Time turned back to 1846 — at least for an hour or so — at Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park on Saturday morning as reenactors capped off their lesson about the Mexican-American War skirmish with a bang by firing muskets and a cannon.

Time turned back to 1846 — at least for an hour or so — at Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park on Saturday morning as reenactors capped off their lesson about the Mexican-American War skirmish with a bang by firing muskets and a cannon.

The Living History volunteer historians, clad in traditional woolen uniforms, explained how Texas’ bid to join the United States and the fight over the boundary between countries led up to the first major battle in the war.

Don Drefke represented the American forces led by Gen. Zachary Taylor. While the Americans were outnumbered by the Mexican army, Drefke said, their superior artillery allowed them to end the battle losing seven to 15 soldiers compared to 400 lost by Mexico.

Despite the heat, he traveled from McAllen to take part in Living History. He has been a historical reenactor for 10 years.

“It’s part of our history,” Drefke said of what has kept him involved.

Jaime Hernandez spoke about the Mexican army commanded by Gen. Mariano Arista. Many officers had used their influence and money to pay for their positions, he told the audience, leaving their forces poorly led as well as out-gunned.

“I’m a retired history teacher, and the state test doesn’t allow you to elaborate on too many things,” he said. “I want people to know our history. Not just white or black history, the Tejanos, too.”

After the Battle of Palo Alto, opposing forces met again at the Battle of Resaca de la Palma. The Mexican army then retreated across the Rio Grande.

Bianca Farrell’s two sons took part in the reenactment. The Brownsville resident said she enjoys coming to the park not only for the history programs but to spend time with family in the outdoors.

“We’ve been doing this since last year, and it never gets old,” Farrell said. “It’s great to see people enjoying their time (on) something so important and educational. They’re very knowledgeable in the local history, and they get to pass that down.”

Sanjuana Peña took in the reenactment and the indoor exhibit with her three children. While they have visited the park before to hike the trails, she said, Saturday was the first time they had watched a Living History event.

“It’s very good for the kids so they can learn about history,” Peña said. “I was amazed they were paying attention the whole time.”

Learn more about events at the park at www.nps.gov/paal.