Massacre of the Germans in Texas.
Translated from the Galveston Union, a German paper, established since the occupation of that place by the Union forces.
Near the origin of the Grand Cape
, on Johnston's Creek, several American and two German families settled but two years ago. Contending against the roughness of the soil and the wild Indians
, they had no pleasant position, but they persevered, conscious of their courage and their intrepidity, and the lower settlements owed it to them that they had less to suffer from the raids of the Indians.
These border inhabitants received but little news about the condition of the country and the events of the war. All at once they were notified to pay war taxes and to drill.
The first demand they could not comply with, because they had no money, not even corn-meal
for their families, and the last order they could not obey, because they lived so distant from each other and their absence would leave their families without protection.
For these reasons they were considered Union men, and Captain Duff
, a notorious rowdy, was sent against the settlers with a company of Texans.
They asked the protection of their friends, but had to fly from the overpowering number of their enemies to the mountains.
Many Germans and Americans
were arrested and imprisoned in Fredericksburgh
, and Captain Duff
was reenforced by four hundred men to operate successfully against the German Abolitionists
and hunt up the Yankees
The soldiers again visited Johnston's Creek, but found the most of the settlers had fled to the mountains.
alone they surprised, sleeping under the porch of his house, but awakened by the cries of distress of his wife and the discharge of the muskets of his enemies, who fired fourteen shots after him. He fortunately made his escape.
The house was ransacked, and all movable property taken off. Other farms in the neighborhood were also searched, the families taken prisoners, and the houses burnt down.
Upon the news of these events, Fred Degener
and other fugitives concluded to fly to Mexico
; more exiles joined them, and soon they had a company of sixty-eight men. But they travelled too slowly, and before daybreak one morning they were surprised by two hundred Texans.
After a most determined resistance, they were defeated, and only twelve of them, covered with wounds, made good their escape.
All fugitives which afterward fell into the hands of the enemy were hung up. Among these sixty-eight men only five were Americans
, the others all Germans.
A few of the fugitives escaped across the Rio Grande
; others, wandering in the mountains and suffering extreme hunger, sought protection among American families, but were handed over to their persecutors and shot or hung.
To this news, Dr. Adolph Douai
, a celebrated German traveller, who for many years had lived in that country, makes the following notes:
We know personally the most of these unfortunate victims, which have been murdered so mercilessly, not because they rebelled against the government, but because they would not act against the Union, and would rather fly to Mexico.
These murdered Union men were some of the greatest benefactors of the State; they had done the hardest pioneer work in it, cleared it from the wild beasts and Indians; they had saved it to civilization through more than one period of pestilence and famine; secured as borderers their present persecutors, the slaveholders, against the invasion of Indians, and done the best service as volunteers in the Mexican war and the wars on the frontier.
They placed the arts and sciences in Texas as well as they could be found anywhere among the American Germans.
They furnished the proof that they could cultivate sugar and cotton without the least danger to health, and increased the riches of the country millions of dollars.
The above related events are their reward for it. Hundreds who succeeded in making their escape rove about the woods, having lost every thing, some even their families.
Hundreds are now chased like wild beasts through the wilderness of North-western Texas
, and succumb because of the most horrid tortures, their fate never being known to their fellow-men.--St. Louis Republican, January 16