President's Report: June 2006
Significance of the Glorieta Battlefield: The Battle of Glorieta Pass actually covers three significant phases that took place March 26-28, 1862. Called by some historians the "Gettysburg of the West," it was here Federal forces checked Confederate dreams of territorial expansion. After enjoying early successes and setting up the Confederate Territory of Arizona, the vanguard of the Texan invasion marched out of Santa Fe determined to seize Fort Union - the major supply base in the Southwest. At Glorieta Pass they met a mixed force of U.S. Regular troops, local militia, and Colorado volunteers equally determined to stop the Confederate advance.
After an inconclusive skirmish on March 26 in Apache Canyon, on March 28, 1862, the Texans marched into the Glorieta Pass on the Santa Fe Trail. The opposing forces clashed near Pigeon's Ranch. The Confederates drove the Federals back and held the field at the end of the day, only to learn a Federal flanking force had fallen on their rear and destroyed the Confederate wagons and supplies. Thereafter, the Confederates began a long and arduous retreat back to Texas. The Confederate hopes for a Southwest territory that would stretch to the Pacific Ocean, and gaining control of the gold fields in Colorado, came to an end.
Threat: Currently, two units covering portions of the battlefield are under NPS control. Potential development threatens unprotected areas. Efforts are being made to acquire additional land within the units to better preserve the battlefield and make it more accessible to visitors.
The battlefield is further threatened by a state highway that runs through the battlefield within feet of historical structures that were part of Pigeon's Ranch at the time of the battle. The Glorieta Battlefield Coalition, together with support from the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), are actively supporting an NPS study that will hopefully relocate the highway away from the battlefield or implement other mitigation measures. Such is necessary to restore the battlefield site and allow visitors to tour the battlefield safely.
CWSAC classified Glorieta Pass as a Priority I, Class A Battlefield - its highest designation.
Current Goals of the Glorieta Battlefield Coalition:
Significant Events for 2006:
- Continue support of the NPS study to relocate New Mexico Highway 50 away from battlefield or implementation of other mitigation measures.
- Support and assist in the acquisition of further lands critical to the battlefield.
- Encourage, advocate and otherwise support interpretive markers to allow visitors to gain a greater understanding and visual experience of the battlefield, with emphasis on the significance of the battle, the events leading up to the battle, and the long term results to both sides and the surrounding territory.
- Educate the public on the significance of the battle and importance of preservation efforts pertaining thereto.
- Support SB-47 - land swap of excess U.S. Forest Service land for private land within the Canoncito (Johnson's Ranch) unit of the Glorieta Battlefield Park, substantially increasing public ownership within that unit. Key acquisition with immediate action needed. Contact Jim Houghton for further information.
See attached May 7, 2006 memo to Friends of Pecos with respect to 2006 GBC objectives.
Other significant information:
- A study performed by Dr. Frank Ward of New Mexico State University determined economic benefits under the scenario that Glorieta Battlefield were fully restored and made safe for public visitation. The study demonstrated that opening Glorieta Battlefield to public visitation had numerous positive economic benefits, including providing a sustainable, stabilizing force in the rural economy of both the Pecos area and the broader tourism economy of New Mexico. In short, Dr. Ward's data demonstrated that tourism associated with a restored battlefield would generate over $3.1 million in annual income in San Miguel and Santa Fe counties and 182 new jobs within ten years of the battlefield being restored and open to the public. Copies of the study are available from the Glorieta Battlefield Coalition.
- The Glorieta Battlefield has been recognized by the Civil War Preservation Trust as one of the 10 most endangered battlefield sites in its report issued March 1, 2006. The Civil War Preservation Trust is dedicated to the preservation of battlefield sites and has recognized both the importance and significance of the Battle of Glorieta Pass. In listing the site, the Trust has expressed concern over neglect and public indifference that is allowing perhaps irreparable damages to structures of historical significance within the Pigeon's Ranch Unit of the Battlefield
See attached 2006 GBC objectives.
- March 24-26, 2006: GBC (Jim Houghton and Rod Baker) participated with informational table at the anniversary recognition of the battle on March 25, 2006 at Koslowki's Ranch. Provided excellent opportunity for educating the public and created bonds with some of the local populace interested in preservation efforts at the GBC (in particular Jim Taylor).
- Civil War Preservation Trust conference in Memphis, Tennessee on April 20-23. Jim Houghton, President of the Glorieta Battlefield Coalition; Dennis Ditmanson, Pecos National Park NPS Superintendent; and John Taylor, local historian, participated in and made a presentation at the Civil War Preservation Trust annual conference in Memphis, Tennessee on April 20-23, 2006. In addition to the formal presentation during the first day of the Conference, a booth was set up to educate and encourage members of this critical national organization about the needs and concerns with respect to the Glorieta Pass Battlefield. Our participation was a major success. Not only did we add membership to the GBC, but established important contacts with the CWPT Board and its membership and are currently utilizing those contacts to support efforts to achieve the land swap in the Johnson's Ranch Unit (SB-47) (see above under Current Goals).
- May 5-7, 2006. Reenactment of Battle of Glorieta Pass and other living history events occurred at Los Golondrinas, a historical restored Spanish village south of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The GBC (through Jim Houghton) joined forces with the President of the Friends of Pecos (Bill Zunkel) and manned an informational both during both days of the event. Again developed more contacts for future support and participation in GBC goals.
- Tours of the battlefield are given in accordance with schedules published on the NPS Pecos website at www.nps.gov/pecos.
- NPS study on possible relocation of Highway 50. Additional hearings will be scheduled in Pecos, New Mexico during 2006 (hopefully early summer) after the initial report is issued on the study and the possible relocation of New Mexico Highway 50. Please contact the National Park Service, c/o Dennis Ditmanson, (505) 757-6414 for further information on the next scheduled meeting or hearing, or contact the Glorieta Battlefield Coalition through its website for further information.
Please join the Glorieta Battlefield Coalition. Assist us in our mission and goals in honor of the hundreds of soldiers who put their lives on the line and made the ultimate sacrifice for what they believed in at the Battle of Glorieta Pass.