Kit Carson’s Civil War: The Navajo Round Up

Emerging Civil War

Today, we are pleased to welcome back guest author Ray Shortridge

Part two in a series.

Kit Carson. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. Kit Carson. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

In April, 1863, Brigadier General Henry H. Carleton ordered Colonel Kit Carson to round up the Navajo Indian Tribe and intern them at a reservation in the Bosque Redondo.[1] This was Carson’s first major independent command. Since the Navajo would not go willingly, the army’s strategy, developed by Colonel Edward Canby, was to destroy the tribe’s economy by seizing or killing their sheep and horses, and confiscating or destroying their crops. Carleton allocated Carson some 736 men of the First New Mexico Volunteer Regiment, organized into six mounted companies and three of infantry. Carleton ordered Carson to “prosecute a vigorous war upon the men of this tribe until it is considered at these Head Quarters (sic) that they have been effectually punished for their long…

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