A Thunder of Cannon
Archeology of the Mexican-American War Battlefield of Palo Alto
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This project involved the cooperative efforts of many people, and the resulting report would have been inadequate without their interest, expertise and very active support. I would like to express my appreciation to those listed below for their particular contributions.

With the National Park Service Regional Office in Santa Fe, I thank now-retired Regional Archeologist Ronald Ice, Regional Archeologist Larry Nordby, and Associate Regional Director Richard Smith for their direction and encouragement. I am also indebted to: Division of Anthropology Archeologist Jim Bradford, for whose patience, expertise and insights I greatly appreciate; Regional Historian Neil Mangum, who made a number of useful observations and reviewed the report draft; the Division of History also contributed funds toward the publication of this report. I thank Carmen Silva for her exacting line drawings; Division's Scientific Illustrator Jerry Livingston, who produced meticulous artifact photographs; and to Cultural Resources Assistant Rose Ortiz, and Editorial Assistant Sarah Chavez, who were assigned the difficult task of converting drafts into a presentable document.

I also acknowldege the expertise contributed by Remote Sensing Archeologist Art Ireland and his assistant Ron Brown, who, together, provided data control points required for piece plotting the artifacts. Deborah King supervised the artifact curation, and was assisted by Kim Lennox and Heather Young. Ms. Young also conducted in-field artifact curation during the 1993 field season.

Many people from the Brownsville area made significant contributions. I would like to thank Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Superintendent Tom Carroll for his unstinting support during and after the fieldwork phase of the project including his contribution of park funds towards report publication. Tom, together with Park Historian Dr. Aaron Mahr, took time from their busy schedules to carefully review and comment on the report drafts. Bruce Aiken, Executive Director, Historic Brownsville Museum, shared his extensive knowledge of the region's history. Dr. Anthony Zavaleta, Dean, College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas at Brownsville, and Tom Fort, Assistant Director, Hidalgo County Historical Museum likewise provided their valuable insights. Palo Alto Battlefield Chairman Walter E. Plitt III shared his intimate familiarity of Palo Alto battlefield and battle history; both he and his wife Molly also were liberal with their Texan hospitality.

Special appreciation is extended to Dr. Vidal Longoria, Emilio Sanchez, Kay Evanoff, Bert Wheeler and Francille Dudley. These five individuals gave their permission to the National Park Service for conducting the archeological survey on their properties as well as loaning the recovered artifacts for study. Without their essential cooperation, this project would have ceased to exist at its inception.

Dr. Alfred Richardson and Norman Richard, professors of Biological Sciences, University of Texas at Brownsville, conducted exhaustive faunal and floral studies of Palo Alto battlefield. Michael Farmer, National Audubon Society, likewise made a natural resources survey of the battlefield. These three individuals also are the major contributors to the Environmental chapter of this report. Two other individuals contributed Appendices B and C of this report: Eric Ratliff (Appendix B); and Kevin Young (Appendix C). Dr. David Flory, a physician for Baptist Hospital in Harlingen, Texas, analyzed human bone recovered from the battlefield.

Not enough praise can be given to the good-natured field crew members who, as a group, contributed many hundreds of hours under a merciless Texas sun. T.G. Futch and Melissa Payne were my able assistants during the 1992 and 1993 field seasons, respectively. Volunteers included Cecil Allison, Bob Anderson, Rod Bates, Gary Chauvin, Robert Garcia, David Gray, David Martinez, Dr. Jeffrey Mauck, Paul Mitchell, James and Grace Pointinger, Stosh Prukop and Robert Zamarripa. Special thanks to each of you for your friendship and tolerance of my bad puns.

The following experts in the disciplines of archeology and history reviewed and critiqued drafts of this report: Stephen Allie, Dr. James Ayres, Dr. Joseph Chance, Dr. Burlie Clay, Dr. Aaron Mahr, Dr. Jeffrey Mauck, Mark Megehee, Dr. David Pletcher, Fred Prouty, Dr. Joseph Sanchez, Dr. Douglas Scott and Kevin Young. Other individuals volunteered their expertise in the identification of specific artifacts: Richard Ahlborn, Bill Brown, Dr. Yvonne Lange, James Moore, Samuel Nesmith and Dr. Jack Williams. Texas A&M Nautical Conservation Research Laboratory, under the direction of Dr. Don Hamilton, conserved the metal artifacts. The excellent illustrations of Mexican soldiers at the battle of Palo Alto are the work of artist-historian Gary Zaboly. Erin Fleming provided technical editing. My appreciation to all of these people for their contributions and advice. Any errors, omissions or misinterpretations in this report are, of course, the fault of the author.

Charles M. Haecker
Santa Fe

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Last Updated: 25-Feb-2009