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Home National & State Parks Other NPs War with Mexico’s Resaca De La Palma Battlefield Unit Dedicated

War with Mexico’s Resaca De La Palma Battlefield Unit Dedicated

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Nearly a thousand visitors joined the staff of Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park on Nov. 19, 2011 for the official dedication of the Resaca de la Palma Battlefield as a new unit of the park, and to participate in the memorial illumination ceremony held annually at the site.

Palo Alto Battlefield NHP near Brownsville, Texas has the distinction of being the only unit in the National Park Service to preserve battle sites from the U.S. War with Mexico.

resaca_developmentThe dedication event marked the culmination of an effort extending back over a decade to preserve the site of the second battle of the U.S. War with Mexico.

The City of Brownsville and the Brownsville Community Foundation purchased the tract to save it from development as the city engulfed all but the last remaining 34 acres of the battlefield. For the past decade, the foundation and the NPS have maintained a very successful public-private partnership to preserve the site and develop basic visitor amenities and interpretive information there.

Discussions between the park and the foundation concerning the transfer of the site to NPS ownership began in 2010 and became a reality last August through funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Flanked by Mexican soldados and U.S. infantry, circa 1846, Brownsville Community Foundation Executive Director Pat Lavine, IMR Deputy Regional Director Colin Campbell and Superintendent Mark Spier cut a ribbon to officially include the site as a unit of the park.

Blustery winds delayed the lighting of the 8,000 luminaria until just after sundown, but, with the help of hundreds of visitors, the candles honoring each of the U.S. and Mexican soldiers who fought in the opening battles of the war soon flickered across the field.

The Battle of Resaca de la Palma occurred on May 9, 1846. The Mexican Army retreated to the thick brush surrounding a dry former river channel to escape the artillery faced the previous day on the prairie at Palo Alto. There they awaited the U.S. forces. General Zachary Taylor's army was able to overcome the Mexican defenses and flank their army, resulting in a Mexican retreat back across the Rio Grande.

Following the invasion of Mexico and the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico was forced to transfer about half its national territory - about a million square miles - to the United States, doubling it in size and changing these two nations forever.

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park preserves the site of this notable battle and provides an understanding of the causes, events, and consequences of the first war between independent Republics. For more information, visit the park's Web site at
www.npg.gov/paal/ .

 
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