The Civil War, Day by Day

Morgan's Raiders (detail)

The Territory of Arizona Secedes

When the secession movement began, Arizona was still part of the Territory of New Mexico. Although most residents in the territory were Union sympathizers, some leaned toward the Confederacy. The result was complete anarchy. Since the territory was loosely governed, conditions were ideal for Southern Captain John Baylor to move in on Arizona on August 1, 1861. He immediately declared that all of New Mexico south of the 34th parallel was now the Confederate Territory of Arizona. Baylor then established a new seat of government at Mesilla, and appointed himself governor.

Not surprisingly, many New Mexicans objected to Baylorís takeover of their region. The Union responded by sending Colonel E. R. S. Canby to establish a U.S. Department of New Mexico in the territory. Meanwhile, the Confederacy dispatched General H. H. Sibley to Fort Bliss, where he took command of the Army of New Mexico. Finally, the stalemate was broken when California - which was solidly pro-Union - sent a column of volunteer troops to chase the rebels from Arizona. A demoralized Sibley abandoned the region, and Arizona became a U.S. Territory in 1863.

Mort Künstler painted this poignant cavalry scene, a detail from Morganís Raiders, which typifies the cavalry troops in Arizona at the time of secession.

April's Archived Features:

Wednesday April 1, 2020
Thursday April 2, 2020
Friday April 3, 2020
Saturday April 4, 2020
Sunday April 5, 2020



All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.