31 October 2008
A CONFEDERATE GHOST STORY
Imagine you are Mary Silva of Socorro, NM and you are having coffee one morning when there is a knock at the door.
The man at the door says... 'your lot holds remains of the dead'.
FLASHBACK: February 21, 1862
The Civil War is in full swing and has found its way to the New Mexico Territory.
After routing Union Forces at a river ford along the Rio Grande and six miles north of Fort Craig, the largest fort in the southwest, over 2500 Confederate Calvarymen from Texas led by General Henry Hopkins Sibley marched 25 miles north to Socorro, NM where they ousted Union troops, 3200 men strong led by Colonel Edward Richard Sprigg Canby, and took over the local hospital to treat their wounded. Over the next two months 27 men were buried on a hill west of town.
These are just some of the soldiers who died in the Battle of Valverde. Over all about 256 men lost their lives and are buried in what are now unmarked graveyards in the area.
But Ken Garrason, the man at Mary Silva's door, knows where his Great Great Grand Uncle Thomas Garrason is buried: on her lot. A rocky patch of land as nondescript as any lot in this hardscrabble neighborhood of modest houses, ramshackled mobile homes and abanonded trailers.
Ms. Silva had no idea the land she had intended to leave to her children would find itself the center of a dispute between Civil War preservationists, the city of Socorro and herself.
Ken Garrason, a Civil War buff and officer with the New Mexico Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans says Silva's lot likely holds hundreds of human remains in a long abandoned cemetery.
NM state law prohibits Silva from doing anything with her land since it has officially been designated 'unmarked burial grounds'.
In 2004 when the city of Socorro paved Peralta Drive in front of Silvas house at least four suspected grave sites were unearthed.
If the property cannot be maintained as a cemetery Garrason wants the bodies exhumed and moved to a respectful site.
Mary Silva just wants land to pass on to her family and in fact would take equal value land in the same area. The state just has things on hold like a typical bureaucracy and nothing is being done at this point.
In 2005, Ghosthunters of the Southwest did a para-normal investigation of the Valverde Battlefield and had some eerie results. I highly recommend you check out their results on their website.
....ghost? smudge?? condensation???
Lots of pictures including re-enactment photos, photos of possible ghosts and most eerie of all, EVPs [electronic voice phenomena]. Yikes.
Excuse me while I turn a light on.
Check out the Southwest Ghost Hunters Association site at:
search under INVESTIGATIONS choose NEW MEXICO and then find VAL VERDE BATTLEFIELD.