The Battle of the Nueces
Captain Duff who was serving as provost of the Gillespie County
area and responsible for the conduct of McRae's expedition has
received the most vitriolic of criticism for his part in the suppres-
sion of disloyalty and organization of troops to overtake Tegener's
party. Duff was a Scot who had joined the United States Army
and was later discharged under undesirable circumstances. After
his service with the Confederacy Duff lived and died in France.19
For seven days, beginning on August 3, 1862, McRae's de-
tachment tracked the Germans. The journey began on the
Pedernales River and ended at Fort Clark, Texas. The Confed-
erates tracked the unionists during the first two days to the
Guadalupe River and then up that stream beyond the settle-
ments along its banks; the trail then led westward to the South
Branch of the Guadalupe. On the third day the Confederates
discovered a campsite estimated to have been used four to five
days earlier. The number of unionists was calculated at that time
to have been between sixty and one hundred. There was evi-
dence at this site of the expatriates having taken target practice
at near-by trees,20 but weighed against their carelessness in con-
cealing their trail, this fact hardly indicates that Tegener or any
of his men expected or were planning for an engagement. Indeed,
the unionists evidently were unaware that they were even being
Rough terrain impeded the Confederates on the fourth day,
but the unionists' trail was clear as McRae's force reached the
head of the Medina River. On the evening of August 6 Duff's
loyalists camped at a water hole on the Frio River.21
On the fifth day, August 7, the Confederates reached the
Nueces River and discovered a well-defined trail winding up the
river bed; at 2 :oo P.M. a recently occupied camp was found. Hot
coals and fresh meat testified that the Germans were not far
ahead. No attempt was being made to conceal the unionist flight;
o1For the courtmartial and death of Duff see Biggers, German Pioneers, 59. The
unjust activity of Duff is reflected in Lieutenant Colonel H. C. Webb, February
18, 1863, Official Records, Series I, Vol. XV, 982.
20Williams, With the Border Ruffians, 238-239. McRae reported having discov-
ered the trail on the morning of August 6, 1862. Report of Lieutenant C. D.
McRae, August 18, 1862, Official Records, Series I, Vol. IX, 614.
21Williams, With the Border Ruffians, 24o.
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 May 23, 2013.