See the site of the first battle of the U.S. Mexican War in Brownsville, Texas! It began on May 8, 1846, when United States and Mexican troops fought on the prairie of Palo Alto. Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park preserves the site. Along with its sister site at Resaca de la Palma Battlefield Historic Park these are the only National Park Service parks to illuminate the U.S. Mexican War.Begin your time at the Palo Alto Visitor Center.
My kids loved the indoor and outdoor interactive exhibits.
While the younger kids played on the hands on exhibits the adults and older kids read about the what happened here. Also don’t miss the 15-minute video—”War on the Rio Grande.” This gives so much information and understanding to the site.
This is a great place for a hike! The trail is about a half mile long. Plan for at least an hour to explore.
Experience a landscape that is preserved almost as it was on the day of the battle. You will see the two battle lines as Mexican and U.S. troops readied for the clash that began the war.
On May 8, 1846, Mexican General Arista led 3,200 men onto this field. His cannons along with infantry were positioned to block the U.S. advance. U.S. General Taylor advanced to within 700 yards of the Mexican lines. Mexican cannons began firing. Taylor’s troops fired 18-pound siege cannons tearing at the Mexican lines.
Out gunned Arista sent cavalry troops in. The U.S. was able to repel the attack. After several more attempts Mexico was forced to withdraw and let U.S. forces move forward. Mexican forces withdrew early the next morning to Resaca de la Palma.
Together with the Resaca de la Palma Battlefield unit, Palo Alto Battlefield is a great opportunity to learn about the war, its causes and consequences, and its influence on the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico.