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First battle of Mexican War fought in South Texas

May
08
1846

On this day in 1846, the battle of Palo Alto, the first major engagement of the Mexican War, was fought. At the site north of Brownsville, American forces under Gen. Zachary Taylor clashed with Mexican troops commanded by Gen. Mariano Arista. The battle, which began about 2:00 P.M. and lasted until twilight, resulted in a standoff. After darkness ended the action, both armies bivouacked on the battlefield. Of 3,461 troops that formed the Mexican Army of the North, Arista's commissary reported 102 killed, 129 wounded, and 26 missing, including deserters. The American army, which totaled over 2,200 soldiers, reported five dead and forty-three wounded. The Mexican army was decisively defeated the following day at the battle of Resaca de la Palma.

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