Part III - This the third in a series about the great Chiricahua chief, Cochise, and his role in the fascinating history of Southern Arizona. The thrust of this feature is about how Tucson became a Confederate town with the Stars & Bars flying proudly over our Presidio. While the title says nothing about Cochise, the events chronicled in this feature lead directly to conflict with the Chiricahua Apaches. As you will see if you read to the end.
With the 1860 presidential election of Abraham Lincoln, 7 states seceded from the Union. Texas soon joined them. Many early Arizona pioneers had migrated from Texas and even more had southern relatives. Confederate leadership, and these southern sympathizers in the Territory, wanted to see slavery expanded throughout the American Southwest and the Confederacy extended all the way to the valuable ports and gold fields of California.
On March 16, 1861, a group of prominent Arizonans met in convention at Mesilla, NM (near present-day Las Cruces) to announce that Arizona Territory was seceding from the United States of America and request annexation into the Confederate States of America.
About two weeks later, a second convention was convened at Tucson to ratify the declarations of the Mesilla convention and to elect a delegate to the Congress of the Confederate States of America.
In August 1861, 250 Confederate cavalrymen under the command of Lt. Colonel John Baylor invaded the Territory of New Mexico that, at that time, still included both New Mexico and Arizona. They quickly overwhelmed the Union forces at Fort Fillmore near Mesilla. (Arizona did not officially become a separate Territory of the United States of America until February 1863.) Baylor assumed the office of Governor of the Confederate Territory of Arizona.
At the beginning of the Civil War, the Union Army need all the soldiers that had been stationed in the West to fight Indians to come back east and fight the Rebels. The abandonment of Federal forts in the territory left the white settlers at the mercy of the Apaches, who quickly gained control of the area, forcing most of the Anglos and Mexicans to seek refuge in the villages of Tucson and Tubac. Read More...