Civil War skirmish at Las Rusias
On this day in 1864, a skirmish between Confederate and Union forces was fought at Las Rusias, a colonia located one mile north of the Rio Grande in southwest Cameron County. Confederate officer Refugio Benavides of Laredo led a company and joined John Salmon (Rip) Ford to overrun Union forces. Ford, a colonel of the Second Texas Cavalry who engaged in border operations protecting Confederate-Mexican trade, praised Benavides for his gallant conduct during the battle. Las Rusias had also been the site of a skirmish on April 25, 1846, when Mexican troops ambushed an American patrol; the shedding of “American blood upon American soil” sparked the Mexican War.