Books covering the Battle of Palmito Ranch

Rusk County Avengers

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
1,258
Location
Coffeeville, TX
I'm curious, how many books are there covering this battle? I know of one older book I spotted when I was a kid in an antique store, which I can't remember the title or author, (perhaps someone will have an idea of which book, it was an older one), but other than that big book, I don't know any.

Surely there is more than one scholarly work on this battle, even if it was a smaller running fight, it's still significant for the sole reason that it was essentially the last battle of the war. Not to mention it being unusual for being a last hurrah for the Confederacy.

(Just for fun, and because I'm a jerk, Georgia can take its incorrect claim of "last battle" in Columbus and, well I'm sure someone has an idea of what I have in mind to say.:D Texas Rules!!!!)
 

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

bdtex

Brigadier General
Moderator
Silver Patron
Civil War Photo Contest
Annual Winner
Regtl. Quartermaster Chickamauga 2018
Joined
Jul 21, 2015
Messages
8,426
Location
Houston,TX area
Saw this one:



9781530509041-us.jpg
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2017
Messages
889
"The Battle of Palmito Ranch: The History of the Last Battle of the Civil War"

Charles River Editors
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Feb 4, 2018 - 112 pages
*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the fighting from soldiers on both sides *Covers the events of April 1865, Jefferson Davis' capture, and the aftermath of the battle *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents By the close of 1864, Abraham Lincoln had been reelected, the Union army had taken Nashville from General Hood, and Sherman had concluded his total war, "slash-and-burn" march of destruction to Savannah, Georgia, offering it as a Christmas present to Lincoln. Nevertheless, with everything seemingly falling to pieces, the South still held out hope of some sort of miracle, and Davis even attempted to send a peace delegation to meet with Lincoln in the early months of 1865. On January 28, 1865 as Union General Ulysses S. Grant was continuing to lay siege to Lee's army at Petersburg, Virginia, Davis sent three commissioners headed by Vice-President Stephens to initiate informal peace talks with Lincoln. By February 3, however, the talks, known as the Hampton Roads Conference, came to a stalemate as Lincoln would accept nothing less than total union, while Davis would only accept Southern independence. Even at that point, the South was clearly on its last legs. General George H. Thomas destroyed John Bell Hood's Confederate army at the battles of Nashville and Franklin, leaving only two large Confederate armies still in the field. Lee's army was weakened by desertion, lack of supplies and casualties, and Joseph E. Johnston's army could barely resist against Sherman's army as it was advancing north toward Virginia. To most observers, the South was clearly reaching its end, but Davis had no intention of quitting the war. Even while he was fleeing, he attempted to order Confederate generals in the field to keep fighting. On April 9, 1865, Lee formally surrendered his weary army to Grant at Appomattox. Appomattox is frequently cited as the end of the Civil War, but there still remained several Confederate armies across the country, mostly under the command of Johnston, the same commander who arrived with reinforcements by rail during the First Battle of Bull Run and gave the South hope with victory in the first major battle. But on April 26, 1865, Johnston defied Davis's orders and surrendered all of his forces to General Sherman. Over the next month, the remaining Confederate forces would surrender or quit. Thus, by May, millions of Americans were breathing a collective sigh of relief that the Civil War was finally over. General Lee had surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia in April, followed quickly by all other commanders of major armies. Besides a few diehards in places like Missouri and the Indian Territory, there was no armed resistance to Federal control. The long, hard road to Reconstruction had begun, or so everyone had thought. West of the Mississippi, in places like Western Louisiana and Texas, the rebels still dreamed of holding out. It was here that the final chapter of the Civil War was written, a chapter that is strange and completely unnecessary. It was here, more than a month after the South lost the Civil War, that the South won the last battle of that war. The last skirmish between the two sides technically took place May 12-13, ending ironically with a Confederate victory at the Battle of Palmito Ranch in Texas. As fate would have it, the last fighting of the Civil War took place two days after President Davis had been captured in Georgia. The Battle of Palmito Ranch: The History of the Last Battle of the Civil War looks at the last battle of the Civil War between organized armies on both sides. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Battle of Palmito Ranch like never before.
 

Polloco

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Messages
1,473
Location
South Texas
There is a book by Jerry Thompson and Lawrence Jones lll. Titled "Civil War and Revolution on the Rio Grande Frontier". It's not wholly, or even much for that matter, about this specific battle but Palmito Ranch is mentioned on a few pages.
 

Saruman

Sergeant
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
642
I'm curious, how many books are there covering this battle? I know of one older book I spotted when I was a kid in an antique store, which I can't remember the title or author, (perhaps someone will have an idea of which book, it was an older one), but other than that big book, I don't know any.

Surely there is more than one scholarly work on this battle, even if it was a smaller running fight, it's still significant for the sole reason that it was essentially the last battle of the war. Not to mention it being unusual for being a last hurrah for the Confederacy.

