FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, March 25, 2013
Air National Guard Capt. Darin Overstreet
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (3/25/13) – Colorado Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia will join Colorado National Guard leaders to commemorate a turning point in the state's history during a ceremony at 1 p.m. March 26 in Denver.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place on the west side of the state capitol building, near the Civil War monument.
The hallmark of the event will be the unveiling of a National Guard Bureau Heritage Series painting, “Action at Apache Canyon,” by artist Domenick D’Andrea, depicting the charge of Apache Canyon, which took place March 26, 1862.
On that fateful day, the First Colorado Infantry Regiment, along with New Mexico volunteers and garrisoned Union soldiers, first engaged Texas Confederate forces at what became the westernmost battleground of the Civil War. This strategic point on the southern end of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains was the main entry point to the western half of the country -- and perhaps the fate of the United States.
When the Union and Confederate forces met, Colorado Maj. John Chivington ordered his infantry companies up the sides of the canyon to suppress the Texans, who had already established fire superiority with their artillery. Chivington then ordered a mounted infantry company, led by Capt. Samuel H. Cook, to charge the Confederates west of the Glorieta summit in the snowy, narrow canyon and capture their rear guard.
The charge, which took place on March 26, 1862, marked the first day of the first hostile engagement for the First Colorado Infantry Regiment. While this engagement ended in a draw, the entire battle of Glorieta Pass, which lasted through March 28, 1862, was a huge success for the Union.
However, had the Texans won the battle, the outcome of the Civil War could have been decidedly different.
According to the 1993 Congressionally appointed Civil War Sites Advisory Commission, the battle of Glorieta Pass -- what some historians deem the "Gettysburg of the West" -- had as much or more impact on the outcome of the Civil War as the battles of Gettysburg and Antietam. A Texan victory could have transformed the conflict into an East-West battle and would have potentially invited alliances with foreign countries had the Confederates achieved that level of legitimacy.
Pre-ceremony music will be performed starting at 12:30 p.m.
The Colorado Army National Guard’s 101st Army Band will perform and an invocation will be given by the Colorado National Guard’s state chaplain.
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia is scheduled to speak and receive the unveiled painting on behalf of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Also scheduled to speak is Pulitzer-nominated author and military historian Flint Whitlock, whose book "Distant Bugles, Distant Drums" details the history of the decisive battle from the perspective of the Union, and further documents the recruitment and training of the Colorado Territory's townsmen, farmers, ranchers and miners -- Colorado's first Citizen-Soldiers and the ancestors of the modern-day Colorado National Guardsmen.
For more on the Colorado National Guard's history pertaining to the Civil War, an extended summary of the battle of Glorieta Pass can be found here.
Colorado Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Mike Edwards is also scheduled to speak.
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