18 June 2009
THE GETTYSBURG OF THE WEST
Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S Grant and Jefferson Davis - all names associated with the Civil War [1861 - 1865].
But...do you remember Henry H Sibley, Edward Canby or places like the Battle of Valverde, Glorieta Pass and Fort Union??
Not many people do, yet New Mexico had three fierce battles that ultimately ended the Confederates move into the western territories and thus preventing the South from stretching its reach to the Pacific.
The most notable was the battle of Glorieta Pass which many historians call the Gettysburg of the West.
The main fort and the largest in the southwest at the time was Fort Union in New Mexico, near the town of Las Vegas, NM
Journey Gnome says 'time travel' makes his stomach 'woozy' so I made this trip solo.
I got up at the crack of dawn. My destination: the remains of Fort Union, about two hours north of Albuquerque.
Early commuters from Albuquerque headed to Santa Fe.
Fort Union is located just north of the city of Las Vegas [the meadows] New Mexico. The mornings are beautiful here.
I could hear the crickets still chirping and even saw deer crossing a marsh, how cool is that.
[click on any image to inlarge]
It is a great drive and the roads are well maintained. Entrance into the park is only $3!!!
The Santa Fe Trail goes right by Fort Union, the largest fort in the west.
I can't tell you how cool it felt to be standing here in the ruts of the Santa Fe Trail where so many people have traveled before me.
Trying to imagine what it must have been like 142 years ago when Fort Union had about 1,500 people here not counting the travelers heading west.
Keep in mind that Indians were still a very real threat too.
The 'privy' or latrine. Trust me -- you can STILL smell it. Bleecchh!!
The fort jail. Basically a small dark room. No chair, no bed, just a floor.
The Santa Fe Trail looking northwest.
I'm still amazed at how many locals here that I know who have no idea of the role their state has played in history. From advanced civilizations that were here BEFORE Columbus or the pilgrims to Civil War battlegrounds.
None of the people I work with had ever heard of Fort Union or its role in history.
Their loss. I did this while they were at home watching TV.