Historic Era

Southwest Archaeology

Military History New Mexico — Battles

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July 7, 1540 — Hawikuh Pueblo (old Zuni) attempts to repel Francisco Vazquez de Coronado's army, but the Indians are forced from their homes within five days. The Spanish confiscate provisions and continue their search for the Seven Cities of Cibola.

August 10, 1680 — The first day of the Pueblo Revolt in which Pueblo Indians killed and drove domineering Catholic missionaries, Spanish colonistas and Christianized Indians out of New Mexico. Charles Wilson Hackett

THE REVOLT OF THE PUEBLO INDIANS OF NEW MEXICO IN 1680 Charles Wilson Hackett SWHQ vol 15 No. 2, October 1911

December 29, 1693 — Governor Don Diego de Vargas, 100 Spanish soldiers and 140 Pecos Pueblo warrior allies engage in a two-day battle to re-conquer Santa Fe from rebellious Pueblo Indians occupying the casas reales (now the Palace of the Governors). A total of 89 rebels died in the battle for Santa Fe, including nine in the fight, two of these by their own hand. Vargas then ordered that 70 of the rebels who refused to surrender be executed and about another 400 resistors, who did surrender, were distributed among the soldiers and colonists for 10 years of servitude.
June 4, 1696 — Many Pueblo Indians stage a second revolt, requiring Governor Don Diego de Vargas, Spanish soldiers and a contingent of Pecos Pueblo warriors six months to control.

January 1805 —

Narbona expedition pictograph

This pictograph in Canyon de Chelly is a Navajo depiction of Spaniards. It possibly marks a Spanish punitive expedition against the Navajo in January 1805. Antonio Narbona, a Creole lieutenant, traveled from Zuni Pueblo to Canyon de Chelly with Spanish troops and indigenous scouts. He was sent to retaliate against the Navajo for their attacks on Cebolletta - a Spanish military post at the base of Mount Taylor (the sacred Turquoise Mountain of the Navajos). The Navajo had been raiding Cebolletta and nearby Spanish settlements in an attempt to reclaim grazing lands. The Navajo lost more than 115 people and 33 women and children were enslaved.

Massacre at Jemez Pueblo

June, 15, 1822

Massacre of 24 (some accounts 13, others 16) Navajo leaders in March 1822 at Jemez Pueblo en route to a peace conference with the new Mexican government.


August 3, 1837 — Many northern New Mexicans stage a full-fledged revolt, mainly in the Chimayo area, against the Mexican government in protest of unfair taxation and poor military protection.

August 8, 1837 — Santo Domingo revolutionaries in Santa Fe on Agua Fria Road decapitate Governor Albino Perez. Perez tried to impose taxes ordered by Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, sparking the Revolt of 1837.

Battle of Copper Pass

February 1829 Narbona Pass

Navajo in battle against a Mexican expedition into the Chuska Mountains led by Captain Blas de Hinojos and defeated it utterly. The site of the battle, Copper Pass (Beesh Lichii'I Bigiizh), is now known as Narbona Pass.


Canoncito at Apache Canyon


Strategically located where the Santa Fe Trail emerges from Glorieta Pass, Canoncito is where the New Mexican governor Manuel Armijo attempted to defend New Mexico against the American army in 1846. In 1862, Union forces destroyed a Confederate supply train on March 28, 1862, while the Battle of Glorieta was in progress six miles to the east.


Brazito Battlefield

Christmas Day, 1846

One of the few battles of the Mexican War to be fought in New Mexico occurred on Christmas Day, 1846. U.S. troops under Colonel Alexander W. Doniphan defeated a Mexican army commanded by General Antonio Ponce de Leon. Two days later, Doniphan entered El Paso without opposition.


Battle of Taos

January 19, 1847

Charles Bent


A portrait of merchant Charles Bent, the first territorial governor of New Mexico killed during the Taos Rebellion. The original portrait hangs in the Kit Carson house in Taos. (New Mexico Magazine Archival Collection)

February 1, 1847 — During the Taos Rebellion, 200 occupying U.S. Army soldiers in Las Vegas were sent to uproot an insurgence in Mora, where they burned every building.

