The German-language Treue der Union Monument (loyalty to the Union), is located in the Kendall County community of Comfort in the U.S. state of Texas. It was dedicated on August 10, 1866 to commemorate those who died at the 1862 Nueces massacre. Thirty-four were killed, some executed after being taken prisoner. With the exception of those drowned in the Rio Grande, the remains of the deceased are buried at the site of the monument. It is the only monument to the Union on formerly Confederate soil, and only the sixth mass-grave burial site to fly the American flag at half-staff in perpetuity. Designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1968, Marker number 15. Added to the National Register of Historic Places listings in Texas November 29, 1978.
In 1862, the Confederate States of America imposed martial law on Central Texas, due to resistance to the Civil War. Jacob Kuechler served as a guide for sixty-one conscientious objectors attempting to flee to Mexico. Scottish born Confederate irregular James Duff and his Duff’s Partisan Rangers pursued and overtook them at the Nueces River.
Thirty-four were killed, some executed after being taken prisoner. Jacob Kuechler survived the Nueces massacre. The cruelty shocked the people of Gillespie County and surrounding areas. Two thousand took to the hills to escape Duff's reign of terror.
On August 19, 1865, Eduard Degener, Eduard Steves, and William Heuermann paid $20 for a lot in Comfort, for the purpose of building a monument. The bodies of those who drowned in the massacre were never recovered. The bodies of the remaining massacre victims were recovered for burial by local residents in a mass grave on the lot purchased by Degener, Steves and Heuermann. On August 20, 1865, at Comfort, Texas, three hundred people attended the funeral for the remains of the victims of the massacre. The funeral cortege was accompanied by Federal troops who fired a salute over the mass grave. Eduard Degener, father of victims Hugo and Hilmar, delilvered the eulogy.
With donations from local residents and families of the victims, the Treue der Union Monument was dedicated on August 10, 1866 in Kendall County. The obelisk stands twenty feet high and was constructed of native limestone by local stonemasons and several carvers. The main obelisk weighs 35,700 pounds, with the top containing the original four name tablets. The United States flag has thirty-six stars, representing the number of states at the time of the monument dedication. On the lawn at the base are four name tablets in German. Inside the second course of the monument is a time capsule.
Names on Treue der Union Monument
|Name||Date and Place of Death||Notes|
|Leopold Bauer||10 August 1862, Nueces River||[Treue 2]|
|F Behrens||10 August 1862, Nueces River|
|Ernst Beseler||10 August 1862, Nueces River|
|Conrad Bock||Captured and murdered||Fredericksburg|
|Louis Boerner||10 August 1862, Nueces River||Comfort|
|Wilhelm Boerner||Captured and murdered||Comfort|
|Peter Bonnet||18 October 1862, Rio Grande||Comfort|
|Theo Bruckisch||Captured and murdered|
|Albert Bruns||10 August 1862, Nueces River|
|Hilmar Degener||10 August 1862, Nueces River|
|Hugo Degener||10 August 1862, Nueces River|
|Pablo Diaz||10 August 1862, Nueces River|
|Joseph Elstner||18 October 1862, Rio Grande|
|Edward Felsing||18 October 1862, Rio Grande|
|Herman Flick||Captured and murdered||Fredericksburg|
|H Herrmann||18 October 1862, Rio Grande|
|V Hohmann||18 October 1862, Rio Grande|
|J.H. Kallenberg||10 August 1862, Nueces River||Fredericksburg|
|Fritz Lange||18 October 1862, Rio Grande||Comfort|
|August Luckenbach||Captured and murdered||Fredericksburg|
|Henry Markwardt||10 August 1862, Nueces River||Sisterdale, Cherry Spring|
|A Ruebsamen||Captured and murdered|
|L Ruebsamen||Captured and murdered|
|Christian Schaefer Sr.||10 August 1862, Nueces River||Fredericksburg|
|Louis Schierholz||10 August 1862, Nueces River|
|Emil Schreiner||10 August 1862, Nueces River||Kerrville|
|Heinrich Steves||10 August 1862, Nueces River||Comfort|
|Heinrich Stieler||Captured and murdered||Comfort|
|F Tays||Captured and murdered||Comfort|
|Wilhelm Telgmann||10 August 1862, Nueces River|
|A Vater||10 August 1862, Nueces River|
|F Vater||10 August 1862, Nueces River|
|H Weyershausen||10 August 1862, Nueces River|
|M Weyrich||10 August 1862, Nueces River|
|Frank Weiss||18 October 1862, Rio Grande|
|Moritz Weiss||18 October 1862, Rio Grande|
- At the 125th anniversary dedication in 1991, the United States Congress designated the monument as only the sixth mass-grave burial site to fly the American flag at half-staff in perpetuity. The flag flown at half-mast is the 1865 flag containing 36 stars.
- Source book editor Dr. Walter D. Kamphoefner is a professor in the History Dept. at Texas A & M University. Dr. Kamphoefner has written numerous books regarding German families who came to Texas, all well written and documented.
- "Treue Der Union Monument". Recorded Texas Historic Marker. William Nienke, Sam Morrow. http://www.9key.com/markers/marker_detail.asp?atlas_number=5259000015. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- "National Register of Historic Places-Kendall Co, Tx". U.S. Dept. of Interior, the National Park Service. http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/TX/Kendall/state.html. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- Shook, Robert W. "James Duff". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdu06. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- Kohout, Martin Donell. "Gillespie County, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcg04. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- "Marker-Treue Der Union Monument". