Gibbs Surrender Letter to COL. E. R. S. CANBY

ALBUQUERQUE [N. MEX.], August 20, 1861.

Colonel E. R. S. CANBY,

Commanding Department of New Mexico, Santa Fe, N. Mex.

COLONEL: I have the honor herewith to transmit through your headquarters the paroles of honor to Lieutenants McNally and Cressey, and myself, of the Mounted Rifles, as given at Las Cruces, N. Mex., August 1, 1861, for forwarding to the honorable Secretary of War.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ALFRED GIBBS,

Captain Rifles, Commanding Squadron.

[First indorsement.]

Respectfully forwarded.

E. R. S. CANBY,

Colonel Nineteenth Infantry, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

LAS CRUCES, TERRITORY OF ARIZONA.

I, Alfred Gibbs, captain U. S. Rifles of the Army of the United States, do hereby pledge my word of honor as an officer and gentleman that I will not bear arms or act under my commission as an officer against the Confederate States of America, or in my manner directly or indirectly against the said Confederate States in a belligerent capacity until the present war ceases and peace is concluded between the Confederate States and the Federal Government, or until I am released by the Secretary of War of the Confederate States or exchanged by said Government of the Confederate States for prisoners of rank held by the Federal Government that may be agreed upon between the Secretary of War of the Confederate States and of the Federal Government.

Given under my hand as an officer of the Federal Government, Las Cruces, this 31st day of July, A. D. 1861.

ALFRED GIBBS,

Captain Rifles, U. S. Army.

Attest; JOHN R. BAYLOR,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Mounted Rifles.

[Similar paroles inclosed from Lieutenants C. H. McNally and E. P. Cressey.]

Table of Contents

John R. Baylor: A Controversial Figure in 19th Century Texas

Introduction

John R. Baylor, born John Robert Baylor on July 27, 1822, was a multifaceted figure in 19th-century Texas, serving as a US Indian agent, publisher and editor, politician, and a senior officer in the Confederate States Army. Despite his varied roles and contributions, Baylor remains a controversial figure due to his dismissal as an Indian agent, his founding role in The White Man newspaper, and his staunch criticism of Governor Sam Houston.

Early Life and Career

John R. Baylor was born in Kentucky to a prominent family with deep roots in Southern politics. He later moved to Texas, where he began his career as a soldier and Indian agent. Baylor’s initial experiences with Native Americans, particularly the Comanche tribe, fueled his aggressive stance towards them. As a US Indian agent, he was responsible for maintaining peace between Native tribes and settlers, but his growing animosity towards the tribes led to his dismissal from the position.

The White Man Newspaper and Criticism of Governor Sam Houston

Following his dismissal as an Indian agent, Baylor became one of the founding editors of The White Man, a newspaper based in North Texas. The publication was known for its strong pro-slavery stance and vehement criticism of Governor Sam Houston. Baylor used the newspaper as a platform to voice his disapproval of Houston’s moderate views on slavery and his attempts to maintain friendly relations with Native American tribes.

Baylor’s newspaper was instrumental in shaping public opinion and contributed to growing tensions in Texas. His criticism of Houston was relentless, often accusing the governor of being too lenient with Native tribes and not taking a hard enough line on the issue of slavery. This contentious relationship between Baylor and Houston was representative of the broader political divides within Texas during this period.

Military Career and the Confederate States Army

As the Civil War approached, Baylor joined the Confederate States Army, rising to the rank of senior officer. He played a significant role in the conquest of New Mexico and Arizona, proclaiming the latter as a Confederate territory in 1861. However, his brutal treatment of Native Americans and his authorization of the forced relocation and extermination of the Apache and Navajo tribes tarnished his military career. Baylor’s actions during the war remain a dark chapter in the history of the Confederate States Army and the American Southwest.

Legacy and Impact

John R. Baylor’s life and career were marked by controversy and conflict. As an Indian agent, his aggressive policies towards Native Americans led to his dismissal and further fueled tensions between tribes and settlers. His founding role in The White Man newspaper and harsh criticism of Governor Sam Houston contributed to growing political divides in Texas. Finally, his actions as a senior officer in the Confederate States Army, including the brutal treatment of Native tribes, remain a stain on his military record.

Although Baylor’s life and actions were marked by controversy, his story provides valuable insight into the complexities of 19th-century Texas and the broader issues that shaped the region during this time. By examining Baylor’s life, we can better understand the intricate web of politics, race, and violence that characterized this tumultuous period in American history.

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