Siege of Pueblo de Taos


The Siege of Pueblo de Taos was the final battle of the Taos Revolt, a popular insurrection against the United States during the Mexican-American War. It was also the final engagement between U.S. forces and insurgent forces in New Mexico during the war.

Cumbres Pass

July 1848

Old Bill Williams

A major encounter between the U.S. Army and a large group of Utes and Jicarilla Apaches occurred here in July 1848. Old Bill Williams, the famous scout and guide, was badly wounded while fighting the Utes, who had once adopted him as a tribesman.

Battle of Cieneguilla

March 30, 1854

Lt. John W DavidsonBattle of Cieneguilla was an engagement fought between a group of Jicarilla Apaches and the U.S. 1st Cavalry Regiment on March 30, 1854 near what is now Pilar, New Mexico. A combined force of about 250 Apaches and Utes ambushed the dragoons. In his report two days after the battle, Lt. John W. Davidson stated that "[He] came upon the Apaches near the Cieneguilla who at once sounded the war whoop." According to Pvt. James A. Bennett, a Sergeant who survived the ambush, the battle lasted for about 4 hours. It started around 8 a.m. and ended when the Dragoons' regiments retreated at 12 p.m. to Ranchos de Taos. The Apache warriors used flintlock rifles and arrows. Of the 60 dragoons present, the U.S. suffered 22 killed and a further 36 wounded, along with a loss of 22 horses and much of the troops' supplies.


Battle at Valverde

February 1862 Socorro County

The Battle of Valverde (February 20–February 21, 1862), fought in and around the town of Valverde in the New Mexico Territory, was a major Confederate success in the New Mexico Campaign of the American Civil War,


Battle of Peralta

April 1862 Valencia County

The Battle of Peralta was a minor engagement near the end of Confederate General Henry Hopkins Sibley's 1862 New Mexico Campaign. Retreating after the Battle of Glorieta Pass, Confederate troops of the 5th Texas Mounted Volunteers under Colonel Thomas Green camped in the town of Peralta, New Mexico and planned to cross a series of irrigation canals the next day. On April 14 the pursuing Union Army forces under Colonel Edward Canby caught up with Green. The Confederates used the low adobe houses in the town as natural fortifications. Canby captured a Confederate supply train approaching Peralta, and then sent John Chivington and Gabriel R. Paul to surround the Confederates to prevent any forces from reaching Green. The rival armies battered each other in an artillery duel until a dust storm blew in and allowed Green to withdraw, leaving behind a town reduced to rubble.


Battle at Glorieta Pass

March 26-28, 1862

The Battle of Glorieta Pass, fought on 26-28 March 1862, in northern New Mexico Territory, was the decisive battle of the New Mexico Campaign during the American Civil War.

Glorieta Pass monument

The U.S. government commemorated the Glorieta Pass Battlefield as told in this historical plaque just off N.M. 63. Recently, the remains of many soldiers who were killed in the Civil War battle and buried at the site were exhumed and returned to their home states for honorary burials. Photographer unknown, (Museum of New Mexico Negative No. 48956)M

First Battle of Adobe Walls

November 26, 1864 Hutchinson County, Tx

Kit Carson


The First Battle of Adobe Walls was one of the largest battles between U.S. soldiers and Great Plains Indians. Adobe Walls was the name of a trading post built by William Bent about 1842-43 which had adobe walls nine feet high. The first battle occurred November 26, 1864. The 1st Cavalry, led by Colonel Kit Carson included 14 officers, 321 enlisted men and 78 Indians and 2 field howitzers repulsed an Indian force of "several thousand".


Battle of Tularosa

May 1880

VictorioThe Battle of Tularosa occurred in May 1880 in present-day Catron County, New Mexico. In an ongoing campaign to keep from being forced to live on reservations, Chiricahua Apache warriors led by Victorio attacked Fort Tularosa north of San Francisco Plaza. Buffalo Soldiers from the U.S. Army's 9th Calvary led by Sergeant George Jordan repulsed the attack. Ten years afterwards Jordan was awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership in the battle.








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