Lincoln County New Mexico Historical Society
Lincoln County Historical Society located in historic Lincoln County New Mexico


  Explore Lincoln County New Mexico History and the legend of Billy the Kid!

Alexander Duval

by Walter Earl Pittman

Duval was born in Virginia about 1819.  By the early 1850s, he was a beef contractor to the Army, living in Santa Fe where he had other large mercantile interests.  His business racked up huge debts that he was unable to repay immediately.  So, he relocated first near Ft. Craig and then in the Bonita Valley.  He was an early sutler (1856) and illegal whiskey trader at Ft. Stanton.  He quickly recovered financially and was rich by 1860.  Duval was a bachelor but owned a black female slave, 18 years old, who was perhaps his cook, perhaps not.

Duval was one of the prominent local citizens instrumental in sending a delegation to Confederate Colonel Baylor at Mesilla in July 1861, pointin out the large quantities of supplies abandoned at Fort Stanton by the Union troops in their panicky retreat after the disaster at San Augustin Pass.  This included an entire battery of light artillery (4 or 6 guns) as well as food, uniforms, and other equipment.  In response, Baylor Sent Capt. James Walker's Company D (2nd Texas Mounted Volunteers, Baylor's Regiment) to Ft. Stanton for a month to recover the goods.

The Rebels lost three men to Kiowa Indians while on a patrol at Gallinas (west of modern Corona) but later captured an entire company of New Mexico cavalry without firing a shot.  After securing the supplies, the Texans returned to Mesilla, 2 September 1862, burning the Fort as they left.

Most of the local non-Hispanic settlers went with the Confederates.  Most of the Hispanic settlers went north to Manzano or Socorro, but a company of local Hispanics joined the rebel cause.  All left the Bonita because of the Apaches and the area was bereft of settlers from 1861-1862.  Most Angl men, like Duval, joined the Confederate Army (Baylor's 2nd Texas Mounted Volunteers) in 1861 and retreated with them to Texas in 1862.  He also undertook some "misinformation" activity, falsely implicating loyal Union men as Rebel traitors.

During the War, Duval served as a quartermaster in the famous "Arizona Brigade" in Texas and Louisana.  His property in New Mexicowas seized by the Yankees during thewar.  Duval returned to New Mexico in the late 1860s a poor man. But by 1870, he was working for the "House" - Murphy, Fritz, etc.- running a small hotel located across the street from what became the Murphy-Dolan store (and later, the courthouse).  He died sometime in the early 1870s in Lincoln.

from the Lincoln County Historical Society newsletter, Spring 2015