Sunday, May 12, 2013
LAST BATTLE OF THE WAR...May 12 and 13th 1865
John Salmon Ford, better known as “Rip” Ford, the last victorious Confederate commander of the War. Ford served as colonel of the 2nd Texas Cavalry based in the Rio Grande district, and was assigned to protect trade routes with Mexico.
Ford’s greatest military exploit was the Battle of Palmito Ranch on May 12-13, 1865, when he defeated attacking Union forces under Colonel Theodore H. Barrett. Barrett had attempted to surprise Confederate forces at Fort Brown, outside Brownsville, but was repulsed by Ford’s daring frontal attack. The battle was considered a Confederate victory, with Union troops retreating and suffering 118 casualties.
Ford’s men had an estimated six killed, wounded or missing. Unfortunately for Ford, all Confederate forces in Texas surrendered two weeks later. Making the Battle of Palmito Ranch the last battle of the war.
After the war, Ford continued his interests in politics and newspaper editing, serving as a delegate to the Democratic convention in 1868, and working on the Brownsville Sentinel. He would become the mayor of Brownsville in 1874, and serve again in the Texas Senate from 1876 to 1879.