Diego Archuleta

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Diego Archuleta
Born 1814
Alcalde, New Mexico
Died 1884
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Allegiance Mexico Mexican Army
(1846 to 1848)
United States Union Army
(1862–1865)
Rank Corl ejer.png
Colonel (Mexican Army)
Union army brig gen rank insignia.jpg
Brigadier General (US)
Unit New Mexico Volunteer Infantry (US)
Commands held First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry (US)
Battles/wars Mexican American War
*Capture of Santa Fe
*Battle of Cañada
American Civil War
*Battle of Valverde
Other work Indian Agent

Brigadier General Diego Archuleta (March 27, 1814 – 1884), was a member of the Mexican Congress. He joined the Mexican Army to fight against the United States in the Mexican American War. Later, he was appointed an Indian (Native Americans) Agent by President Abraham Lincoln, and joined the Union Army (US Army) during the American Civil War. Archuleta became the first Hispanic to reach the military rank of Brigadier General.

Early years[edit]

Archuleta was born in Alcalde, New Mexico, then a province of New Spain. His family were wealthy ranchers and, as such, they had the economic means to send him to Durango, Mexico where he received his primary and secondary education.[1]

Mexican-American War[edit]

In 1843, Archuleta was elected to represent New Mexico before the Mexican National Congress, and served as such until 1845. As a congressman, Archuleta supported Mexico upon the outbreak of the Mexican-American War.[2]

The Mexican-American War was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, which Mexico considered part of its territory despite the 1836 Texas Revolution. In 1846 and 1847, Archuleta participated and led two unsuccessful rebellions against the U.S.[1]

On August 9, 1846, Archuleta, who was appointed to the rank of Colonel in the Mexican Army, wanted to fight the invading American forces headed towards the Mexican city of Santa Fe. He was joined by other militia officers Manuel Chaves and Miguel Pino, who wanted Governor Manuel Armijo to muster a defense. Armijo set up a position in Apache Canyon, a narrow pass about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of the city.[3] On August 14, before the arrival of the American Army, Armijo decided not to fight and dismissed Archuleta.[4] No shots were fired in the Capture of Santa Fe and the New Mexican Militia retreated from Santa Fe while Armijo fled to Chihuahua.

Archuleta also participated in the January 24, 1847, Battle of Cañada which was part of the Taos Revolt, a popular insurrection against the American occupation of New Mexico by Mexicans and Pueblo Indians.[5]

The U.S. won the Mexican-American War and forced Mexico into the cession of its northern territories, which included New Mexico.[6][7] After the war, Archuleta returned to New Mexico and swore allegiance to the American government. He became involved in the politics of what was now a territory of the United States, and was elected to the New Mexico territory assembly. John S. Watts, a pro-Lincoln Republican congressional delegate from New Mexico, advocated for Archuleta's appointment as the U.S. Indian (Native Americans) agent.

In 1857, Archuleta was named the U.S. Indian agent for the Ute Indian tribe.[1][2]

American Civil War[edit]

From 1861 to 1865, eleven Southern slave states of the United States of America declared their secession from the U.S. and formed the Confederate States of America. The U.S. government (The Union) rejected secession as illegal, and the Civil War ensued.[8]

Initially, Archuleta's sympathies lay with the Confederates. This led Watts and other pro-Union colleagues to lose faith in Archuleta. In 1861, Watts asked the president of the Union, Abraham Lincoln, to replace Archuleta and to name Jose Antonio Mansinares to the position of Indian agent.[1]

Archuleta recanted from his secessionist views, joined the Union Army with the rank of Colonel, and was assigned to the "New Mexico Volunteer Infantry" (NMVI).[2] With 157 Hispanic officers, the NMVI had the most Hispanic officers of any unit in the Union Army. Besides Archuleta, who served as the commanding officer of the NMVI, the unit included Colonel Miguel E. Pino, Lieutenant Colonel Jose Maria Valdez, Colonel Jose G. Gallegos, and Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Perea. These units fought in the Battle of Valverde on February 21, 1862.[9] When Archuleta was promoted to Brigadier General, he became the first Hispanic in history, to reach that rank in the United States Military.[1][2]

Later years[edit]

In March 1865, after the war's end, President Lincoln re-appointed Archuleta as an Indian agent in New Mexico.[2] Archuleta was later elected to the New Mexico Territorial Legislature, where he served until his death in 1884. He died in Santa Fe, and was survived by seven children.[1]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Diego Archuleta's awards and decorations include the following:

Further reading[edit]

  • Diego Archuleta, Primer Brigadier Mexicano de Estados Unidos (Spanish); by Gerardo Flores; Publication: Contenido (Magazine/Journal); Publisher: Thomson Gale
  • The History Of The Military Occupation Of The Territory Of New Mexico From 1846-1851, By The Government Of The United States;" by Ralph Emerson Twitchell; Publisher: Kessinger Publishing
  • Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West; by Ned Blackhawk; Publisher: Harvard University Press; ISBN 0-674-02720-5; ISBN 978-0-674-02720-6

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Kanellos, Nicolas (1997). Hispanic Firsts: 500 Years of Extraordinary Achievement. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. pp. 210–211. ISBN 0-7876-0519-0. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Pratt McDermott, Stacey (July–September 2008). "Problemas In Nuevo Mexico". Lincoln Editor 8 (3): 5. ISSN 1537-226X. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  3. ^ "New Mexico Historic Markers: Canoncito at Apache Canyon". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved April 15, 2007. 
  4. ^ "One Offense of the Pueblos". Retrieved October 26, 2011. 
  5. ^ Cooke, Philip St. George (1964). The Conquest of New Mexico and California, an Historical and Personal Narrative. Albuquerque, NM: Horn and Wallace. pp. 113–114.
  6. ^ Christensen and Christensen, The U.S.–Mexican War, Bay Books, San Francisco, 1998
  7. ^ Brian DeLay (2008). War of a thousand deserts: Indian raids and the U.S.–Mexican War. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-11932-9. 
  8. ^ Frank L. Owsley, State Rights in the Confederacy (Chicago, 1925).
  9. ^ "MILITARY ORDER OF THE LOYAL LEGION OF THE UNITED STATES". Retrieved October 26, 2011.