Monday, August 01, 2011

150 Years Ago -- Robert E. Lee and John Baylor

On Thursday, August 1, 1861, Robert E. Lee arrived in western Virginia.  After the recent defeats in the area, Lee had been sent by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to inspect the Confederate forces and to coordinate a counteroffensive.  Lee would soon take command of the troops, supplanting General W. W. Loring.

Out west, John Baylor claimed the New Mexico Territory below the 34th parallel (the southern half of present-day New Mexico and Arizona) for the Confederacy.  Baylor proclaimed himself the military governor of the new Confederate Arizona Territory and issued a proclamation:
"Proclamation to the People of the Territory of Arizona: The social and political condition of Arizona being little short of general anarchy, and the people being literally destitute of law, order, and protection, the said Territory, from the date hereof, is hereby declared temporarily organized as a military government until such time as Congress may otherwise provide.

I, John R. Baylor, lieutenant-colonel, commanding the Confederate Army in the Territory of Arizona, hereby take possession of said Territory in the name and behalf of the Confederate States of America. For all purposes herein specified, and until otherwise decreed or provided, the Territory of Arizona shall comprise all that portion of New Mexico lying south of the thirty-fourth parallel of north latitude."

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