War for the Future

Guaymas

Guaymas

Welcome to the RVA Global Tour. eat great food, see great art, take selfies with history, and earn prizes at the museum. 

  1. Snap a photo with two or more posters. 

  2. visit the american civil war museum to get your prize.

Scroll down for Luis Terrazas’ story, find others at the tour home page, and take off around the world… from Richmond! [Note: This is a prototype test of the Global Tour. Please let us know what you think! email to cgraham@acwm.org]

A. de Vauducourt painted  The Plaza and Church of El Paso  in the 1850s. The mission Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de los Mansos was over two hundred years old when Confederate soldiers headed to New Mexico.

A. de Vauducourt painted The Plaza and Church of El Paso in the 1850s. The mission Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de los Mansos was over two hundred years old when Confederate soldiers headed to New Mexico.

 

Could an obscure port on the west coast of Mexico become “the metropolis of the whole coast”? Could Confederates find an outlet to the Pacific through Guaymas? From Richmond, Jefferson Davis approved plans to secure Confederate influence in northern Mexican states, weakened by the Mexican Reform War. Others, like William Gwin, imagined that colonization by white southerners would result in annexation of those states to the Confederacy.

When Robert Josselyn stood before the map in Jefferson Davis’ office in the Confederate executive mansion, he may have envisioned his own future in the southwest. Davis soon dispatched Josselyn to be the secretary of the Confederate territory of Arizona.

Birds of the Pacific Coast  by Andrew Jackson Grayson sparked imagination and ambition for the western side of the continent.

Birds of the Pacific Coast by Andrew Jackson Grayson sparked imagination and ambition for the western side of the continent.

Confederates, particularly those in Texas, harbored great interest in securing the gold and silver mines and transportation lines leading to California and the Pacific. The route they often envisioned stretched from Texas to New Mexico, then south along the Yaqui River valley to the Mexican port of Guaymas, visible on Davis' map. There, newspaperman William Cushing of the Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph thought, “the markets of the whole Pacific coast,” would be open to them and Guaymas “will be in future years the metropolis of the whole coast.”

Geography proved compelling, but so did Mexico’s political chaos. In 1855, liberal Mexicans overthrew dictator Manuel de Santa Ana and attempted to implement reform laws and a new constitution that struck at the power of the Catholic Church and the military. Conservatives fought back and a full scale civil war--the Reform War--engulfed the country. Liberals prevailed, eventually, but the chaos destabilized Mexican authority and left states on the northern frontier vulnerable to outside influence.

Former United States Senator William Gwin, acting independently but as a Confederate, had grander plans--to open northern Mexico to colonization by white southerners, with an eye toward eventual annexation by the Confederate States.

Captain James Reily of the 4th Texas Cavalry went south to negotiate with Chihuaha state governor Luis Terrazas to help Confederates secure Guaymas. Terrazas offered Reily “assurances of my highest and most cordial esteem and respect,” but could not guarantee the cooperation of the Mexican government. 

Robert Josselyn went to Arizona, but, emblematic of Confederate fortunes, never made it south of the Rio Grande.

 
 
 

See where Jefferson Davis' office was at the White House of the Confederacy

 
 

Have a uniquely Mexican experience at Tio Pablo in Shockoe Bottom