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Comfort remembers the Battle of Nueces on its 150th Anniversary
Monday, July 16, 2012
The Texas Hill Country is a place deeply steeped in and respectful of its history. This is part of what makes the area an attraction and perfect vacation spot for countless Texas residents. Great care is taken to preserve historic buildings, artifacts and stories of yester year. This August, the Comfort Heritage Foundation will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Nueces.
The Battle of Nueces holds particular importance to the German settlers of Texas. After Texas seceded from the Union, a coalition of German Loyalists was confronted with an edict to conscript and send every young man to fight for the Confederacy or die as traitors. The Germans who settled the Hill Country, particularly those who settled Kendall County were considered "Freethinkers," German intellectuals who fled their native country to escape what they saw as political and religious oppressions. Confronted with the same tyranny which had caused them to leave their homeland, the Freethinkers again sought to leave persecution. The Freethinkers lit out for Mexico to avoid the conscription. Some sources say they wanted to stay there to wait out the war; others that their goal was to meet up with Union forces.
On the way to Mexico, the Union Loyalists made camp on the west bank of the Nueces River about twenty miles from Fort Clark in present-day Kinney County. On the afternoon of August 9th, ninety-four Confederates, led by Lieutenant Colonel D. McRae, came upon the camp. Firing began an hour before sunlight the next morning. Nineteen of the 68 Unionists were killed and 9 were injured; the injured were executed a few hours after the battle. Of the remaining Unionists, eight were killed by Confederates on October 18, 1862, while trying to cross into Mexico, eleven reached home and most of the others escaped temporarily to Mexico or to California. It took three years to recover all the bodies. Eventually, all the remains were gathered and entombed in a single grave in Comfort, with a monument erected named "Treue der Union," meaning loyalty to the Union. To this day, the debate rages on whether the conflict should be deemed a "battle" or a "massacre" by historians and the descendants of the German settlers.
The Comfort Heritage Foundation has organized two days of events honoring the Battle of Nueces.
Events and activities include the following:
Friday, August 10
• "The Blues and The Grays" Folk Opera, 8 pm at Treue der Union Monument, 300 block of High Street; bring lawn chairs, flashlights and insect repellent. Free and open to the public.
Saturday, August 11
• Memorial Program, 10 am, Treue der Union Monument. Free and open to the public.
• German lunch and video of battlefield property and history
11 am to 1 pm, Comfort Park, Highway 27. This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the event.
• "What a Tough Spot to be In" Symposium, Immanuel Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall across from the Treue der Union Monument; open to the public. Tickets are $10 per person and seating is limited seating.
Tickets may be purchased by check only made payable to Comfort Heritage Foundation and mailed to the foundation, PO Box 433, Comfort 78013.
For more information call the Comfort Chamber of Commerce at 830-995-3131 or email ComfortHeritageFoundation@gmail.com.
Keywords: Fredericsburg, Boerne, Comfort, Comfort Heritage Foudnation, Truer de Union, Freethinkers, Union, Confederates, Hill Country, Civil War
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