonel of the First Regiment of New Mexico Volunteer Infantry. Carson was promoted to fill the vacancy. A few days later the First Regiment was changed from infantry to mounted volunteers. Those who could supply their own horses were compensated for doing so, and those who had no horses were provided mounts by the quartermaster department. [101] Although the first volunteers had been mustered in for a term of one year and later recruits had been signed for six months, a few for only three months, all new volunteers were to be signed up for a term of three years. All the short-term volunteers were offered the opportunity to extend their enlistment for three years when their original time expired. If the Confederate threat increased, as expected, more troops would be needed to defend the territory. By the end of September the aggregate garrison at the post was 1,679 (1,439 available for duty), including troops of 18 companies (mostly volunteers), the highest ever recorded in the history of the fort. [102] That did not include the large camp of parolees who had surrendered at San Augustin Springs.

     Their camp was located along Wolf Creek more than one mile north of the original Fort Union, below a spring and small ranch belonging to Captain Shoemaker of the ordnance depot. Shoemaker irrigated a garden at his ranch, and the encampment of surrendered troops discovered on September 14 that they had no water supply in the bed of Wolf Creek. The camp commander, Captain Potter, discovered that Shoemaker had diverted the water from the spring to water his "cabbage garden." Potter stationed a guard at the spring to see that the water flowed past the camp and protested to Major Chapman. Chapman asked Shoemaker about his right of possession, and apprised Potter of the reply. "Capt. Shoemaker informs me he has been in undisturbed possession of his garden for ten years past, and no one has ever interfered with his property before." Shoemaker had constructed a building, planted the garden, and built the irrigation dam "at his own expense." Because Chapman found no record of a military reservation, although a reservation extending two miles in each direction from the flag staff of the post had been established in 1852, he concluded that the property in question was Shoemaker's "private property." Potter was not to interfere with Shoemaker's spring. [103] Chapman apparently requested that Shoemaker not shut off the water for the temporary camp, but no record was found to indicate whether or not he complied.

     Except for the parolees, who would soon depart for the States, [104] the primary task for the troops at Fort Union continued to be the construction of quarters and storehouses at the fieldwork. The prolonged engagement in labor on the new fort reduced the time available for military training. Chapman wanted them to be good soldiers as well as good laborers. He was concerned about the lack of decorum among the troops, especially the volunteers, and interrupted construction work at noon on Saturday, September 21, to allow the men time to prepare for a "thorough and rigid inspection" the following morning. He ordered all company commanders to carry out the inspection, "and every man found out of order in any particular will be placed in charge of a non-commissioned officer, who will see the deficiency repaired, and the men will be inspected again at Retreat by his Company Commander." [105] The inspection was intended to improve the military qualities of the men. Chapman also wanted improvements in their labor.

     The men were back at their construction duties on Monday, September 23. Captain Grover and Lieutenant Nicodemus were still in charge of construction. They were directed by Major Chapman to report all soldiers who failed "to perform their duties properly, that they may be brought to trial and punishment for their neglect." Chapman was determined to push the project to completion as quickly as possible. He made his position clear to everyone at the post: "Much laborious work has already been accomplished, but much is yet to be done before the commencement of winter, and it is expected that every officer & soldier will exert himself in a faithful performance of his duties until the defenses, store-houses &c are completed." [106] When some of the volunteer companies completed their training and were assigned to other stations, Chapman became concerned about the loss of labor. Even though the quartermaster department was authorized to hire mechanics and laborers to help with construction, Chapman wanted to keep "several hundred of the volunteers" on extra duty there until "the commencement of winter." [107] Canby granted the request, noting that "it is expected that as much as possible of the work . . . will be done by the soldiers." The commander of the camp of instruction was instructed to furnish "any detail for mechanics and laborers" that might be needed. Four companies of the First New Mexico Volunteers were assigned from the camp of instruction to the garrison of Fort Union, where they could continue to labor on the fieldwork. [108] The urgency of finishing the new fortification was increased with the arrival of news that Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley, in command of three regiments of Texas Volunteer Cavalry (approximately 2,700 officers and men), was preparing to march from San Antonio to Fort Bliss, from where they would join the Confederate forces already in New Mexico. [109] Sibley had commanded Fort Union only a few months before and knew better than any Confederate officer the trove of supplies located there and the importance of capturing the post.

