Heritage Park & Museum raises a toast to General Taylor and his victory at the Battle of Palo Alto, a pivotal moment in Texas history.

Today in Texas history on May 8, 2024, we remember the Battle of Palo Alto. Enjoy this snapshot of Texas history. ⬇️

On May 8, 1846, General Zachary Taylor (1748-1850) defeated a formidable Mexican force in the Battle of Palo Alto. This happened shortly before the United States formally declared war on Mexico. The battle took place north of the Rio Grande River near present-day Brownsville, Texas.

The war with Mexico had begun in 1845 when the United States annexed the Republic of Texas as a new state. In 1836 the Mexicans had fought an unsuccessful war with Texans to keep them from breaking away to become an independent nation. Mexico refused to accept or recognize the independent of Texas and especially the Rio Grande River as an international boundary. In January 1846, President James Polk (1795-1849) feared the Mexicans would respond to U.S. annexation by trying to get control of the Southwestern Texas territory.

President Polk ordered General Taylor to move forces into Texas to defend the Rio Grande border. Efforts to diplomatically settle the dispute failed, and Mexican General Mariano Arista declared it a hostile invasion of Mexican territory and on April 25, 1846, his soldiers crossed the river and attacked.

Congress declared war on May 13 and authorized a draft to build up the U.S. Army. General Taylor was in no position to wait for a formal declaration of war and Taylor and his 2000 soldiers on May 8, fought the Mexican army near Palo Alto, and the next day at Resaca de la Palma. Americans admired General Taylor and loving called him “Old Rough and Ready” and they elected him President in 1848.

Heritage Park & Museum

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