Las Cruces Tea Party flew Confederate flag on Fourth of July parade float
Posted at: 07/08/2012
By: Shaun Griswold, KOB.com
Bitter words are being exchanged between the Las Cruces mayor and the city's Tea Party over a parade float.
The Tea Party's float won best of show at the Las Cruces Fourth of July parade.
The float prominently displayed a Confederate flag.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima is upset about the flag's placement on the float.
"The Las Cruces Tea Party can believe whatever it wants, but to have this symbol and what it represents," he said. "Highlight the winning float at a celebration of our nation's independence is an outrage."
The Tea Party said the float celebrates the area's history.
"The theme of the parade was the history of the State of New Mexico," party members said in a statement. "There was a lot of history that defined our state prior to 1912. We showed how we fought for our statehood and the sacrifices we made along the way, along with our triumphs."
History tells a brief tale about Confederate occupation in New Mexico.
It started at the plaza in La Mesilla, N.M., nearly five miles from the parade route.
On March 16 1861, La Mesilla hosted a territorial secession convention. 12 days before the convention, seven states left the U.S. to form the Confederate States of America, and nearly one month later the Civil War's first major aggression took place at Fort Sumner.
Both Union and Confederate governments claimed control over the New Mexico Territory, which extended through Arizona and southern Nevada.
As with the war, the territory split horizontally. On July 15 1861, Confederates from Texas took over Mesilla and established the Arizona Territory from southern New Mexico through Tucson, Ariz.
Confederates pushed north, however its New Mexico Campaign would end at Glorietta Pass in March 1862.
Union troops forced Confederates into retreat. They destroyed the Confederate supply wagon and its hopes for expansion into California.
By April 1882, Union troops had forced the last Confederate soldiers out of Mesilla.