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From These Honored DeadHistorical Archaeology of the American Civil War$
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Clarence R. Geier, Douglas D. Scott, and Lawrence E. Babits

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049441

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049441.001.0001

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An Archaeological Study of the Battlefield of Palmito Ranch

An Archaeological Study of the Battlefield of Palmito Ranch

“The Last Conflict of the Great Rebellion”

(p.57) 4 An Archaeological Study of the Battlefield of Palmito Ranch
From These Honored Dead

Charles M. Haecker

University Press of Florida

The Battle of Palmito Ranch, fought May 12 and 13, 1865, is renowned as the last land engagement of the Civil War. The battle took place on an eight-mile-long expanse of salt prairie in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, halfway between Brownsville and Brazos Island, Texas. Palmito Ranch is important to our understanding of (1) the Confederacy's trans-Mississippi Department and Confederate and Union relations with Mexico and the France of Napoleon III; (2) the performance of black troops in combat; (3) the South's overwhelming logistical and foreign trade problems; (4) the perpetuation of Lost Cause legends; and (5) the character of Texas nationalism. In 2001 and 2002, National Park Service archaeologists conducted a sample survey of the Palmito Ranch battlefield to determine if battle-related artifacts were present in sufficient numbers to permit identification of specific battle events. Chapter 4 describes this research context, presents the archaeological record, discusses the findings of artifact analysis, and synthesizes project results.

Keywords:   Texas, Battle of Palmito Ranch, Lower Rio Grande River Valley, Mexico, France, Napoleon III, Texas nationalism, black troops

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