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Battle of Nueces recalled 150 years later
San Antonio Express-News ^ | 8/10/2012 | Scott Huddleston

Posted on 08/14/2012 2:04:39 AM PDT by Lattero

A little known battle and massacre happened in the Texas Hill Country during the Civil War 150 years ago. The date was Aug. 10, 1862. On or around Aug. 1, 68 mostly German immigrants gathered at Turtle Creek near Kerrville and began what they thought was going to be a straight-forward trail to Mexico, where they could join the ranks of the Union army just across the Rio Grande. As fate would have it, they were intersected by Confederate troops on the banks of the Nueces River in Kinney County.

Just after midnight on Aug. 10,, a short, fierce battle ensued and by dawn the Confederates had overpowered the German loyalists. It was later that afternoon that the history of the battle became bathed in infamy. The German survivors were summarily executed and, to make matters worse, were not given the traditional courtesy of burial. Their bodies were stacked and left to decompose in the Texas heat.

But what led to this gruesome footnote in Texas History? German settlers, by the thousands, came to the new state of Texas beginning in the 1840s. They were leaving an oppressive society in Germany for the openness and freedoms offered in America. When here, they quickly adapted and became ardent Americans. Years later when Texas began its path to secede and join the Confederacy, the Hill Country counties overwhelmingly voted against secession. When the Federal army left after secession became law, these same counties were marked as troublemakers, and when they would not submit to the Confederacy, they were called traitors.

These were dark times in the towns of Fredericksburg, San Antonio, Kerrville, Sisterdale and Comfort. The Germans formed loyalist leagues. The Confederates responded by sending masked bands of nightriders who terrorized the surrounding farms and ranches as they began a campaign of ruthless hangings of known loyalists. They became know as the “Hangebund” or in English the Hanging bunch. Desperate and knowing they could not fight in their own towns and unwilling to compromise and join the Confederate army, they reluctantly left their farms and families and headed south to their doom.

Over the years this great American story has faded into the dusty vaults of time. Though the Alamo is the great Texas story of courage, these Union loyalists also gave their lives for the sake of the country they believed in.

In Comfort, only 45 miles west of San Antonio on I-10 stands a monument dedicated to those who died. It is one of only a few monuments dedicated to Union dead in all of the Confederate states.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: civilwar; confederate; nueces; texas

1 posted on 08/14/2012 2:04:53 AM PDT by Lattero
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To: Lattero

Please forgive my naivete, but could someone who knows please explain to me why or how it was that one might enlist in the Union army in Mexico, of all places???


2 posted on 08/14/2012 2:38:43 AM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: Jack Hammer

the US has a long history of a love-hate relationship with Texas.

For example, when Texas fought for it’s independance, officially the US sided with the Texicans, but in secret they were supporting the Mexican dictator, running guns (giving them) to them via the navy.

Yes, that’s right, using US Naval ships to carry guns and gunpowder to the mexican army!

How do we know? A Texican sloop out of Galveston captured the US Navy ship. When Texas joined the Union (some number of years later) one of the settlements was that Texas had to give the US government it’s ship back.

So, at/around that time, the Mexican state was a Vassal of the US, and not a nice one either. (officially they were aligned with Spain)


3 posted on 08/14/2012 2:50:42 AM PDT by BereanBrain
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To: Jack Hammer

the US has a long history of a love-hate relationship with Texas.

For example, when Texas fought for it’s independance, officially the US sided with the Texicans, but in secret they were supporting the Mexican dictator, running guns (giving them) to them via the navy.

Yes, that’s right, using US Naval ships to carry guns and gunpowder to the mexican army!

How do we know? A Texican sloop out of Galveston captured the US Navy ship. When Texas joined the Union (some number of years later) one of the settlements was that Texas had to give the US government it’s ship back.

So, at/around that time, the Mexican state was a Vassal of the US, and not a nice one either. (officially they were aligned with Spain)


4 posted on 08/14/2012 2:50:42 AM PDT by BereanBrain
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To: Lattero
Interesting takeaways:When here, they quickly adapted and became ardent Americans.

This is something you don't get in our current immigration environment. This is why English should be the only language of government and those state and local governments that receive federal funding. Illegal immigrants have no incentive to learn English or about American culture. Legal immigrants are treated worse than dirt by our American bureaucracy.

Welfare reform is desperately needed. We shouldn't give welfare to non-citizens. Secondly, there needs to be a ban on welfare to green card holders as well. 43% of legal immigrants are on welfare after 20 years. The habit is formed early on.

5 posted on 08/14/2012 3:08:46 AM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: BereanBrain

War profiteering has a long history.


6 posted on 08/14/2012 3:13:02 AM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: BereanBrain

Supporting the Mexican dictator - astonishing! I never knew that...

Hats off to Texas for fighting it through and winning out over THOSE odds.


7 posted on 08/14/2012 3:34:52 AM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: Jack Hammer
According to this more thorough article (12th paragraph), they planned to go to Mexico, and then travel via ship to Union-occupied New Orleans in order to join the Union forces.
8 posted on 08/14/2012 4:09:30 AM PDT by Lattero
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To: Lattero

This “more through” NY times piece is just that....a piece of pure garbage. Although the story is mostly true, the author goes into “la la land” to tell the story as if he were there.

Read the article closely and you will find absolute bias against the confederates and pure love for the traitors...and that was exactly what they were.....TRAITORS!

In his article you would think he was actually at the battle.

(...A trigger-happy Confederate fired a rifle shot that shattered the summer night stillness. One of the watchmen crumpled dead into the dry grass and caliche soil.)

He even cites two remarkable incidents: One was the fact that he knew of a “trigger happy confederate” that was too quick on the trigger during the initial face to face conflict. The other was that the “trigger happy” shooter shot the man on the banks of the Nueces river and the man fell dead on the caliche ground.

Well, for you that don’t know the territory, the banks of the river are not caliche, they are limestone!

So much with this “Yankee” author’s detailed and non-biased story.


9 posted on 08/14/2012 4:40:45 AM PDT by DH (Once the tainted finger of government touches anything the rot begins)
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To: DH

Wait a second. These guys who just wanted to farm their land and raise their families were “traitors” because they wouldn’t join the Confederacy??? Explain the logic behind that, if you would, please?


10 posted on 08/14/2012 5:34:48 AM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: Lattero; lightman; Charles Henrickson; bcsco

The referenced German loyalists were made of many (or entirely) Wendish Lutherans.


11 posted on 08/14/2012 7:06:40 AM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Alterations - The acronym explains the science.)
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To: DH; Cletus.D.Yokel
Read the article closely and you will find absolute bias against the confederates and pure love for the traitors...and that was exactly what they were.....TRAITORS!

These immigrants never pledged allegiance to the Confederacy. So in no way can they be considered traitors. To claim so is to use the same manipulative tactics our current administration uses against us.

12 posted on 08/14/2012 7:20:42 AM PDT by bcsco (Bourbon gets better with age...I age better with Bourbon.)
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To: IronJack
Treason did never flourish. What’s the reason?
If treason flourish, none dare call it treason.
These nice, newly minted Americans saw treason flourishing - and made the mistake of calling it treason. It was their last mistake.

13 posted on 08/14/2012 7:24:58 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which “liberalism" coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: BereanBrain

Sam Houston was trying to make it to La, where President Jackson had stationed a large contingent of US troops. Houston then planned to annihilate Mexican forces with the aid of US troops. The US was solidly on the side of the Texans.


14 posted on 08/14/2012 7:29:02 AM PDT by jpsb
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To: IronJack

I don’t think you read the NY times article...only the San Antonio article.

They were traitors and were going to Mexico so that they could escape to New Orleans to join the union army.

Why would they join the Union army and kill confederates? Peaceful people yes?


15 posted on 08/14/2012 7:31:02 AM PDT by DH (Once the tainted finger of government touches anything the rot begins)
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To: Lattero

The Monument IIRC is only one of two places in the US where the Colors are at half mast all the time.

These Germans just wanted to stay out of the war and the Confederates were going after them because they believed them to be Union symptathizers. So as they were escaping the Confederates they were slaughtered on the plain. (the germans did not fight back) Women Children and men all dead on the plain.. A very dark day in Texas History. And the Confederate soilders wouldn’t let the German immigrants collect thier dead for a long time almost a year IIRC.

http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qfn01


16 posted on 08/14/2012 7:36:22 AM PDT by Rightly Biased (How do you say Arkanicide in Kenyan?)
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To: DH

Why would they join the Union army to kill Confederates?

Perhaps because their allegiance lay with the Union, not the Confederacy. It could just as cogently be argued that aligning with the Confederacy would have been treason.

In any case, these immigrants were forced to either declare for the Confederacy or face extinction. They made their choice and were murdered as a result.

The South was capable of far nobler treatment for dissenters. And there is no justification for the wholesale slaughter of civilians with whom you disagree.


17 posted on 08/14/2012 8:50:24 AM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: Rightly Biased
And then there's the Great Hanging at Gainesville, 40 "suspected Unionists" strung up after a kangaroo court.
18 posted on 08/14/2012 9:09:55 AM PDT by Bubba Ho-Tep ("More weight!"--Giles Corey)
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To: Lattero
Those were some rough times in central Texas. Between the Comanches, bandits and the Civil War, very few got out of those times without some scars.

The descendants of those Germans are doing quite well in the Hill Country today.

Recommended reading for a background on those times ...


19 posted on 08/14/2012 9:25:40 AM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: jpsb

you must have went to PUBLIC FOOL SCHOOL.

