Brazos Island is a barrier island south of Padre Island, at the south end of the Laguna Madre (at 26°01' N, 97°09' W). The lower Rio Grande valley was largely ranching country when Mexican independence opened the port of Brazos Santiago on Brazos Island. A lively trade in specie, wool, and hides in exchange for cloth, hardware, and machinery developed. Gen. Zachary Taylor set up his headquarters on Brazos Island in 1845. During the Civil War the port was occupied by both Union and Confederate forces. It was an important avenue of trade and supply. The last shot of the Civil War is reported to have been fired on Brazos Island on May 12, 1865. Most of the buildings on the island were destroyed by the hurricane of 1867 (see HURRICANES). The port and settlement have long ceased to exist.