Henry Hopkins Sibley
Henry Hopkins Sibley, courtesy of Library of Congress.

     When Captain McFerran arrived to take charge of the department's quartermaster depot at Fort Union in early October, he assumed control over the workers at the fieldwork. Captain Grover, who had designed the new fort and had been in charge of its construction from the beginning, objected to being superseded. Chapman, who as post commander had no authority over the department quartermaster or depot, requested Colonel Canby's intervention so "the work may go on as rapidly as possible." [110] Canby ruled that construction of defensive works was under the engineer rather than quartermaster department and Captain Grover would continue to oversee construction until he was transferred (within a few days) from Fort Union, at which time Captain McFerran would be appointed. Grover had been assigned to another station, but his move had been delayed to allow him to continue with the project. [111]

     Who was in charge of construction was only one problem causing delays. Unauthorized persons were bringing whiskey onto the military reservation and selling it to the troops, especially the volunteers. Some of the volunteers were unable to work because of intoxication. Major Chapman asked Canby for authority to clean out the whiskey traders. Canby's directions were clear: "The whiskey is entirely in your own hands. You can clear out every one living on the reservation who sells it, prohibit its introduction except by authority and confiscate all that is brought in in violation of orders." In addition to the liquor, Chapman was authorized to confiscate all the wagons and animals used to bring whiskey onto the reservation without his permission. Anything seized could then be sold and the proceeds used for the hospital and care of the "infirm." [112]

     To add teeth to his instructions, Canby issued an order to deal with the problem:

     "The unauthorized introduction, sale, or disposal in any manner whatever of spirituous or intoxicating liquors, within or about the military reservation at Fort Union is forbidden. All intoxicating liquors introduced without authority, and all wagons and other vehicles, animals or other property, used in carrying on this illicit traffic, will be seized and sold, and the proceeds applied to the benefit of the sick at the post and camp. If the seizure is made upon information one-half of the proceeds will go to the informer. . . . In addition to this forfeiture the offender will be liable to such punishment as may be inflicted by the sentence of a Military commission." [113]

     A short time later Spiegelberg & Bros., sutler for the New Mexico Volunteers, was accused of violating the rules prohibiting the sale of liquor to the troops at Camp Chapman. The firm declared that their agent had been "repeatedly given instructions . . . not to Sell or dispose of a drop of any kind of intoxicating liquor to any of the soldiers." If the agent had disobeyed, Spiegelberg wanted to know. He promised to replace the agent "immediately" and pledged that his firm was not in the business of violating military rules. [114] Chapman informed Spiegelberg that his agent had been selling whiskey illegally to the troops and had been ordered to stop. If he failed to do so, Chapman declared he would close the Spiegelberg store and remove the agent from the post. [115] When further violations were discovered the following year, the Spiegelbergs were ordered to keep "no liquor in decanters or other small quantities" at the store. The new post commander, Colonel Paul, warned that failure to comply would result in "having your store closed." [116] In July 1862 Solomon Beuthner, who may have been an employee of Spiegelberg & Bros., was appointed the sutler for the New Mexico Volunteers. [117]

     There seemed to be plenty of whiskey at Fort Union, but other supplies were running short. On October 9 Major Chapman reported to department headquarters that there was no flour left at the post. He was awaiting a shipment from the mill at Mora, but until it arrived rations were short. Some of the companies ready to depart for other stations were being held at Union until flour arrived so they could carry their subsistence with them. The flour arrived on October 10, and the companies moved out the same day. The department quartermaster was directed to investigate why there was a "deficiency of flour." [118] There was also a shortage of ammunition in the department. Colonel Canby directed that "until the new supply of ammunition is received target practice in this Department is suspended." [119] A few days later the sale of commissary provisions to officers at Fort Union was limited to one ration per day because of the shortage of supplies. [120] Some relief was provided as the number of troops at Fort Union was reduced. At the end of October 1861 the aggregate garrison was 676 (554 available for duty). [121]

