The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

The Battle of the Nueces

The first of several meetings to affect this exodus took place
on Bear Creek outside Fredericksburg in early summer, 1862.
Eighteen unionists were present. A later meeting at Bear Creek
attracted several hundred persons" representing Gillespie, Kerr,
Kendall, Edwards, and Kimble counties. As a consequence of
this assembly a military force of three companies was formed
under the command of Fritz Tegener who reappeared in Texas
history during the Reconstruction era. Sympathetic historians
contend that such a military organization was necessary and
merely an attempt to implement the goal of the Union League,
which was to provide defense against the Indians and outlaw
bands which were harassing the hill country at the time.12 The
Texas military authorities, however, considered Tegener's Bat-
talion an armed rebellion against Confederate authority.
Tegener's Battalion was disbanded on news of such consider-
ation, but the plan to leave the state was implemented. On August
1, 1862, approximately eighty men assembled at a point on
Turtle Creek eighteen miles west of Kerrville; of these, sixty-
one agreed to undertake the journey to Mexico. Leadership was
vested in Major Tegener; the guides were John W. Sansom, an
experienced Texas frontiersman, and Jacob Kuechler, who later
served as land commissioner during the days of Reconstruction.
Four other Anglo-Americans and one Mexican also accompanied
the German unionists. It was decided that the exiles would ride
to the Rio Grande where Devils River makes its junction and
there cross into Mexico,1 as this and similar routes through
11Ransleben, A Hundred Years of Comfort in Texas, 105.
12Biggers, German Pioneers, 57. Fritz Tegener was elected to the Texas Legisla-
ture in 1866. Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas 1846-1939 (Austin,
1939), 51. For the activities of the outlaw Waldrip Gang see Biggers, German
Pioneers, 66-72.
1aJacob Kuechler was one of the most active of the German unionists if Duff's
report of June 23, 1862, is accurate. Sansom was invited to accompany the party
by Edward Degener, a leading Reconstruction figure, who, in collaboration with
Kuechler, was instrumental later in the drafting of the Constitution of the State
of West Texas. Constitution of the State of West Texas (no publisher, no date,
Microfilm Collection, North Texas State College library). Degener was also active
in the field of minority rights. E. Degener, The Minority Report on Sufrage
(Austin, 1866). Most accounts agree on the five Americans: John W. Sansom, who
died at the age of eighty-six in 1920; P. Scott, W. B. Scott, Howard Henderson, and
W. Chester. Pablo Diaz was the Mexican mentioned. In addition to the general
sources see: Albert Schutze, Diamond Jubilee, Souvenir Book of Comfort, Texas (San

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed August 2, 2014.