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Alexander McRae
Birth: Sep., 1829
North Carolina, USA
Death: Feb. 20, 1862
Val Verde
Socorro County
New Mexico, USA

Civil War Union Army Officer. A West Point Graduate and native North Carolinian who remained loyal to the Union, he served in the New Mexico Territory during the early days of the Civil War with the rank of captain and commander of Company I, 3rd United States Regular Cavalry. After the commencement of hostilies in the area, Colonel Edward R.S. Canby, the commanding officer of Fort Craig, New Mexico, hastily formed an artillery battery of six pieces to be commanded by Captain Mcrae. During the Battle of Valverde, February 21, 1862, McRae's battery performed with great success until the Confederate Texans led by Colonel Thomas Green charged the Union guns while screaming the Rebel yell. They came on in three separate waves totaling nearly 750 men, armed with short-range shotguns, pistols, muskets, and bowie knives, seemingly oblivious to the shell and canister that McRae's gunners were ramming home as fast as they could. Upon seeing the flashes from the artillery, Green's men would dive to the ground for cover, which appeared at first as though the Confederates were dropping with great casualties. After eight minutes, the Texans reached the battery while taking heavier casualties as they came closer to the Union guns. The image of the onrushing Texans, combined with the shell and canister from a Confederate battery firing upon McRae's battery, proved too much for many of the New Mexico Volunteers supporting McRae and his officers. Many fled the battery and ran panic-stricken across the Rio Grande and unnerved the Volunteer troops who were then being held in reserve. The Texans fell upon the battery and fierce hand-to-hand fighting swirled around the artillery pieces as the Union soldiers valiantly fought to defend their position. More and more of the inexperienced Volunteers abandoned the battery, while Captain McRae and his officers and a number of men stood their ground and fought. A Texan officer is reported to have shouted, "Surrender McRae, we don't want to kill you!" to which the North Carolinian replied, "I shall never forsake my guns!" It was during this melee that McRae fell with a fatal bullet wound to the head while gallantly defending his command. During this time, more and more Union troops abandoned their positions at the battery and ran towards the reserve infantry on the opposite side of the Rio Grande. This sight unnerved the reserve troops who, all but one company refused to come to the assistance of the battery. Colonel Canby, upon realizing that the battle was lost, called for a full retreat to Fort Craig. Alexander McRae's body was exhumed in 1867 and transported to West Point for burial. Upon returning to San Antonio following their unsuccessful invasion of the western territories, the Texans formed the Valverde Battery with the captured artillery pieces. This battery would go on to fight against Union troops for the remainder of the war. (bio by: robert donahue) 
 
Burial:
United States Military Academy Post Cemetery
West Point
Orange County
New York, USA
Plot: Section 23, Row A, Grave 8
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Russ Dodge
Record added: Mar 11, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10601067
Alexander McRae
Added by: Creative Commons
 
Alexander McRae
Added by: Russ Dodge
 
Alexander McRae
Cemetery Photo
Added by: SJGenealogy
 
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Rest in peace, Sir. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. God bless you for your gallant stand in defense of our Union against those who would have destroyed it.
- Sharon
 Added: Feb. 21, 2016
For your gallant service to our country during our American Civil War. Rest in peace, sir.
- Daniel Moran
 Added: Feb. 21, 2016

- Republican
 Added: Feb. 21, 2015
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