Tuesday, May 12, 2015 will mark the sesquicentennial anniversary of the ‘Last Land Battle’ of the American Civil War, fought on May 12–13, 1865; and the Cameron County Historical Commission is hard at work to make sure that Texas and the nation know the name—Palmito Ranch Battlefield National Historic Landmark (NHL). The Cameron County Historical Commission’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee (Cameron Sesquicentennial Committee) is coordinating extensive preparations for a week-long commemoration of the Battle of Palmito Ranch in Brownsville.
Since 2007, the THC has been hard at work researching Palmito Ranch Battlefield NHL and engaged in national and regional partnership development focused on increasing interpretation at this historic site. Palmito Ranch Battlefield NHL, near Brownsville in southeastern Cameron County, lies in the Texas Tropical Trail Region, which showcases the heritage, natural beauty, and rich culture of South Texas for the benefit and enjoyment of Texans and travelers.
Since 2008, the THC, in conjunction with the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park (NHP), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s South Texas Refuge Complex, and with support from the Brownsville Historical Association, and the Cameron County Historical Commission, have worked together to increase visitorship to the battlefield.
In an effort to continue the enhanced interpretation and preservation of the "Last Land Battle" of the American Civil War, the THC hosts Park Day at Palmito Ranch Battlefield National Historic Landmark. Park Day is an annual event sponsored by the Civil War Trust and History (formerly the History Channel), which seeks volunteers to clean and repair the grounds of Civil War battlefields. At each site, volunteers receive a free T-shirt and patches (while supplies last) and have the opportunity to hear historians interpret the battle.
Last year's Park Day (held on April 5) was a great success thanks to the hard work of many volunteers, including the NPS, and this year's co-hosts the Cameron County Historical Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Park Day 2015 will take place on April 11, 2015. Check back to this webpage for more information in the following months, or contact the THC military sites program coordinator directly for details.
Exploring the Boundaries of Palmito Ranch Battlefield National Historic Landmark Radio Broadcast Repeater Project
Standing on historic ground and hearing the stories of those who came before us puts people in a perfect frame of mind to consider their cultural heritage and the importance of preserving it for future generations. To that end, the THC and its supporters established a Radio Broadcast Repeater System in 2011 that makes available locally on 1610 AM, the history of the battlefield to tourists driving the length of the national historic landmark on State Hwy 4 (Boca Chica Rd).
USFWS, South Texas Refuge Complex opens new Interpretive Platform
Through another successful project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the THC is happy to announce that the South Texas Refuge Complex has fully funded and constructed a new Interpretive Platform in the core-battlefield area. The site provides heritage tourists with a 360-degree view of the battlefield, and has several low-profile wayside signs. Pictured below, Refuge Manager Bryan Winton provides Park Day 2014 attendees with a tour of the USFWS’s new interpretive platform.
150th Anniversary of the Battle of Palmito Ranch Commemoration: May 12–13, 2015
The Cameron County Historical Commission (CHC) has taken the lead in organizing the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Last Land Battle of the Civil War. The Cameron Sesquicentennial Committee over the past four years has embraced partners in preservation, to create regional programming for heritage tourists through symposiums, outreach, research, and its planned week-long series of events during the upcoming sesquicentennial observance in May 2015. Please have a look at the Cameron CHC's dedicated website to the 150th Commemoration. You can also contact the Cameron CHC's Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee directly for more details on their planning process.
Whether you are a Civil War history enthusiast, or a curious heritage tourist to all the intriguing sites the Texas Tropical Trail Region has to offer you, be sure not to miss the events planned in Brownsville for the May 11-16. In the interim, consider downloading the THC's Palmito Ranch Battlefield National Historic Landmark (pdf) brochure to learn more about the battlefield.