Read this article

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Texas_Navy

Here you will find the details about the US navy ship seized by Texicans for running guns to Mexico to fight against Texians.


20 posted on 08/14/2012 12:09:57 PM PDT by BereanBrain
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To: DH
Why would they join the Union army and kill confederates? Peaceful people yes?

Two months after this 40 Unionists were lynched in Gainsville, Texas. Maybe these were peaceful people who saw the writing on the wall and were trying to get out of Texas while the getting was good?

21 posted on 08/14/2012 12:21:33 PM PDT by Delhi Rebels (There was a row in Silver Street - the regiments was out.)
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To: BereanBrain
I read your link, (maybe you should as well) and it says nothing about the Texans capturing a UN Navy ship. They did capture a couple of American merchant ships that were running guns to Mexico. They did not capture any US Navy ships, nor was the US Navy or government supporting the Mexicans. It was quite the opposite in fact.

Liberty captured the American brig Durango shortly thereafter and it too was found to be carrying Mexican Army supplies. Around the same time, Captain Jeremiah Brown in the Invincible took the American brig Pocket at the mouth of the Rio Grande, she was carrying contraband as well but her owners informed the United States Navy.[4]

Subsequently, the American Commodore Alexander J. Dallas arrested Captain Brown and his crew for piracy when they sailed into New Orleans that May for provisioning. The charges were eventually dropped on the account that all of the seized American ships carried Mexican military stores but a civil suit remained in litigation for years afterward.


22 posted on 08/14/2012 12:40:58 PM PDT by Ditto (Nov 2, 2010 -- Partial cleaning accomplished. More trash to remove in 2012)
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To: Ditto

I based my comment on other sources. This article was the closest I could find to the document I read 20-30 years ago about a US Naval vessel seized in Matagorda bay.

I believe this ship was returned to the US control only AFTER Texas joined the US.

I will root around and find the document - hopefully it’s on the internet now.

The FACTS are that the US government was playing both sides of the conflict.....which they do now as well in many situations...Why should you be surprised?


23 posted on 08/14/2012 1:49:37 PM PDT by BereanBrain
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To: Ditto

I believe the quotes below (from a article on the Texian ship Invincible) demonstrate that the US was secretly supplying the Mexican governement......

After entering the Union, Texas paid about 11,000 dollars to the US as the ship was never returned to the US (I thought it was, my bad)

Battle of Brazos Santiago and capture of Pocket

Captain Brown was immediately ordered to defend the Texas coast and seek out and engage the Mexican man-of-war Montezuma. The Invincible cruised south to the mouth of the Rio Grande, where on April 3, 1836, Invincible encountered the 20-gun Man-of-War in an area then-called Brazos Santiago (now called Boca Chica) at the mouth of Laguna Madre. After an exchange of broadsides the Montezuma ran aground on a sandbar, and her crew escaped. Invincible barraged the Mexican cruiser until she was destroyed.[2]

Later that same day, the Invincible sighted and engaged the United States merchant vessel Pocket. Pocket was displaying a signal pennant which indicated that the vessel was transporting cargo to support General Antonio López de Santa Anna’s operation against the rebellious Texans. According to the Handbook of Texas Online, “Captain Brown boarded the vessel, examined the cargo and ship’s papers, and discovered war contraband, arms, and ammunition that did not appear on the manifest. He also found a detailed map of the Texas coastline and military dispatches in Spanish.”[1] In addition, the Texans found that Pocket was carrying high ranking Mexican army officers[3] in violation of the Neutrality Act of 1818. Pocket had been en route from Matamoros to Santa Anna’s army in Texas with a contraband cargo of flour, rice, lard, biscuit, and 300 kegs of powder. Based on the accumulated evidence, Brown assigned a prize crew and escorted Pocket to Galveston. Invincible arrived on April 8, and there he learned from captured documents that Santa Anna had plans to capture all Texas ports and to station 1,000 men on Galveston Island. Thus forewarned, the Texas government quickly fortified the strategically important and most populous Texas’ island. The provisions captured aboard the Pocket ultimately were consigned to Sam Houston’s army.[4] Texas historian Jim Dan Hill, writing during the Texas Centennial in 1936 credited the Invincible with contributing mightily to Sam Houston’s victory at San Jacinto by depriving the Mexicans of reinforcements that would have been brought by Montezuma and by redirecting Pocket’s supplies to the Texans just before the battle.[5]


24 posted on 08/14/2012 2:00:55 PM PDT by BereanBrain
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To: Lattero
I did not know about this.

When I saw the headline I assumed that "Nueces!" was a Mexican commander's answer when the Texans told him to surrender.

The Texas State Historians' Association site says that the Unionists were "mostly German intellectuals." That must have made for quite a battle.

Kidding aside, the incident shows that Confederacy, like other governments, wasn't averse to using all the power and force that it could wield -- and then some.

25 posted on 08/14/2012 2:19:53 PM PDT by x
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To: BereanBrain
I believe the quotes below (from a article on the Texian ship Invincible) demonstrate that the US was secretly supplying the Mexican governement......

You can choose to 'believe' it if you like... some people even believe in big foot. But the evidence is quite to the contrary. Andrew Jackson was president during the Texas War of Independence. He strongly supported annexation of Texas and was of his first efforts when he took office was making an offer to buy Texas from Mexico. The Mexicans flatly rejected that offer.

Sam Houston and Andrew Jackson were close friends. Houston actually named his son Andrew Jackson Houston in honor of his friend. Would he have done that if Jackson had been aiding Santa Anna?

Here's a quote from History.com

During the course of the Mexican revolt, the United States was far from neutral. Public opinion openly favored Texan independence and the government actually sent a military force onto Texan soil, weakly explaining that the soldiers were needed to restrain local Indians from raiding American settlements across the border.

In the fall of 1836, Samuel Houston was inaugurated as president of the independent Republic of Texas. The new administration promptly sent a representative to Washington, and repealed the prohibition on slavery. Andrew Jackson believed that Texas should be admitted to the Union as a slave state, but withheld action out of fear of the political consequences. On his final day in office, Jackson extended official diplomatic recognition to independent Texas.

Now if you have some source that the US supported Mexico and not the Texans during that war, I sure love to see it ... but I guess I would love to see a Big Foot too. ;~))

I just don't 'believe' either exist.

26 posted on 08/14/2012 7:35:26 PM PDT by Ditto (Nov 2, 2010 -- Partial cleaning accomplished. More trash to remove in 2012)
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To: Ditto

I hear what you are saying....However how do you explain the presence of Mexican government officials on a US flagged ship, and Gunpowder ending up headed for a bay where a Texas ship had previously in the day sunk a Mexican warship?


27 posted on 08/17/2012 12:38:28 PM PDT by BereanBrain
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To: BereanBrain
However how do you explain the presence of Mexican government officials on a US flagged ship,

It was a merchant ship, not a US Navy warship as you said in your first post. Merchant ships ran blockaids all the time. There was big money in it.

28 posted on 08/17/2012 3:01:37 PM PDT by Ditto (Nov 2, 2010 -- Partial cleaning accomplished. More trash to remove in 2012)
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To: Ditto

If it was a merchant ship, then WHY did the US demand payment of the price of the ship 20+ years later? If the merchant ship was doing something illegal (which it was by having the Mexican official aboard and running guns), then why would the US side with the merchant?

Very tellling! Imagine if we found ship running guns to IRAN, and the government DEFENDED the merchant!


29 posted on 08/17/2012 7:37:21 PM PDT by BereanBrain
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To: BereanBrain
If it was a merchant ship, then WHY did the US demand payment of the price of the ship 20+ years later?
... Very tellling! Imagine if we found ship running guns to IRAN, and the government DEFENDED the merchant!

1. Doing what the ship did was not illegal under US Law. There was no embargo placed on Mexico during that war and no international sanctions placed on them either.

2. The US Government didn't demand payment. It was a civil suit in US maritime court brought by the owners of the ship, not the US Government. They rightly collected in the end because legally they were correct. For the Texans it was a small price to pay for independence. Many war end with compensations negotiated afterwords for 'actions' against 3rd parties taken during the hostilities.

It was all pretty standard maritime law. During that revolution, the Texan revolutionaries had no legal standing anywhere in the world. For both the Mexican government, and under US and international law, that ship was only bringing goods from one Mexican port to another Mexican port.

It was doing nothing illegal under any law and perfectly within its rights, albeit it was doing something very dangerous in the midst of a revolution.

It is not "if' it was a merchant ship. It WAS a merchant ship. Try to understand that there is a big difference between a US flagged vessel and a US Navy war ship.

The initials might help you comprehend this. The SS Good Ship Lollipop that runs day excursions on your local waterway is a "US flagged vessel.", it is a merchant vessel. It operates under US and International maritime law. The USS Ronald Reagan is a US Navy warship!

Two totally different things.

30 posted on 08/17/2012 9:09:54 PM PDT by Ditto (Nov 2, 2010 -- Partial cleaning accomplished. More trash to remove in 2012)
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To: Lattero
But what led to this gruesome footnote in Texas History? German settlers, by the thousands, came to the new state of Texas beginning in the 1840s. They were leaving an oppressive society in Germany for the openness and freedoms offered in America.

The German immigrants of the 1840s were fleeing the backlash of the failed communist revolution of 1848. The "'48ers", as they were called, were communists.

31 posted on 08/17/2012 9:39:22 PM PDT by Brass Lamp
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