The Lost Cause in the Far West

Dublin Core


The Lost Cause in the Far West


This collection represents an amalgamation of Confederate incursions into the western territories of North America during the Civil War in order to acquire precious metals and natural resources to assist in financing flagging efforts to sustain the Confederate agenda. Four of the territories included in this collection: Cheyenne, Wyoming; Leesburg, Idaho; Denver Colorado; and St. George, Utah were not theaters of conflict between Union and Confederate forces between 1861-1865. Instead, Confederate incursions into these territories were based on disrupting Union supply lines, interrupting Union telegraph communication, committing general bedlam crimes, exploiting precious metals, such as gold and silver to finance the war effort, and mining lead and zinc to bolster Confederate armaments in the later half of the war. In a sharp departure from the harassment and interruption of Union supplies in these territories, a small detachment of Confederate soldiers raided supply lines and murdered civilians in the Colorado territory after stealing their weapons and possessions. The only theater of conflict in this collection was the Battle of Valverde over Fort Craig in New Mexico which created a significant burden for Confederate forces and inflicted heavy losses, thus stretching the much needed resources for war, and hampering further Confederate activity in the region. The Confederates could not sustain their efforts to skirmish with Union soldiers throughout these territories, and continuous failures at obtaining gold and silver eventually forced the Confederates to retreat back to the South. Despite this retreat, significant sympathy for the Confederates had developed in these western territories.

Following the failure of the Confederates in the West, General Robert E. Lee negotiated the terms of surrender with General Ulysses S. Grant officially ending Confederate aggression against Union soldiers throughout the country. After the Confederate surrender, the western territories of North America served as a haven for lost cause ideology and southern sympathizers. Former confederate soldiers and officers moved to Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming and established general stores, banks, hotels, mining enterprises. Several prominent Confederates were elected to legislative positions when statehood was granted and influenced racist and bigoted policies throughout the newly created states. Monuments and landmarks were created in the west to reinforce lost cause ideology, while townships and schools were named after Confederate generals and figureheads to reinforce the erasure of the legacy of slavery in the South. The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans took painstaking efforts to justify Confederate incursions into these territories and to bolster financial and political support from Southern sympathizers. New Mexico eventually became the home for the daughter and son-in-law of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis. They became entrenched in the banking industry and had prominent roles in civil society. Despite being the site of such a limited theater of conflict during the Civil War, the state of New Mexico, in association with the Sons of Confederate Veterans hosted a massive convention of Confederate Veterans. As the contemporary debate has raged as to what to do with Confederate iconography throughout the United States, each of the locations in this collection have employed various means to remove, alter, cloak, or convert their Confederate monuments and landmarks.


Sons of Confederate Veterans and The Daughters of the Confederacy


Consult sources for each item in the collection.


Leesburg, Idaho 1866
St. George, Utah 1911
Fort Craig, New Mexico 1936
Denver, Colorado 2003
Cheyenne, Wyoming 2010


Kareem Khaled, Janae Scott, Marbella Valeriano Garcia, Ian Hodges, Kevin Gomez




Monument, Gravestone, High School, and Abandoned Township.


402A Fall 2023


Denver, Colorado
Leesburg, Idaho
San Antonio, New Mexico
Cheyenne, Wyoming
St. George, Utah

Collection Items

Riverside Cemetery Confederate Monument, Denver, Colorado
Dedicated by the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Sterling Price Camp #676 Association in 2003, the center plaque of the Confederate monument in Riverside Cemetery reads, "In honor of Colorado's Confederate Veterans who served during the War…

Battle of Valverde Confederate Monument, Fort Craig, New Mexico
The Western United States during the Civil War offered the Confederacy hope. With not many resources in the South, "In 1862, flush with a grandiose plan to conquer the New Mexico Territory and perhaps to secure for the Confederacy the vast mineral…

John C. Hunton’s Gravestone, Cheyenne, Wyoming
This Gravestone was unveiled in 2010 by the Daughters of the Confederacy and the Wyoming Pioneers Association to commemorate the Confederate soldier, John C Hunton. The original grave was a smaller headstone with the letters J. H. on it. The new…

Leesburg, Lemhi County, Idaho
Leesburg is an abandoned town located in Lemhi County, Idaho. It was named Leesburg after Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It was one of the first gold mining camps in Idaho.

On July 16, 1866 Frank Barney Sharkey led a group of four along the…

Dixie High School, St. George, Utah
Dixie High School is located in St. George Utah was created in 1911 by Mormon pioneers and is still in operation with roughly 1,200 students attending. The school's mascot is the Flyers, represented by a World War I biplane pilot.

Dixie High…
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