by Don E. Alberts
College Station, Tx.: Texas A&M Press, 1998. xvi, 226 pp.
Illus, maps, append, notes, biblio. Index. $29.95. ISBN:0-89096-825-X
Know as “The Gettysburg of the West,” Glorieta was actually quite small – perhaps 2,100 men, both sides together – though of considerable strategic importance. The author has produced a readable, very satisfactory account of the battle in New Mexico that put an end to the Confederate attempt to expand to the Pacific Ocean. He fits it into the larger strategic icture, describes the mobilization of the forces involved, and treats the opening phases of the campaign effectively, albeit economically. The discussion of the circumstances that precipitated the battle is satisfactory, and that of the battle itself excellent, with enormous detail.
There are several very good word-portraits of some of the principal commanders, including Union Maj. John M. Chivington, an erstwhile Methodist preacher who later went on to perpetrate the Sand Creek Massacre, and the Confederacy’s Brig. Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley, “a walking whiskey keg” and “one of the Confederacy’s worst generals.”
The author has included a good deal of interesting material in the footnotes, which should not be missed.
The Battle of Glorieta is worthwhile reading for anyone interested in the Civil War.