150 years ago today, on the morning of August 10, 1862, a Civil War skirmish occurred between a force of Hill Country Unionists and mounted Confederate soldiers. The Unionists had been camped along the west bank of the Nueces River twenty miles from Fort Clark. Mostly made up of German intellectuals, the Unionists had been headed to Mexico. Major Fritz Tegener led the group.
Ninety-four Confederates led by Lieutenant C. D. McRae chanced upon the camp on August 9th. The following morning, firing began an hour before the sun rose. Nineteen Unionists, of the 61 to 68 present, were killed, nine were wounded. The wounded were executed just hours after the battle.
Eight more Unionists, from those who’d escaped, were killed on October 18, 1862, as they tried to cross into Mexico. Eleven of the survivors reached home, while others made it to either Mexico or California. German members of the Union League organized a militia to protect portions of Kendall, Gillespie and Kerr counties from both Indian raids and Confederate actions. They eventually joined Unionist forces in New Orleans.
While Confederates regarded this attack as military action against insurrectionists, German Hill county residents saw the event as a massacre. A monument commemorating the attack was erected on August 10, 1866. This monument is the only German language one dedicated to the Union in the South. The remains of those killed are buried there.
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