Palmito Ranch Battlefield: Last Clash of the Blue and the Gray
Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Today, this windswept salt prairie looks much the same as it did during the fierce, two-day battle that marked the end of four years of bloody conflict.
May 13, 1865
Despite news of the surrender, Colonel Theodore H. Barrett, commander of Union forces stationed on Brazos Island, ordered an advance on Brownsville, Texas. On May 12, 1865, U.S. cavalry troops attacked a small party of Confederates, which withdrew to Palmito Ranch.
The next day, reinforcements arrived for both sides. Although U.S. forces outnumbered Confederates two to one, they were outgunned and outflanked. The battle ended in a Confederate victory when Union forces fled back to the coast.
"Though very small in comparison to its great battles, [Palmito Ranch] deserves notice as having closed the long struggle—as it opened—with a Conederate victory."
Private John Jefferson Williams, a member of the 34th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, was killed at Palmito Ranch. He was the last Union soldier killed in battle during the Civil War. Wikipedia
Colonel Theodore H. Barrett, commander of Union forces at Brazos Island, had no combat experience prior to the battle at Palmito Ranch. Historians still debate his reasons for ordering the advance. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN
A former Texas Ranger known as "Old Rip", Colonel John Ford led Confederate troops to
victory at Palmito Ranch. Ford was in command of Confederate troops stationed at Fort Brown. DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, Ag2008.0005.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
Location. 25° 57.693′ N, 97° 18.089′ W. Marker is in Brownsville, Texas, in Cameron County. Marker is on Boca Chica Boulevard (State Highway 4) 0.2 miles east of Palmito Hill Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brownsville TX 78521, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Exploring The Boundaries (here, next to this marker); Battle of Palmito Ranch (a few steps from this marker); Last Battle of the Civil War (approx.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 15, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 13, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 42 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on January 13, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.