On March 26, 1862, Confederate and Union soldiers stopped at each end of Glorieta pass - the Confederates at Apache Canyon to the west and the Federals at Pigeon’s Ranch to the east.
The two forces then briefly clashed near the Confederate base at Apache Canyon
before retiring to their respective camps.
Hostilities resumed the morning of March 28th, as both sides advanced into Glorieta Pass. The Confederates chose to send most of their forces into the attack, and left perhaps 30 or 40 troops to guard the supply train in the rear of Apache Canyon at Johnson’s Ranch. Four hundred Colorado Volunteers descended from the steep mountains late in the day and surprised the far outnumbered Confederate rear guard at Johnson‘s Ranch.
Even though the rebels had an advantage in numbers and they pushed the Federals back toward the eastern edge of the pass, at one point shelling the Federal camp at Pigeon’s Ranch,
they still had to retreat because of what the Union had done to their supply wagons. They were, after all, in New Mexico, and whatever they needed they had to have with them--especially water and food, but also saddles, medicines, ammunition. Without their supplies, the Confederates had no choice but to retire from the field and withdraw to Santa Fe. Soon they pulled out of New Mexico territory for good.
The Confederate leaders thought they could manage to live off the land and they thought westerners would rally to their cause. They were wrong on both counts.