(Just for fun, and because I'm a jerk, Georgia can take its incorrect claim of "last battle" in Columbus and, well I'm sure someone has an idea of what I have in mind to say.:D Texas Rules!!!!)
I think the best book to date is: "The Last Battle of the Civil War: Palmetto Ranch" by Jeffrey W. Hunt

 

Polloco

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Messages
1,473
Location
South Texas
I am puzzled how an insignificant battle like this can fill a whole book.4 or 5 pages or maybe even one chapter in another book should cover it fairly well. There really wasn't that much to it.But it is interesting even to a non Texan.
 

Nathanb1

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Retired Moderator
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
32,955
Location
Smack dab in the heart of Texas
I'm curious, how many books are there covering this battle? I know of one older book I spotted when I was a kid in an antique store, which I can't remember the title or author, (perhaps someone will have an idea of which book, it was an older one), but other than that big book, I don't know any.

Surely there is more than one scholarly work on this battle, even if it was a smaller running fight, it's still significant for the sole reason that it was essentially the last battle of the war. Not to mention it being unusual for being a last hurrah for the Confederacy.

(Just for fun, and because I'm a jerk, Georgia can take its incorrect claim of "last battle" in Columbus and, well I'm sure someone has an idea of what I have in mind to say.:D Texas Rules!!!!)
Have you read Dr. Rick McCaslin's book on RIP Ford? I haven't yet--but if it's as good as his others (I have no reason to think it isn't) it will eventually make its way into my library. Bet there's some good Palmito Ranch stuff in it, too....

 

OldReliable1862

Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Messages
727
Location
Georgia
I'm curious, how many books are there covering this battle? I know of one older book I spotted when I was a kid in an antique store, which I can't remember the title or author, (perhaps someone will have an idea of which book, it was an older one), but other than that big book, I don't know any.

Surely there is more than one scholarly work on this battle, even if it was a smaller running fight, it's still significant for the sole reason that it was essentially the last battle of the war. Not to mention it being unusual for being a last hurrah for the Confederacy.

(Just for fun, and because I'm a jerk, Georgia can take its incorrect claim of "last battle" in Columbus and, well I'm sure someone has an idea of what I have in mind to say.:D Texas Rules!!!!)
Charles Misulia covers this in his book on Columbus - while Texas indeed rules, by most definitions of a "battle" Columbus was the last.
 

Rusk County Avengers

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
1,258
Location
Coffeeville, TX
Charles Misulia covers this in his book on Columbus - while Texas indeed rules, by most definitions of a "battle" Columbus was the last.
Not really.

The definition of "battle" is a general confrontation between two armies, Palmito Ranch fits that definition. Other definitions have it as a confrontation between two organized armies, and Palmito Ranch fits that one as well. The Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department was still functioning, and had yet to surrender, the State governments of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and even the government in exile of Missouri were all still in existence. The Confederate Army of the Trans-Mississippi, and Texas Department were all still in existence and better off than ever before, (numerous first-hand accounts have them all better uniformed, and fed than any time of the War), and RIP Ford was still in command and his troops still serving.

As for size, I'd say it still qualifies as a battle. The general commonly cited numbers are Confederates-300 and Union-500, while small, its bigger than a skirmish. After look at battles like Glorieta Pass, or many of the other small battles throughout the war, that had a number of engaged either similar numbers, or just a few hundred more. Heck the Second Battle of Sabine Pass gets called a battle and had even less numbers engaged than Palmito Ranch.

No Pamito Ranch was the last battle. It had infantry, artillery and cavalry, and there are many battles that didn't have that and are called battles. No Columbus, Fort Blakey, (I scratch my head when folks say that siege was the last battle more so than I do with Columbus), or the small battle fought at Appomattox don't qualify. Just because Texas was far removed from the seat of the War, and did such a good job beating off Union invasion attempts, doesn't mean it doesn't count.

Not a single other Confederate State can claim such effectiveness in warding off invasion as Texas. Galveston, Sabine Pass, the Red River Campaign, Banks attempt to cut of supplies and invade Texas at Brownsville, nothing the Union could throw at Texas would work, and when we had the last battle of the War we get short shrift. Maybe its jealousy:bounce:.

(Disclaimer- I know the Union simpley didn't have the resources to throw at Texas when throwing so much else everywhere else, but they did do a good job of with what they had, and many a well thought plan taking that into account went to **** when it shouldn't have.)
 

Saruman

Sergeant
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
642
I am puzzled how an insignificant battle like this can fill a whole book.4 or 5 pages or maybe even one chapter in another book should cover it fairly well. There really wasn't that much to it.But it is interesting even to a non Texan.
It's an interesting battle. The Union force was composed of white soldiers and ex-slave African-American soldiers while the Confederate force was reportedly composed of white soldiers, Hispanic soldiers, Native American soldiers, and some of Napoleon III's French soldiers.
 

