Palmito Ranch

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Palmito Ranch

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Union Col. Theodore H. Barrett, commanding forces at Brazos Santiago, Texas, dispatched an expedition composed of 250 men of the 62nd U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment and 50 men of the 2nd Texas Cavalry Regiment under the command of Lt. Col. David Branson to the mainland, on May 11, 1865, to attack reported Rebel outposts and camps. At 2:00 am, on May 12th, the expeditionary force surrounded the Rebel outpost at White’s Ranch, but found no one there. Later that morning, people on the Mexican side of the river informed the Rebels of the Federals’ whereabouts. Branson promptly led his men off to attack a Confederate camp at Palmito Ranch, scattering the Confederates. Branson and his men remained at the site to feed themselves and their horses but, at 3:00 pm, a sizable Confederate force appeared, influencing the Federals to retire to White’s Ranch. He sent word of his predicament to Barrett, who reinforced him with 200 men of the 34th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. The augmented force, now commanded by Barrett, started out towards Palmito Ranch, skirmishing most of the way. A few miles from of the Ranch they became involved in a sharp firefight. Barrett led his force back to a river bluff where the men could prepare dinner and camp for the night. At 4:00 pm, a large Confederate cavalry force, commanded by Col. John S. “Rip” Ford, approached, and the Federals formed a battle line. The Rebels hammered the Union line with artillery and Barrett ordered a retreat, ending the last battle in the Civil War.

Battle Facts

Result

Confederate Victory
Forces Engaged
900

Union

500

Confederate

300
Total Estimated Casualties
123

Union

117

Confederate

6