Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park in Texas Slowly Yielding its Secrets to NPS Archeologists, Volunteers





When U.S. and Mexican soldiers fought May 8, 1846, on the prairie land of Palo Alto at the southern tip of Texas, it was the match that ignited a two-year war between the two countries.

The battlefield itself faded into American history, but not the legends. In June 1992, a law was passed creating Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park, preserving the 3,400-acre scene of the fighting, ten miles north of the Rio Grande River in what is now Cameron County.

"The battlefield itself is relatively intact, but the site has been gone over ever since the battle," Rolando Garza, archeologist and chief of resource management at Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park, told OldWestNewWest.com Travel & History Magazine. "People would go out there and look for relics. We had one farmer tell us that he used to toss cannonballs into the (ravine) because he would hit them and they would damage his plow blade."

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park has the unique distinction of being the only unit of the National Park Service with a primary focus on the U.S.-Mexican War. With the creation of the park, all the relic hunting stopped, and in its place the park service has started an archeological survey of portions of the core battlefield area....


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