Colonel Eduard Harkort: A German Soldier of
Fortune in Mexico and Texas, 1832-1836
Louis E. BRISTER*
EDUARD HARKORT, BETTER KNOWN IN TEXAS HISTORY AS EDWARD
Harcourt, served in the Texas army as captain of the engineers
from March 28 until his death on August 11, 1836.1 One of about a
hundred Germans in Texas who served in the struggle for Texas inde-
pendence from Mexico, Harkort took a singularly indirect route to
that province.2 He had left Germany for reasons that were neither
political nor entirely economic. In Mexico Harkort served as a colonel
of artillery in the army for almost four years and fought in several
major battles for the federalist party. He had earned the esteem of
such federalist leaders as General Jose Antonio Mejia and Lorenzo de
Zavala before his political sympathies caused him to be deported by
the centralist government of Antonio L6pez de Santa Anna. Harkort
arrived in New Orleans from Mexico in November, 1835. Two months
later he was recruited by Stephen F. Austin for the Texas army, in
which service he spent the remaining months of his life.
Harkort was born on July 18, 1797, near the city of Hagen in West-
phalia. As the son of Johann Caspar Harkort IV, a wealthy manu-
*Louis E. Brister is professor of German at Southwest Texas State University. His re-
search interests are Germans in Texas and Mexico in the nineteenth century.
1Harkort anglicized his name when he arrived in New Orleans in November, 1835.
See note 34 below. A pay certificate, issued by the Texas secretary of war, Branch T.
Archer, on October i, 184o, shows Harkort's term of military service to have been from
March 28 to August 15, 1836. Edward Harcourt File, Audited Military Claims, Comp-
troller of Public Accounts Record Group (Archives Division, Texas State Library, Aus-
tin). His death notice appeared in the Telegraph and Texas Register (Houston), Sept.
13, 1836. See also Walter Prescott Webb, H. Bailey Carroll, and Eldon Stephen Branda
(eds.), The Handbook of Texas (3 vols.; Austin, 1952, 1976), I, 766.
2In 1894 William von Rosenberg searched the immigration and military service records
in the Texas State Archives for the names of Germans who had entered Texas before
the end of the Revolution. Von Rosenberg names ninety-five adult male Germans who
aided the Anglo colonists in their struggle for independence. Louis E. Brister (trans. and
ed.), "William von Rosenberg's Kritik: A History of the Society for the Protection of
German Immigrants to Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LXXXV (Oct., 1981),
173 (the Quarterly is cited hereafter as SHQ).
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/. Accessed May 28, 2016.