Military History and Southwest

$125.00 hardcover

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A Civil War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia

Jerry D. Thompson

Winner of the 2016 A. M. Pate, Jr. Award in Civil War History from the Fort Worth Civil War Round Table

Winner of the 2016 Fray Francisco Atanasio Domínguez Award from the Historical Society of New Mexico

The Civil War in New Mexico began in 1861 with the Confederate invasion and occupation of the Mesilla Valley. At the same time, small villages and towns in New Mexico Territory faced raids from Navajos and Apaches. In response the commander of the Department of New Mexico Colonel Edward Canby and Governor Henry Connelly recruited what became the First and Second New Mexico Volunteer Infantry. In this book leading Civil War historian Jerry Thompson tells their story for the first time, along with the history of a third regiment of Mounted Infantry and several companies in a fourth regiment.

Thompson’s focus is on the Confederate invasion of 1861–1862 and its effects, especially the bloody Battle of Valverde. The emphasis is on how the volunteer companies were raised; who led them; how they were organized, armed, and equipped; what they endured off the battlefield; how they adapted to military life; and their interactions with New Mexico citizens and various hostile Indian groups, including raiding by deserters and outlaws. Thompson draws on service records and numerous other archival sources that few earlier scholars have seen. His thorough accounting will be a gold mine for historians and genealogists, especially the appendix, which lists the names of all volunteers and militia men.


Jerry D. Thompson is a Regents Professor of History at Texas A&M International University. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including Texas and New Mexico on the Eve of the Civil War: The Mansfield and Johnston Inspections, 1859–1861 (UNM Press).


“Based on painstaking and meticulous research, Thompson’s work tells the story of those individuals from the Territory of New Mexico who offered their services to the Union during the Civil War. In the process, he has presented as thorough an account of their contributions as we are ever likely to have.”


Civil War Book Review

“Thompson’s organizational histories . . . are impressively detailed, as are his meticulously researched treatments of the many militia formations. . . . Serious subject scholars and research institutions will definitely want to add this title to their history and reference collections. Highly recommended!”


Civil War Books and Authors

“Individuals and institutions with deep research ties to the Civil War years in New Mexico (or the desert Southwest in general) will want to own a copy of this incredibly useful title.”


On Point: The Journal of Army History

“A treasure trove for genealogists.”


Journal of America’s Military Past

“The author does an excellent job of relating stories that ground the experience of war in reality.”


Wagon Tracks

“By any definition, this monumental work is undoubtedly the result of meticulous research. . . . Civil War aficionados will gleefully mine its extensive resource material. The general reader will find it provides an excellent overview of the tumultuous Civil War period in New Mexico and access to a piece of genealogical information that might have evaded them.”


New Mexico Historical Review

“This work will deservedly stand as the definitive source on the Civil War in New Mexico for a long time to come.”


Southwestern Historical Quarterly

“(Thompson) does an excellent job of relating stories that ground the experience of war in reality.”


New Mexico Genealogist

8.5 x 11 in. 952 pages 75 halftones, 11 maps, 9 tables