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Thu Apr 30, 2015, 04:35 PM

End of an Error -- Last Battle of Civil War -- The Battle of Palmito Ranch.

War is full of ironies, not the least of which is that infantrymen are asked to spill blood for the sake of occupying a piece of earth that wouldn’t be worth a glance on any other day.

“We go to gain a little patch of ground that hath in it no profit but the name,” complains a captain marching off to war in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. “To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it.”

So it was with an unremarkable patch of salt prairie to the east of Brownsville, where on May 12 and 13, 1865, a Union advance was beaten back by Confederate artillery fire. About 800 troops were involved at what came to be called the Battle of Palmito Ranch.

Fights for otherwise useless ground were common during the American Civil War, but the Battle of Palmito Ranch stands out for several reasons. For one, it took place 34 days after Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia and 29 days after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination—in other words, about a month after the war had effectively ended.

Furthermore, the clash on the open coastal plain was a decisive rout for the Confederates. The last gasp of the rebellion was a victorious scream.

Read more: http://www.texasobserver.org/final-civil-war-battle-in-south-texas/

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