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During the Civil War Albuquerque was occupied in February 1862 by Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley, who soon afterward advanced with his main body into northern New Mexico. This daylong engagement at long range led to few casualties.This central plaza area has been preserved and is open to the public as a museum, cultural area, and center of commerce.It is referred to as "Old Town Albuquerque" or simply "Old Town." Historically it was sometimes referred to as "La Placita" (little plaza in Spanish).After 1821, Mexico also had a military garrison there.
The town of Alburquerque was built in the traditional Spanish village pattern: a central plaza surrounded by government buildings, homes, and a church.
During his retreat from Union troops into Texas he made a stand on April 8, 1862, at Albuquerque and fought the Battle of Albuquerque against a detachment of Union soldiers commanded by Colonel Edward R. east in what quickly became known as New Albuquerque or New Town.