The Civil War in New Mexico
Many people do not know that the Civil War was fought as far west as New Mexico, but in fact there was a vigourous campaign conducted here. The Confederacy was desperately short of raw materials for war production. Those materials had to be imported from abroad and often paid for in gold. Gold and seaports became very important to the South.
California and the Western part of North America held both seaports and gold, and the South wanted them. In the summer of 1861, the 2nd Texas Regiment, Mounted Rifles, led by Lt. Col. John Baylor seized control of the Mesilla Valley (near present day Las Cruces) and declared New Mexico a Confederate territory.