A little over a month ago, my wife and I celebrated our 30th anniversary by traveling to North and South Carolina. We took in the beauty of the Biltmore Estate near Asheville and then spent some time along the coasts of Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

We took a ferry ride to Fort Sumter, the site of the first shots fired of the Civil War (April 12, 1861).

Merrell
Merrell
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Merrell
Merrell
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Where Was The Last Battle of The Civil War?

The first bullets, cannon balls, and casualties of the deadliest military conflict in American history occurred on that small 235-acre island.

If I wanted to visit the location of the final battle of the Civil War, I wouldn't have to travel out of state. A sliver of land between Brownsville and the Gulf of Mexico is home to the final battle of the Civil War - the Battle of Palmito Ranch.

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Details About This Final Battle

On paper, the official end of the Civil War happened on April 9 at Appomattox, however, skirmishes and casualties continued for several weeks. Most historians agree that the Battle of Palmito Ranch was the last moderate-scale battle that happened post-surrender.

The battle took place on May 12-13, 1865. Union Commander Colonel Thomas Barrett dispatched a 500-man column to attack Confederate posts near the Rio Grande. Colonel John 'Rip' Ford countered with an army of 300 Confederate soldiers.

Ford's forces would eventually drive out the Union forces resulting in over 100 casualties for the North, while only a handful of casualties occurred for the South.

Find out more about the Battle of Palmito Ranch.

Did The Battle Really Need to Happen?

According to some historical reports, both Barrett and Ford knew of Lee's surrender and terms, but Barrett still pushed forward with his offensive. Shortly after Barrett's retreat, Ford and the rest of his Confederate forces laid down their arms and surrendered to Union officials.

The Final Soldier Killed in the Civil War

Since Palmito Ranch was the site of the war's final battle, the last soldier killed in the Civil War also happened in Texas.

John Jefferson Williams died during the Battle of Palmito Ranch. He was 21 years old.

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Gallery Credit: Billy Jenkins

 

 

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