SANTA FE – New Mexico state lawmakers are seeking new recognition for the Civil War heroism of a Hispanic soldier for the Union Army who also led violent campaigns against Native Americans in the mid-19th century and had close ties to a community known for enslaving American Indians.
An infrastructure bill approved by the Legislature would place a bronze bust of Manuel Antonio Chaves in the Statehouse. Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has until Wednesday to act on the Legislation.
Chaves is credited with leading a crucial Union attack on a supply caravan during the 1862 battle at Glorieta Pass that helped halt the western advance of Confederate forces. A biography of Chaves says he led 450 volunteers in an armed campaign against the Navajos in 1860 that captured women and children.