     When that reduction occurred by transfer to other stations, Colonel Canby directed that Major Chapman exercise "the utmost vigilance . . . in watching the country east of Fort Union," especially the Canadian and Pecos valleys. Constant patrols were to be kept in the field from Fort Union and Hatch's Ranch to avoid any surprises by the Texans. [122] There continued to be unconfirmed rumors that Texans were heading toward Fort Union along the Pecos and Canadian rivers and into Colorado Territory along the Arkansas River. [123] If the troops found anyone suspected of giving aid to or sympathizing with the Confederates, they were to arrest them and bring them to Fort Union for trial. The number arrested continued to grow.

     When that reduction occurred by transfer to other stations, Colonel Canby directed that Major Chapman exercise "the utmost vigilance . . . in watching the country east of Fort Union," especially the Canadian and Pecos valleys. Constant patrols were to be kept in the field from Fort Union and Hatch's Ranch to avoid any surprises by the Texans. [122] There continued to be unconfirmed rumors that Texans were heading toward Fort Union along the Pecos and Canadian rivers and into Colorado Territory along the Arkansas River. [123] If the troops found anyone suspected of giving aid to or sympathizing with the Confederates, they were to arrest them and bring them to Fort Union for trial. The number arrested continued to grow.

     Major Chapman became concerned about the adequacy of the guardhouse at Fort Union as an increasing number of suspected Confederate partisans were brought to the post. He pointed out to Colonel Canby that the old guardhouse was "small, inconvenient and crowded." It was in a "dilapidated condition" and not secure from escape. Chapman suggested to Canby that citizens who were arrested might be better kept at the jail in Mora or some other town. [124] An adequate guard detail from the garrison could keep the prisoners confined, regardless of the facilities. Canby decided the best way to deal with the problem was to convene a military commission as soon as possible at Fort Union to hear the pending cases. [125] The following day Colonel Canby declared martial law throughout the territory, giving the military jurisdiction over all citizens accused of any crime or violation of orders. Thus a military commission, after hearing witnesses, could decide and punish any citizen who gave support of any kind, covert or public, to the Confederacy. [126]

     Fort Union continued to be responsible for protecting the vital route of supply from the Missouri River from Indian or Texan raids. The supply trains were still encouraged to follow the Raton or Mountain Route because it was considered safer, especially since the establishment of Fort Wise (later Fort Lyon) near Bent's New Fort at the Big Timbers in late August 1860. The wagonmasters, however, preferred to follow the shorter Cimarron Route to avoid the difficult road over Raton Pass. There was concern that winter snows would close Raton Pass. Captain McFerran, in charge of the quartermaster depot at Fort Union, requested authorization from the chief quartermaster in New Mexico, Major James Lowry Donaldson at Santa Fe, to utilize volunteer soldiers to work on a new, more direct road east of Raton Pass and to make it "passable for wagons" between Forts Union and Wise. McFerran believed that a company of volunteers from each post, working from each end of the proposed route, could do the necessary cutting down of banks and improve the stream crossings in approximately one month. He hoped such improvements would make the route acceptable to freighters and "soon be the only route used." This would help ensure the safe arrival of supplies for the department.' [127]

     Colonel Canby approved the proposal and directed Major Chapman to detail a company of volunteers to begin working on the road as soon as possible. Company C, First New Mexico Mounted Volunteers, commanded by Captain Francisco P. Abreu, was sent "to open the proposed new route" on November 20. Canby requested the commanding officer at Fort Wise, Captain Elmer Otis, Fourth Cavalry, to do the same. McFerran was directed to furnish the detail "with the necessary tools and transportation." He was to send a guide to assist the work party from Fort Wise. [128] The new route between Forts Union and Wise was later found to be 165.5 miles long, considerably shorter than the approximately 238 miles via the Mountain Route over Raton Pass. Canby sent Otis a map of the proposed route, which has not been located, and gave detailed instructions for "opening a practicable road for heavily loaded trains." [129] Lieutenant John Pope had found a passage between the Canadian River and the Big Timbers in 1851, [130] and his route may have been the path for this wagon road developed in 1861.

