Cameron County Colonia’s Role in Civil War

Local News

Before Las Rusias became a colonia in Cameron County, it captured the attention of President Abraham Lincoln more than 150 years ago. 

“Lincoln wanted to take hold of this area because they wanted to make sure the Confederates didn’t have any money coming in or supplies. This is where the confederacy and also Mexico were getting all their supplies throughout the world,” said Ruben Cordova, Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. 

40 to 60 Union soldiers used Las Rusias as a fort lookout station. 

And then, on June 25, 1864, a showdown began between the two opposing sides of the Civil War.

“The battle here it didn’t take very long. They had a skirmish and this was where they [Rip] Ford had about 240 men and they attacked the Union army that was here,” Cordova said. 

“They retreated for a little bit, tried to get more horses and then Refugio [Benavides] was sent to the side and he kind of over took the army forces that were there,” he said. 

Benavides, was a local politician and Confederate officer. He assembled 85 Mexican Texans to join the Confederate States Army, going against Cameron County who voted against seceding from the Nation.

The skirmish resulted in the Confederacy reoccupying Brownsville on July 30, 1864, although Brownsville did not want to join them.

It was a tragic and bloody battle that resulted in the death of 20 Union soldiers.

Today all that remains is a historical marker that serves as a reminder of the role South Texas played during the Civil War.  

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