"The National Recreation Trail over Baylor Pass roughly follows the route taken by the Confederate cavalry while engaging the Union infantry in 1862 during the Civil War. Near Las Cruces, Colonel John Baylor was attacked by Union troops under Major Isaac Lynde. Baylor’s inferior force nonetheless held its ground against the Union, and apparently, the sight of blood was enough to send Lynde packing out of nearby Fort Fillmore, a supply base he considered indefensible.
Legend has it that, as the Union soldiers destroyed the supplies at Fort Fillmore in preparation for their retreat, they were loath to pour out a store of good medicinal whisky, instead using it to fi ll their canteens. As they retreated toward San Augustin Pass, the July sun and whisky soon dehydrated the marchers. Baylor easily caught Lynde’s stragglers, who readily surrendered for a drink of water. Then Baylor and several hundred mounted troops dashed across the pass that would bear his name, and surprised Lynde’s main Union force at San Augustin Spring, where Lynde accepted Baylor’s demand for unconditional surrender."