     On December 22, 1861, Captain Abreu and his company returned to Fort Union. Abreu reported that they had "made a very good road, shortening the distance &c." [131] It is not known if this route was used by the supply trains. William H. Moore, the post sutler during the Civil War, recalled years later that supply trains continued to follow the Cimarron Route more than any other during the years of that conflict. [132] A train of 40 wagons, carrying clothing, camp and garrison equipage, and ordnance, which apparently followed the Cimarron Route, arrived at Fort Union on November 27. [133]

     While troops were working on improving the route of supply to New Mexico, Canby reorganized the military department. He established six military districts, each under an assigned commander, to administer the territory. Each district was responsible for enforcing martial law, keeping an eye on the Indians, and dealing with Confederate troops should they appear. Fort Union was in the second or eastern district, encompassing the region "east of the Pecos river, Moro Peaks and Sangre de Christo Mountains, and north of Anton Chico." The camps of instruction and depots at Fort Union and Albuquerque remained under direct control of the department commander. [134] Major Chapman, as commander of Fort Union, was in charge of this district. Chapman was also assigned the duties of acting inspector general at Camp Cameron (formerly Camp Chapman), the camp of instruction at Fort Union, when Major Paul was transferred to Santa Fe. [135] Chapman soon communicated to department headquarters, "I find it impossible to perform my duties with the Mexican Vols. and militia without an interpreter and ask authority to employ one." Permission was granted the next day. [136]

     Language was only one of the problems Chapman had with a blend of Anglo and New Mexican troops, compounded by the combination of regulars and volunteers. When the troops began moving into quarters at the fieldwork, Lieutenant Colonel J. Francisco Chavez, First Regiment New Mexico Mounted Volunteers, charged that the quarters assigned to himself and other officers of his regiment were "unfit for any officer or gentleman to occupy." He also declared that the regular troops had discriminated against the New Mexican volunteers, who had been "slighted in nearly every respect," and used "insulting language" toward volunteer officers. Canby, who demonstrated little respect for Hispanics, ordered a board of survey to examine the quarters at the fieldwork. Chapman, who claimed he was "not aware that any distinction had been made in the treatment of Regulars and volunteers at this post," informed Chavez that some of the volunteer officers had been guilty of "misconduct." Also, the volunteer officers should have arrested and preferred charges against any regulars who insulted them. Chapman virtually denied any discrimination had occurred and then disparaged the volunteers. "I venture to say," he wrote to Chavez, "that the volunteer soldiers of your command have never been so well fed, clothed and quartered as at present, and never will be again after they leave the Service of the U. States." [137]

     Chapman may not have known that he was addressing a member of one of the wealthiest and most influential families in New Mexico. Chavez was the son of a former governor and the stepson of the current Governor Connelly. He had been educated at St. Louis University and had studied medicine at the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons. It could hardly be said that he had not known a better quality of life. On the other hand, for many of the New Mexican volunteers, Chapman's derogatory remark may have been true. The validity of Chavez's complaint was impossible to determine, but the exchanges that occurred confirmed that prejudice prevailed in New Mexico.

     There were varieties of prejudices, between Anglos and Hispanics on one hand and between regulars and volunteers on the other, factors which make it difficult to assess accurately the extent of actual, as compared to imagined, discrimination. Clearly, however, relations were sometimes strained and often sensitive. After the board of survey had met and reported to Canby, and other information had been gathered about the situation, the department commander informed Chavez nothing had been found "upon which a complaint can reasonably be grounded." He noted that, according to the report of the board of survey, "the quarters complained of are greatly superior to any that have been occupied by the regular troops at Fort Union during the past three winters, and far above the average of those that are usually occupied on frontier service." He lectured Chavez that any soldiers who "enter the service with the expectation of carrying with them the luxuries, or even the comforts of a home, it is an idea of which they cannot too soon divest themselves." After pointing out that "the greater portion of the troops in the Department will be obliged to pass the Winter in huts or tents," Canby was very disappointed to hear that the "comfortable shelter" at Fort Union was "not properly appreciated." [138] Canby improved the comfort of the volunteers who occupied quarters at the fieldwork when he directed that bed sacks be issued to them. [139]

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