A CAMPAIGN FROM SANTA FE TO THE MISSISSIPPI; BEING A HISTORY OF THE OLD SIBLEY BRIGADE FROM ITS FIRST ORGANIZATION TO THE PRESENT TIME; ITS CAMPAIGNS IN NEW MEXICO, ARIZONA, LOUISIANA AND ARKANSAS, IN THE YEARS 1861-2-3-4
by Noel, Theophilus
Shreveport, La.: Shreveport News Printing Establishment, 1865. 151pp. Contemporary plain wrappers, labeled in ink manuscript circa 1900. Skillful repairs to minor marginal tears. Some contemporary notes and corrections in pencil. About half of the final leaf supplied in facsimile. In a half morocco box. Overall very good. The greatest rarity of the Civil War in Texas and the Trans-Mississippi West, Noel's narrative is virtually impossible to obtain; we know of only one other copy to change hands in the last fifty years. The present copy belonged to Lt. Alexander Porter Morse, who made a number of annotations in the text. Morse was attached to the Brigade during its Louisiana operations. The "Sibley Brigade" was formed by Gen. Henry H. Sibley, who conceived the bold plan of recruiting a brigade of troops in Texas to invade New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado and secure them for the Confederacy, then sieze California. The gold of California and control of the west would give the Confederacy a boost which might sway the outcome of the war. Troops were recruited in the late summer and fall of 1861, and by November, 1861 the Brigade left San Antonio for New Mexico. By early 1862 they had siezed southern New Mexico and Ft. Bliss in Arizona. In February 1862, Union troops pushed south from Colorado, and on the 21st a pitched battle was fought at Valverde which the Brigade won. Sibley chased the Union troops north, but in a second battle at Glorieta Pass in northern New Mexico on March 21, was roundly defeated. This forced the abandonment of the western strategy, and the Confederates retreated to Mesilla and then across Texas, arriving back in east Texas in the summer of 1862. Noel's account is the best of the entire southwestern campaign. In 1863 the Brigade was involved in the defense of Galveston early in the year, and then moved to western Louisiana, where it actively campaigned and took part in numerous conflicts from April onward. The fall of Vicksburg in July effectively cut the trans-Mississippi off from the rest of the Confederacy, and campaigning was confined to northern Louisiana before retreating to winter quarters in Texas. In the spring of 1864 it returned to the vicinity of Alexandria, Louisiana, and engaged in more hard fighting there and then in southern Arkansas until the end of the year. Noel's narrative ends at the end of 1864. This book was probably printed in Shreveport during the winter of 1865, accounting for its extreme rarity. A prospectus exists dated at Houston on March 20, 1865, making it possible that this is not a Confederate imprint but actually issued immediately after the war. Parrish and Willingham locate seven copies, all in institutions with major Americana holdings. To this we can add a copy we know of in a private collection (the Sanders copy, on which his 1961 reprint was based, sold by this firm several years ago) and the present copy. One of the legendary rarities of Texana and the Civil War. HOWES N167, "d." PARRISH & WILLINGHAM 4977.
(Inventory #: WRCAM51598)
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