ErnieMac

Brigadier General
Moderator
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
8,834
Location
Pennsylvania
I think the best book to date is: "The Last Battle of the Civil War: Palmetto Ranch" by Jeffrey W. Hunt

I've read Hunt's books about the aftermath of the Gettysburg Campaign and the Bristoe Campaign. They are well done and I would expect this one to be well written as well. It is on my list for future acquisition.
 

Rusk County Avengers

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
1,258
Location
Coffeeville, TX
There is a book by Jerry Thompson and Lawrence Jones lll. Titled "Civil War and Revolution on the Rio Grande Frontier". It's not wholly, or even much for that matter, about this specific battle but Palmito Ranch is mentioned on a few pages.
I was not aware of that book, onto the book shopping list it goes.

I think the best book to date is: "The Last Battle of the Civil War: Palmetto Ranch" by Jeffrey W. Hunt

And so does this book.

Have you read Dr. Rick McCaslin's book on RIP Ford? I haven't yet--but if it's as good as his others (I have no reason to think it isn't) it will eventually make its way into my library. Bet there's some good Palmito Ranch stuff in it, too....

I haven't read it, but have been in the market for Ford's Memoirs, though I reckon he gives Raphael Semmes a run for his money in the "Longest Memoir of a Civil War notable and book(s) big enough to kill a badger" contest.
 

Polloco

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Messages
1,473
Location
South Texas
I have a little interest in this battle as it is one of the closet Civil War battlefields to where I'm from. And one of my "hometown" founding fathers (A. C. Jones)was one of Col. Ford's Captains.
 

Rusk County Avengers

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
1,258
Location
Coffeeville, TX
Palmito Ranch is interesting. USCT, regular Union troops versus Confederates, white and Mexican decent, (very few), and "volunteers" from the Imperial French Artillery manning the Confederacy's cannon. That combined with it being the last battle, with the last wartime deaths, makes it very interesting.

Where it gets real interesting is in Barret's report, he claimed his Union troops were attacked and harassed all the way back to Brownsville by the Imperial Mexican Army, firing on them from the south side of the Rio Grande.
 

Polloco

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Messages
1,473
Location
South Texas
Palmito Ranch is interesting. USCT, regular Union troops versus Confederates, white and Mexican decent, (very few), and "volunteers" from the Imperial French Artillery manning the Confederacy's cannon. That combined with it being the last battle, with the last wartime deaths, makes it very interesting.

Where it gets real interesting is in Barret's report, he claimed his Union troops were attacked and harassed all the way back to Brownsville by the Imperial Mexican Army, firing on them from the south side of the Rio Grande.
I mentioned this on another thread about Palmito Ranch. Also an interesting tid bit. Barrets second in command was Court Martialed several months after the battle. He was acquitted and one of his Witnesses for the Defense was none other than Col. Ford.
 

SeaSoldier

Private
Joined
Sep 17, 2018
Messages
91
Location
Texas
French manning Confederate artillery? Gen Slaughter and Col Ford were told not to mix it up and to keep the sales of cotton flowing. The French "volunteers" were French Foreign Legionnaires and on May 5th, with about 4 or 5 men left, they charged the Mexicans. This was a pretty stupid idea in the eyes of the Mexicans so they let the Frenchmen go. So, accordingly, the French Foreign Legion was not "defeated" and left Mexico on its own accord. However - Mexico defeated the French - hence Cinco Demayo.

CSA Gen Slaughter was pretty much out of it as a commander. Oh, he was most certainly the ranking officer but Ford was not buying into his tactics. Benevides (SP?) (the Col in charge of most of the Hispanics on the CSA side had what was about 50% of Ford's total forces. Not a big number by any means. Ford's (er Slaughter's) forces were around 500 men.

The CSA forces had to allow Commerce (flow of cotton), protect the border from Mexican ( and any other) bandits, maintain peace with every country present save for the USA. Gen Lew Wallace even went down to broker a cease fire. Slaughter and Ford's boss over rode that but a cease fire did exist - until Barret decided to attack. Why not? Glory for the end of the war? He had around 2,000 troops versus a total of 500 for Slaughter and Ford? This (on paper) would be a no-brainer for most commanders of the day. Also, cotton. Many officers got in the cotton trade once they sieged or had cotton to sell. Barret, like other officers, would most certainly be skimming the profits for his own benefit. So, from my observation, money and glory were what Barret was seeking and being known for one of the last victories of the war which would surely garner him a promotion. Barret was certainly not prepared to take up Slaughter/Ford's post of protection the Mexican /CSA / USA border and had little clue of the raids conducted in Texas by bandits. If I remember correctly the Mexican Commander who beat the French was a self-styled General, and the first problem was the French. After that the Texans were next. Barret, had he stayed on his island, would have quietly retired from the scene, maybe to be directed to replace Slaughter and Ford and quietly end the war as the South was literally dissolving. Ford and Slaughter were told to :stand fast".

Barret may or may not have been truthful about the Mexican attacks on his men. He would now have to explain why a superior force was defeated by a for less than 1/4 the size of his own force. Cover you XXXX in paper work?
 


Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top