TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
Custom Search
New   |   Texas Towns   |   Ghost Towns   |   Counties   |   Trips   |   Features   |   Columns   |   Architecture   |   Images   |   Archives   |   Site Map

Cameron County TX
Cameron County

Texas Towns
A - Z
Brownsville Hotels

More Hotels
Texas History

BATTLE OF PALMITO RANCH

Boca Chica, Texas

Battle of Palmito Ranch
Battle Of Palmito Ranch Historical Marker
Route 4 (Boca Ricia Road)
about 12 miles east of Brownsville

Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, February 2007
Historical Marker:

BATTLE OF PALMITO RANCH

The last land engagement of the Civil War was fought near this site on May 12-13, 1865, thirty-four days after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

Col. Theodore H. Barrett commanded Federal troops on Brazos Island 12 miles to the east. The Confederates occupied Fort Brown 12 miles to the west, commanded by Gen. James E. Slaughter and Col. John S. (Rip) Ford, whose troops had captured Fort Brown from the Federals in 1864.

Ordered to recapture the fort, Lt. Col. David Branson and 300 men advanced from Brazos Island. They won a skirmish with Confederate pickets on May 12. Barrett reinforced Branson's troops with 200 men on May 13 and renewed the march to Fort Brown. Confederate cavalry held the Federals in check until Ford arrived with reinforcements that afternoon. Ford's artillery advanced and fired on the northern end of the Federal line while the cavalry charged. The Confederate right charged the southern end of the Federal line and captured part of the Union infantry. Barrett ordered a retreat toward the U.S. position on Brazos Island. While the Confederates reported no fatalities in the Battle of Palmito Ranch, the Union forces reported four officers and 111 men killed, wounded or missing.
1963

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.

See Boca Chica, Texas
More Texas History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Texas Escapes Online Magazine »   Archive Issues » Home »
TEXAS TOWNS & COUNTIES TEXAS LANDMARKS & IMAGES TEXAS HISTORY & CULTURE TEXAS OUTDOORS MORE
Texas Counties
Texas Towns A-Z
Texas Ghost Towns

TEXAS REGIONS:
Central Texas North
Central Texas South
Texas Gulf Coast
Texas Panhandle
Texas Hill Country
East Texas
South Texas
West Texas

Courthouses
Jails
Churches
Schoolhouses
Bridges
Theaters
Depots
Rooms with a Past
Monuments
Statues

Gas Stations
Post Offices
Museums
Water Towers
Grain Elevators
Cotton Gins
Lodges
Stores
Banks

Vintage Photos
Historic Trees
Cemeteries
Old Neon
Ghost Signs
Signs
Murals
Gargoyles
Pitted Dates
Cornerstones
Then & Now

Columns: History/Opinion
Texas History
Small Town Sagas
Black History
WWII
Texas Centennial
Ghosts
People
Animals
Food
Music
Art

Books
Cotton
Texas Railroads

Texas Trips
Texas Drives
Texas State Parks
Texas Rivers
Texas Lakes
Texas Forts
Texas Trails
Texas Maps
USA
MEXICO
HOTELS

Site Map
About Us
Privacy Statement
Disclaimer
Contributors
Staff
Contact Us

 
Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved