The Battle of the Nueces
Soon after the disposition of troops, two Germans, Ernst Bauer
and Leopold Besler, stumbled on the Confederate advance posi-
tion held by Lieutenant Homsley's squad. Both unionists were
killed, though one may have been interrogated before his death.
The general attack was ordered some time between i:oo A.M. and
dawn; the exact time varies in different accounts. Contrasting
sources record the duration of the contest at from one to several
hours.27 One survivor said that after the first Confederate charge
had been repelled only six effective Germans were left to meet
subsequent onslaughts. Major Tegener was wounded early in the
battle but escaped capture. At the conclusion of the encounter
the number of German dead was approximately thirty with
twenty wounded. A number of the latter were removed by the
scout Kuechler to a spring on Sycamore Creek. Confederate losses
were two killed and eighteen wounded.28
The disproportionate casualties can be attributed to surprise,
poor positioning and the inferior weapons of the Germans.
Tegener had failed to take advantage of whatever protection the
terrain offered and the muzzle-loaders of the unionists were no
match for the Sharp's breach loaders used by the Confederates.29
County residents as Dutch Battle Ground or Dutch Water Hole and has been of
interest to Coates and his family because of the fact that a nearby cave entrance
invites one to accept the legend that the German emigree secreted a considerable
amount of gold coin somewhere in the vicinity of the battle ground.
27In Lonn, Foreigners in the Confederacy, 430, it is stated that one German was
captured before the attack and after refusing to give information as to the unionist
encampment was hanged. Lieutenant McRae's account of August 18 credits Lieuten-
ant Harbour with the dispatch of one guard and states that the firing then subsided
for one-half hour. The Schwethelm-Doebbler account sets the time for the death
of the guards at 3:00 A.M. Ransleben, A Hundred Years of Comfort in Texas, 91.
The major attack was launched at daybreak or shortly before: Lieutenant McRae
reports daybreak; Schwethelm and Doebbler set it as one-half hour before; and
still another member of Tegener's group reports 4:oo A.M. Ibid., 87, 92, 97.
Schwethelm and Doebbler erroneously credit the attack to Duff who was supposed
to have encouraged the Confederates with, "Charge them boys, charge them,
Give them Hell." Ibid., 92.
28The Sansom, Schwethelm-Doebbler, and Hoffmann accounts show respectively
nineteen killed, six escaping, twenty-three killed and wounded, seventeen escaping;
and seventeen surviving. Ransleben, A Hundrd Years of Comfort in Texas, 89, 92,
113. Lieutenant McRae's report of August 18 lists thirty-two unionists killed and
eighty-three horses, thirty-three small arms, thirteen sixshooters, and provisions
for one hundred men for ten days captured. Williams, With the Border Ruffians, 248.
29The Kuechler version states that forty of the unionists were properly armed;
the remainder used muzzle-loaders or had no weapons. Ransleben, A Hundred Years
of Comfort in Texas, 97, 112.
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 December 22, 2014.