Initial Phase of the Battle – Morning, March 28th
The Santa Fe Trail was just across and slightly below the present NM-50 alignment. On March 28th, 1862, at about 11 a.m., the Confederate column formed a line of battle that included three cannons.
They were opposed by the Union forces, consisting of companies of the First Colorado and Third U.S. Cavalry and four, 12-pound mountain howitzers. Led by Captain John Ritter, the engaged the Rebels. But the Confederates pushed the Federals back to the near side of the gully you see before you.
In the Union center, Lt Ira Claflin’s howitzers were fired from a position at the site of this marker. Claflin was soon supported by Colorado volunteers and U.S. regulars. Both sides maintained a furious fire of artillery and small arms for almost three hours.
Outflanked by a Confederate vanguard, Colonel Slough ordered a withdrawal of the Federals eastward to a stronger position just west of Pigeon’s Ranch. Subsequently, Confederate forces occupied the former Union Positions and prepared to assault the enemy at Pigeon’s Ranch.
Meanwhile, with the Union forces pushed back, Union Major John Chivington led a band of Federal troops across Glorieta Mesa on a daring raid on the Confederate supply train at Johnson’s Ranch. That raid wrested victory from the advancing Confederates.