When a landowner digging a foundation for his new house uncovered a mass grave here last summer, Civil War enthusiasts immediately guessed its contents: the remains of Confederate soldiers slain at the battle of Glorieta. The brief but intense encounter, part of an ill-fated Confederate campaign in the Far West, was fought on March 28, 1862.I cut out that article and filed it away in 1987.
While the battle is largely forgotten, an emotional dispute has erupted over the disposition of the skeletons of the 31 Confederate dead.
They were from several Texas regiments organized into Sibley's Brigade, commanded by Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley. Texans and New Mexicans, longtime rivals, are now replaying the 125-year-old battle and the Confederate heritage.
On one side, members of the Glorieta Battlefield Preservation Society of New Mexico want the remains interred in a monument at the battle's site, according to Don E. Alberts, the group's president. He is a professional historian who has edited the journals of a Confederate soldier at Glorieta. 'Historic Real Estate'
Congress is considering legislation that would designate Glorieta as a national battlefield. ''Having the remains there would give meaning to the sacrifice these men made on the battlefield,'' said Mr. Alberts. ''It would humanize what is a piece of historic real estate.''
On the other side, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a national group that has state chapters in Texas and New Mexico, want the skeletons returned to Texas for burial in Austin. ''To people who share the Southern heritage, there's no doubt as to where you inter a bunch of Texans, you send them back to the state from where they served,'' said James E. Busbee, a New Mexican and commander of the national organization. That sentiment is shared by some New Mexicans who belong to both Mr. Busbee's group and Mr. Alberts's group, In its recent newsletter, the Texas Sons of Confederate Veterans calls the effort to ''bring our boys home'' the most important endeavor in the group's history. According to James N. Vogler, the organization's project officer in Houston, support for its cause has come from the Texas Legislature, Gov. William P. Clements Jr., the Texas Historical Commission and the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Here, thirty years later to the day, I can now know the resolution of the issue. From Wikipedia's Battle of Glorieta Pass article:
In 1987 two Confederate burial sites were discovered at Pigeon's Ranch. One was the solitary grave of Maj. John Samuel Shropshire, the other was a mass grave of 30 Confederates. Only Shropshire and five others could be positively identified On August 5, 1990, Maj. Shropshire's remains were reburied next to his parents in his family's cemetery in Bourbon County, Kentucky. The remaining 30 Confederates were in the Santa Fe National Cemetery.The Wikipedia article provides a good coverage of the context and circumstances of the battle.