Civil War re-enactment organizer highlights Tejanos' role
The Brownsville (Texas) Herald
BROWNSVILLE, Texas — The third annual Fall Symposium and Reenactment sponsored by the Cameron County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee will be held at the Dancy Building, 1100 E. Monroe St., Brownsville, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Among the speakers will be Stephen Townsend, author of “The Yankee Invasion of Texas,” and living historian Wade Marcum. Organizers will offer free breakfasts, free T-shirts and free history information while supplies last. The event is open to the public and there is no admission fee.
“Those who attend can’t just get one or two things out of an event like this because there’s so much more,” Committee Co-Chairman Wilson P. Bourgeois said.
Two items on display at the event, he said, will be northern newspapers that offer in-depth descriptions of the Battle of Palmetto Ranch, a site east of Brownsville where Union and Confederate forces fought from May 12-13, 1865 – almost a month after the truce reached between Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to end American Civil War military hostilities.
Some prominent historians have overlooked the role Tejanos filled in the Civil War, particularly after the Union invasion of Texas in 1863, Bourgeois said. “The Tejanos literally are the ones who manned the guns at the Battle of Palmetto Ranch and they often served in the home guard for units in Texas,” he added.
Committee Co-Chairman Craig Stone said that Cameron County Judge Carlos H. Cascos is scheduled to present two history-related proclamations from the Cameron County Commissioners Court at the symposium.
“It shows the leaders of Cameron County are remembering the men and women – on both sides of the Civil War – who fought for their causes,” Bourgeois said.
Stone said that the committee is planning a sesquicentennial event for 2015 that will be “a once in a lifetime event.” He said that many local historians have preserved records and artifacts from the Civil War era, and the committee hopes to benefit from more local residents joining the Civil War sesquicentennial project.
“It’s our turn to pick up the torch and carry on,” he said. “It’s not just our responsibility as a committee but the responsibility of the entire community.”