Empire of Sand is the story of the Southern attempt, in 1862, to open a path to California, thus securing a port on the Pacific Ocean. The port would enable them to gain access to the gold fields of Colorado and California and expand the practice of slavery into the Southwest.This quixotic undertaking was attempted by a few regiments of Texas cavalry, known as "the Army of the Southwest," commanded by the ambitious but ultimately incompetent Brig. Gen. Henry H. Sibley.Marching out of San Antonio and across the forbidding deserts of West Texas, the Sibley Brigade achieved initial success in winning a significant victory over the Union forces of Col. E. R. S. Canby at the battle of Valverde. They then traveled up the Rio Grande to capture Albuquerque and Santa Fe and to threaten Union possession of Colorado territory. A Federal force consisting of US regulars and Colorado volunteers, however, fought the Texans to a standstill at the battle of Glorieta Pass and decisively checked the Rebels when the notorious Col. John Chivington led a daring raid behind their lines.