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Today, March 28, is the 152nd anniversary of a very dramatic Civil War event that occurred right here where I live. On this date, Union soldiers commanded by Maj. John Chivington (later of the Sand Creek Massacre) burned a great many Confederate wagons a few hundred yards from the spot now occupied by my house.

It was the height of the three day Battle of Glorieta Pass, frequently called the “Gettysburg of the West” because it completely changed the course of the war in its sector. I live within Glorieta National Historic Park – a fine place for a historian such as myself to reside.

This afternoon I and my magnificent Alaskan Malamute Kenai took a very strenuous hike through the park, finding various mineral deposits and impressive calcite crystals as well as ancient-looking juniper trees and deep arroyos. Throughout I reminded myself of one of my mottos: Don’t put your feet where your eyes have not been. Many of the slopes I was on were quite treacherous and I was well aware that I was alone, far from the house and could not count on my cell phone for coverage here in the canyon. It was an exhilarating and exhausting scramble and a fine way to commemorate such an important historic event.

On the way back home we did what we do most days, we hiked over Armijo Mesa which has impressive earthworks built in 1862 by Mexican Governor Manuel Armijo as emplacements for the cannons he┬áintended to stop the invasion of 1,500 American soldiers–Colorado and Missouri Volunteers–who were invading New Mexico under the command of General Kearney. It was what we call the Mexican War.

The cannons were never used because the Governor fled back to Mexico City. Some say he had been bribed by German Jewish merchants whose businesses on the Santa Fe Plaza were getting rich on the Santa Fe Trail trade with The States. The trail is located behind my house and the main line of the Santa Fe Railroad runs down the canyon at the bottom of my property. The Kearney invasion through my front yard resulted in New Mexico becoming a territory of the US.

I doubt that in 1862 the Union soldiers knew they were operating at the base of another historic site. Picture October Il 2006 182Picture October Il 2006 021

 I was free to take the hike with Kenai because the full manuscript of Artful Dodgers: Fraud and Foolishness in the Art Market has been submitted to Abbott Press for production of the book.