I have uploaded a few documents that will allow you to examine the events of the Surrender at San Augustine Springs, New Mexico. It’s essential to remember that Gibbs was caught up in an Army drama that would last for decades beyond his death. There are multiple pieces of documentation posted online that outline the event.
The first is that of Major McKee. His NARRATIVE OF A DOCTOR’S EXPERIENCE COMBATANT IN THE FALL OF 1860 lays out the atmosphere and tension between the Union troops and the citizens of the small town of La Mesilla, New Mexico.
McKee would later pen his short book, the NARRATIVE Surrender of a Command of U, S, Forces, FORT FILMORE. The spelling of Fort Filmore appears in the narrative and the text of this writing; you will have no choice but to understand how much McKee held Lynde in disdain. McKee captures the events of the Surrender from his perspective, and he would spend the remainder of his life doing everything he could to keep Major Lynde from obtaining his retirement or reinstatement in the Army. McKee’s narrative is fascinating; his work will transport you back in time, making it ready to understand the day’s events.
I have posted THE CASE OF MAJOR ISAAC LYNDE, written by A. F. H. ARMSTRONG, for the NEW MEXICO HISTORICAL REVIEW. VoL. XXXVI JANUARY, 1961 No. 1.
Finally, I have a link to the book I Married a Soldier by Linda Spencer Lane. In her book, lane outlines the impact of the Surrender on the military and the men to who Lynde surrendered. In her account of the event, she talks about the heroism of Alfred Gibbs. My suggestion is that you download her book linked to the page and read about her life as the wife of a military man.
You can examine Gibbs’ role in the Surrender in this document, written in his hand. The supporting documentation is “The Official Recods of the Ware of the Rebellion,” referred to in the paper by OR. I have only posted the documents I have collected from the ORs once I have penned a worthy companion to each event archived in the record.
These accounts are essential for multiple reasons. The first is that Gibbs was captured and then placed on parole precipitated his appointment to the 130th NY State Volunteers. During the Civil War, when a prisoner of war (POW) was “paroled,” it meant that they had agreed not to take up arms against the opposing side again for the duration of the war, but they were not released from captivity. They would typically be held in a designated parole camp until a formal exchange of prisoners could occur. The old saying goes, “As in commedy, timing is everything,” and this is no more applicable to Alfred Gibbs.
Because Gibbs served in the Western Theatre at the start of the war and was later captured, he would never rise to the level of notability or have the opportunity to lead troops as many of the West Point Class of 1846 did. Had Gibbs been serving in the Eastern Theatre, he would have certainly had a better chance of being remembered by contemporary historians. Of course, this is nothing more than speculation.
For those of you who take the time to read the account of the Surrender, you will find that Gibbs was a warrior dedicated to supporting his fellow army soldiers who were under attack by Confederate Col. John Baylor when you read the Case for Maj. Issac Lynde, you will understand even when Lynde tells Gibbs to “save himself” and not come to the aid of the troops, it was not something Gibbs could ever do. Gibbs was a leader of men and a proven warrior. But you will discover this on your own.
I have more documents that I will be posting that examine Fort Fillmore and the events at San Augustine Springs, but I will need more time to gather those and post them as time allows.
Enjoy the reading
Garland H. Green Jr.
Researcher’s Note: The following is a note I received from the park ranger at Fort Union, New Mexico.