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BOCA CHICA, TEXAS

Cameron County, Texas Gulf Coast

5 Miles SE of Port Isabel
3 Miles NE of the mouth of the Rio Grande

Spanish for "little mouth," The Bay is centered at 2600' N, 9709' W and is bordered on the SE by Boca Chica Beach and on the N by Brazos Island

Boca Chica lTexas looking north
Boca Chica Today
Photos Courtesy Ken Rudine
, February 2007

Historical Markers in Boca Chica

Battle of Palmito Ranch
Camp Belknap
Boca Chica
Centennial Marker

BATTLE OF PALMITO RANCH

On May 13, 1865, the last land action of the Civil War took place here, more than a month after Lee's surrender at Appomattox. The Confederates forces knew of the surrender since May 1, when a New Orleans newspaper was tossed from a boat on its way to Brownsville to soldiers at Palmito Ranch. On May 9, 1865, Confederate Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, stated that he proposed to continue fighting.

On May 11th, under the cover of darkness at Boca Chica Pass, 300 Union troops crossed to the mainland in an attempt to occupy Brownsville. After a forced march, they reached White's Ranch at dawn and attempted (unsuccessfully) to conceal themselves to rest. With the element of surprise gone, the troops openly marched toward Brownsville but didn't get far.

At Palmito Ranch they were confronted by a Confederate force of 190 members of Lt. Col. George H. Giddings's Texas Cavalry which resulted in a brief skirmish. Both forces disengaged with the Union force camping for the night. The Confederates attacked at 3 a.m., forcing the Union troops to return to White's Ranch.

Early on May 13, 200 reinforcements arrived, bringing the Union strength up to 500. This larger force moved on Palmito Ranch where the major battle took place. The outnumbered Confederate received succor late that afternoon, from Colonel "RIP" Ford's Second Texas Cavalry, and a six-gun battery of field artillery.

The flat, open land gave the advantage to the Confederate mounted cavalry and the Union troops were routed. A seven-mile running fight to Brazos Island ensued - and there the Federal troops were met by reinforcements, now causing the Confederates to retreat.

Since everyone knew the war was officially over, this may have seemed to Ford to be a good note to go out on. He addressed his troops, saying, "Boys, we have done finely. We will let well enough alone, and retire."
The four hour battle left a score of Southerners wounded, but the Union fared much worse. Thirty men were killed or wounded and over a hundred were taken prisoner. A few days later a truce was signed. This seemingly minor see-saw confrontation may have been small by comparison with the Civil War's major battles, but it won a footnote in history by being the last land fight of the war - one that was won by the losers.

Boca Chica Today

Boca Chica lTexas looking north
Boca Chica looking north
Photos Courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007
Boca Chica Texas looking south
Boca Chica looking south
Photos Courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007
Camping in Boca Chica Texas
Camping in Boca Chica
Photos Courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007
Boca Chica Village and store, Boca Chica Texas
Boca Chica Village and store
Photos Courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007
Boca Chica road to the beach
Boca Chica Boulevard ends
Photos Courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007
Boca Chica looking over Mexico
Mexico across from Boca Chica
Photos Courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007
Boca Chica Texas surf
Surf at Boca Chica
Photos Courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007
TX Cameron County 1920s Map
1920s Cameron County map chowing Boca Chica
From Texas state map #10749

Courtesy Texas General Land Office
Boca Chica Texas Forum
BOCA CHICA..... "What did you say?"
In October 1960, I was completing the last two weeks of the Texas Highway Patrol Academy in Austin. As was the norm, academy officials posted on the bulletin board the name of towns or TxHwyPtl stations where the new hires would be stationed to begin work. As each new trainee eagerly observed where he would be sent, I was tip toeing to look over the other men's shoulders. Disappointingly aghast, I could see they were preparing to send me to live at BOCA CHICA, or even Pampa as an alternate, for my first work assignment. All other trainees experienced that same posted shock.

At first glance, after completing those six months of very hard and rigorous basic training, my response was to tell them to "Take This Job And Shove It." But as time passed better judgment kicked in. I decided to just let it play out.

At the time, I had never even heard of Boca Chica and honestly, panhandle Pampa wasn't a desirable place for this East Texas piney woods country boy to live either. So, we all languished in agony and pity for one another, trying to figure it all out and console each other a bit.

After letting our group moan, suffer and wallow in sorrow and humility for several days, we found out that the list was bogus. It was just another last minute attempt by academy officials to disappoint, harass, intimidate, belittle, and discourage the soon to be newly appointed Texas highway patrolmen. That wasn't an uncommon ploy, among other things, used by TxDPS during the 1950's, '60's and '70's. We all later agreed it was just another attempt to test our mettle. We all soon were once again heads up, chest out and highly proud to have overcome the disappointment and finished the academy.

A short few weeks thereafter I moved my little family to Crosby, Texas, in east Harris County as my first work assignment. There I spent a good part of my career. - Ray Maxie - Texas Escape's aka "Ramblin' Ray", June 21, 2007

Boca Chica, Texas Area Towns:
Brownsville | Port Isabel
See Cameron County | Texas Gulf Coast

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