Despite the strategic importance of the Lower Rio Grande Valley during the Civil War, the two battles fought there—the first (September 1864) and the second (May 1865) battles of Palmito Ranch—have largely faded from public memory even as the second battle earned the title “Last Land Battle of the Civil War.” In Palmito Ranch: From Civil War Battlefield to National Historic Landmark, Jody Edward Ginn and William Alexander McWhorter document efforts to redress this lacuna in the popular consciousness. They offer new information about these battles while chronicling the efforts to save and preserve the battlefield site, one of the few places in Texas where the war was contested.
Opening with a crisp retelling of the principal military events that unfolded at Palmito Ranch, near the Confederate port city of Brownsville, Ginn and McWhorter recount the initiative pursued by a multidisciplinary team organized largely through the efforts of the Texas Historical Commission to study, document, and preserve this important Texas historic site. Now, visitors to the area may benefit from not only improved and expanded historical markers, but also a radio transmitter and a viewing platform, along with other interpretive aids. All this is due to the campaign spearheaded by McWhorter, Ginn, and a cohort of dedicated volunteers and professionals.
Providing a case study in constituency building and public awareness raising to preserve and promote historic sites, Palmito Ranch will interest and educate heritage tourists, Civil War enthusiasts, and travelers to South Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
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Published by Texas A&M University Press