The Battle of Palmito Ranch

May 11, 1865 – The last major battle of the War Between the States ironically resulted in a Confederate victory near Brownsville, Texas.

Federal Colonel Theodore H. Barrett broke a ceasefire agreement by sending about 300 cavalry to attack Confederate positions along the Rio Grande River. When Barrett’s cavalry commander, Lieutenant Colonel David Branson, learned that Mexicans had informed the Confederates of Federal intentions, Branson ordered an attack at Palmito Ranch.[1]

On May 12, Barrett’s two Federal regiments moved inland from Brazos Santiago Post toward Brownsville and attacked. The first Federal thrust drove the Confederates off, but the Confederates regrouped and the Federals withdrew under mounting pressure.[2]

The Battle of Palmito Ranch | Image Credit: Wikispaces.com

The Battle of Palmito Ranch | Image Credit: Wikispaces.com

The Federals attacked again the next day and were again successful until Confederates under Colonel John S. Ford (nicknamed R.I.P. or “Rest in Peace” Ford) counterattacked and repulsed the enemy. The Federals withdrew to Boca Chica and were evacuated by sea; they had suffered 115 casualties in a defeat that had no effect on the war’s outcome.[3]

—–

[1] Linedecker, Clifford L. (ed.), The Civil War A to Z (Ballantine Books, 2002), p. 196-97

[2] Korn, Jerry, Pursuit to Appomattox: The Last Battles (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 160-63; Linedecker, Clifford L. (ed.), The Civil War A to Z (Ballantine Books, 2002), p. 196-97; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 688

[3] Korn, Jerry, Pursuit to Appomattox: The Last Battles (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 160-63; Linedecker, Clifford L. (ed.), The Civil War A to Z (Ballantine Books, 2002), p. 196-97; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 688

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2 thoughts on “The Battle of Palmito Ranch

  1. […] Battle of Palmito Ranch began on the banks of the Rio Grande in Texas. Confederate cavalry drove Federals back to Boca […]

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  2. […] Battle of Palmito Ranch began on the banks of the Rio Grande in Texas. Confederate cavalry drove Federals back to Boca […]

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