Mesilla was named county seat of Doña Ana County in 1856 and incorporated in 1861. In 1958, Mesilla reincorporated. On Sunday, August 27, 1871, organized members of both the Democratic and Republican Parties announced rallies on the Plaza. The parties agreed to meet in different areas. Agitators from both parties wanted to close their respective meetings with a procession around the Plaza. Whiskey flowed freely. When the two processions met, shots were fired and several fights broke out. Nine men were killed and between 40 and 50 were wounded. Troops were summoned from Fort McRae to restore order and remained a few nights until calm was restored. With no judge in the district at the time, a judge was summoned from another district to hold an investigation. After three days, he decided it was too dangerous for any investigation and returned home without any action and no one was ever convicted.