Tag Archives: Texas Unionists

Today in Texas History – January 23

From the Annals of the True Heroes of the Civil War -In 1863, former Texas State Sen. Martin Hart was executed in Fort Smith, Arkansas for his supposed treason against the Confederate States of America.  Hart was an attorney from Hunt County who had served in the Texian Army during the Revolution at age 15.  He later served in the Texas Legislature as a representative and senator.  He was opposed to secession.  After the Texas Legislature passed the vile screed known as the “Ordinance of Secession”, he resigned from the Legislature and organized the Greenville Guards, pledging the company’s services “in defense of Texas whenever she is invaded or threatened with invasion.”   In the summer of 1862 he received a Confederate commission with permission to raise a company and conduct operations in northwest Arkansas.   However, he used his commission to travel through Confederate lines leading his followers to Missouri where they joined Union forces.  He returned to Arkansas where he led a series of rear-guard actions against Confederate forces, and is alleged to have murdered at least two prominent secessionists. He and others were captured on January 18, 1863, by Confederate forces, hung five days later and buried in an unmarked graves under the hanging tree.  After Fort Smith was recaptured by Union forces, his remains were moved to the National Cemetery there.  Contributions from Union soldiers paid for his headstone.

Today in Texas History – August 10

From the Annals of War Crimes –  In 1862, the Battle of the Nueces took place in Kinney County.  A force of mostly German immigrant Unionists from the Hill Country led by Fritz Tegener were attempting to escape to Mexico and then onto Union controlled New Orleans.   They were camped on the west bank of the Nueces River about twenty miles from Fort Clark when they were attacked by mounted Confederate soldiers. The Unionists had camped without choosing a defensive position or posting a strong guard. The Confederates, led by Lt. C. D. McRae, came upon the camp on the afternoon of August 9. Firing began an hour before sunlight the next morning; nineteen of the sixty-odd Unionists were killed, and nine were wounded. The nine wounded were executed a few hours after the battle. Two Confederates were killed and eighteen wounded, including McRae.  McRae only had authority to arrest the civilians for avoiding service in the Confederate Army, but instead he chose to massacre sleeping civilians and then allowed the execution of unarmed wounded men.   Question for the supporters of the so-called “noble cause” – Was it noble to execute wounded prisoners?

Print of the Nueces Massacre from lifeofthecivilwar.blogspot.com.