The House Committee on Natural Resources on Thursday approved U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela’s bill HR 4139, to authorize the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park to expand and include the Fort Brown Earthworks.

In March 1846, in hopes of establishing the Rio Grande as the southern border of the United States, then-General Zachary Taylor ordered the construction of Fort Texas. On May 3, 1846, Mexican General Mariano Arista attacked Fort Texas leading to the Battle of Palo Alto, the Battle of Resaca de la Palma, and the Mexican retreat back across the Rio Grande. The Fort Brown Earthworks, originally known as Fort Texas, is the last remaining structure in the United States associated with the Mexican-American War.

“Bringing the Fort Brown Earthworks into the Palo Alto National Battlefield Historical Park helps tell our nation’s story, and preserves the history and honors the lives lost in the battle that established our nation’s border,” Vela said. “The committee’s action is an important step forward to help us pass this bill and tell the story of our nation.”

“We are excited to hear that the bill has been voted out of the Natural Resources Committee,” said Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez. “The preservation of our history cannot be fulfilled without the preservation and inclusion of Fort Brown as part of the Palo Alto National Historical Park System.”

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park currently includes Palo Alto Battlefield and parts of Resaca de la Palma Battlefield, but adding this piece of Fort Brown is critical in the history of the Mexican-American War, and changes to our international boundary.