Did you know 3 Battles were fought right here in the City of Brownsville?
In 1836, Texas fought for its independence from the Republic of Mexico. The Republic of Texas claimed the Rio Grande as its southern border. Mexico did not agree. In 1845, the Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States of America. With statehood, hostilities seemed imminent. General Zachary Taylor left Corpus Christi with an Army of Observation after he received orders on February 1846. After arriving in the area, Taylor established a base at Point Isabel and a field for (later named Fort Brown) directly across from Matamoros, Mexico. Mexican forces responded, and in early May the opening battles of the Mexican-American War took place here at Fort Brown, Palo Alto, and Resaca de la Palma. By the terms of the treaty ending the Mexican-American War, the United States received land comprising Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, and portions of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
The Battle of Palo Alto
The battle of Palo Alto occurred May 8, 1846. General Zachary Taylor’s troops engaged General Arista’s Mexican forces on a grass-covered plain; when Arista moved to block Taylor’s advance to the south, Mexican flanking movements were repulsed by the superior battle tactics including “flying artillery” and the formation of “squares” by the Americans.
On June 23, 1992, President Bush signed into law the bill authorizing the establishment of the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park. The National Park Service now maintains a museum and is accepting visitors to the 3,400 acre battlefield site at 7200 Paredes Line Rd.
The Battle of Resaca de la Palma
On the evening of May 8th Mexican forces retreated from Palo Alto to take up defensive points further south. Taylor’s troops advanced on May 9th to find MExican troops in defensive lines along an empty river channel (resaca) bed. When the Mexican lines were finally turned, after much resistance, Taylor’s troops fled to Matamoros and the siege of Fort Texas (Fort Brown) had been lifted. A granite marker on Paredes Line Road (just beyond the resaca north of East Price Road) was erected in 1936 to serve as a memorial of this battle. A portion of the battlefield is now part of the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park.
The Battle of Palmito Ranch
With the onset of the Civil War, Confederate cotton exports left via neutral Mexico (from the Port of Bagdad, at the Mouth of the Rio Grande,) to evade the Union blockade. Brownsville traders and intriguers prospered as part of the lifeline of survival for the Confederacy. The last battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Palmito Ranch was fought May 13, 1865, five weeks after the Confederate Army surrendered at Appomattox.