Confederate Army Efforts In The Far West

One third of California was estimated to be pro-South. Two secret organizations, the Knights of the Goldern Circle and the Knights of the Columbia Star, were loyal to the South. Their California numbers were estimated at over 20,000 for the first group and 30,000 for the second. Their presence in California required US troops to guard important locations throughout the state. The Knights drilled and schemed. Their big plans always failed, such as to take over the mint and the San Francisco arsenal. In Oregon, they schemed to take over the capital Salem and Fort Vancouver in WA. Their biggest plans, for which they collected arms and drew up plans for was the conquest of California in 1865 in conjunction with Confederate troops which were heading for California from Texas. The offensive was in its early stages in western Texas when the war ended.

The 1865 offensive was to follow in part the route of the 1861-62 Confederate offensive which had taken over most of Arizona and New Mexico. Troops from California ran into the Southernors near the Pima Villiages (in what's today Ariz.) and drove the Confederates out of Arizona back into Texas. The Confederate offensive failed in large measure due to the antipathy of the Hispanic population in New Mexico to Texans. The 1862 invasion was not seen by the locals in the context of North vs. South but Texans vs. Hispanics and the New Mexican population rather than help the Confederates opposed the Texas Units. If the Confederate TransMississippi War Dept. had been able to shift Confederate troops from another state to carry out the attack it may well have gotten the popular support it needed in New Mexico. Volunteer troops from Colorado played the major role in defeating the confederate forces in the "Gettysburg" of the West at Glorieta and Apache Pass.

The Texas Rangers were incorporated into the Confederate Army. A group of 42 Confederate led by a Texas Ranger that were moving through Colorado 200 miles SE of Denver were captured in Sept. 1861. In 1862, 7 Confederate officers that went to Colorado to recruit a southern regiment were wiped out by Osage Indians working with Federal troops. Although basically under Federal control the Wild West was indeed still a wild place, and it was vulnerable to southern activity.

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