Friday, August 10, 2012

August 10, 1862

August 10, 1862: Battle of the Nueces River, Texas - In an unusual turn of events, Texas troops capture and massacre 28 Texans of German descent. The Germans who settled the Hill Country of central Texas were Unionists to a man, and opposed slavery, secession, and the whole Southern movement. They agreed with Sam Houston, the former senator, hero and later President of the Republic of Texas, and then Governor of Texas at the time of secession in 1861, who—as he refused to take the oath of loyalty to the Confederacy—warned all Texans:
Your fathers and husbands, your sons and brothers, will be herded at the point of the bayonet. . . . You may after the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, as a bare possibility, win Southern independence . . . but I doubt it. I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of state rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction…they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche. . . . To secede from the Union and set up another government would cause war. If you go to war with the United States, you will never conquer her, as she has the money and the men. . . . For this reason I predict the civil war which is now at hand will be stubborn and of long duration. In the name of the Constitution of Texas, I refuse to take this oath. In the name of my own conscience and manhood, which this Convention would degrade by dragging me before it, to pander to the malice of my enemies, I refuse to take this oath.

The Hill Country Germans also refused to take such an oath, and as the Confederate Draft Laws of 1862 began to take effect, Texas authorities found no cooperation from the Hill Country. They sent in troops to sack and burn farms, and a group of over 60 Germans fled south to escape from Confederate Texas. At a crossing of the Nueces River, on this date, they were caught by Texas troops, and in the ensuing fight, 19 of them were killed. Then, the state troops shot another 9 wounded in cold blood.

—Gen. McClellan writes home to his wife Ellen that "If I succeed in my coup, everything will be changed in this country so far as we are concerned & my enemies will be at my feet." He also adds cryptically, that Halleck’s order for him to withdraw from the Peninsula is "a fatal error." Such officers, are "enemies of the country & of the human race." He even wishes for his comrades’ defeat: "I have a strong idea that Pope will be thrashed during the coming week & very badly whipped he will be & ought to be – such a villain as he is ought to bring defeat upon any cause that employs him." Such are the thoughts which rule the mind of the genius Little Napoleon.


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