5 Miles SE of Port Isabel
3 Miles NE of the mouth of the Rio Grande
Spanish for "little mouth,"
The Bay is centered at 26°00' N, 97°09' W and is bordered on the SE by Boca Chica
Beach and on the N by Brazos Island
Markers in Boca Chica
OF PALMITO RANCHOn
May 13, 1865, the last land action of the Civil War took place here, more than
a month after Lee's surrender at Appomattox. The Confederates forces knew of the
surrender since May 1, when a New Orleans newspaper was tossed from a boat on
its way to Brownsville
to soldiers at Palmito Ranch. On May 9, 1865, Confederate Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby
Smith, stated that he proposed to continue fighting.
On May 11th, under
the cover of darkness at Boca Chica Pass, 300 Union troops crossed to the mainland
in an attempt to occupy Brownsville.
After a forced march, they reached White's Ranch at dawn and attempted (unsuccessfully)
to conceal themselves to rest. With the element of surprise gone, the troops openly
marched toward Brownsville
but didn't get far.
At Palmito Ranch they were confronted by a Confederate
force of 190 members of Lt. Col. George H. Giddings's Texas Cavalry which resulted
in a brief skirmish. Both forces disengaged with the Union force camping for the
night. The Confederates attacked at 3 a.m., forcing the Union troops to return
to White's Ranch.
Early on May 13, 200 reinforcements arrived, bringing
the Union strength up to 500. This larger force moved on Palmito Ranch where the
major battle took place. The outnumbered Confederate received succor late that
afternoon, from Colonel "RIP" Ford's Second Texas Cavalry, and a six-gun battery
of field artillery.
The flat, open land gave the advantage to the Confederate
mounted cavalry and the Union troops were routed. A seven-mile running fight to
Brazos Island ensued - and there the Federal troops were met by reinforcements,
now causing the Confederates to retreat.
Since everyone knew the war
was officially over, this may have seemed to Ford to be a good note to go out
on. He addressed his troops, saying, "Boys, we have done finely. We will let well
enough alone, and retire."
The four hour battle left a score of Southerners wounded, but the Union fared
much worse. Thirty men were killed or wounded and over a hundred were taken prisoner.
A few days later a truce was signed. This seemingly minor see-saw confrontation
may have been small by comparison with the Civil War's major battles, but it won
a footnote in history by being the last land fight of the war - one that was won
by the losers.
Rudine, February 2007
Chica Village and store|
Chica Boulevard ends|
across from Boca Chica |
Chica Texas ForumBOCA
CHICA..... "What did you say?"
In October 1960, I was completing the last
two weeks of the Texas Highway Patrol Academy in Austin. As was the norm, academy
officials posted on the bulletin board the name of towns or TxHwyPtl stations
where the new hires would be stationed to begin work. As each new trainee eagerly
observed where he would be sent, I was tip toeing to look over the other men's
shoulders. Disappointingly aghast, I could see they were preparing to send me
to live at BOCA CHICA, or even Pampa as an alternate, for my first work assignment.
All other trainees experienced that same posted shock.
At first glance,
after completing those six months of very hard and rigorous basic training, my
response was to tell them to "Take This Job And Shove It." But as time passed
better judgment kicked in. I decided to just let it play out.
time, I had never even heard of Boca Chica and honestly, panhandle Pampa wasn't
a desirable place for this East Texas piney woods country boy to live either.
So, we all languished in agony and pity for one another, trying to figure it all
out and console each other a bit.
After letting our group moan, suffer
and wallow in sorrow and humility for several days, we found out that the list
was bogus. It was just another last minute attempt by academy officials to disappoint,
harass, intimidate, belittle, and discourage the soon to be newly appointed Texas
highway patrolmen. That wasn't an uncommon ploy, among other things, used by TxDPS
during the 1950's, '60's and '70's. We all later agreed it was just another attempt
to test our mettle. We all soon were once again heads up, chest out and highly
proud to have overcome the disappointment and finished the academy.
short few weeks thereafter I moved my little family to Crosby, Texas, in east
Harris County as my first work assignment. There I spent a good part of my career.
- Ray Maxie - Texas Escape's aka "Ramblin'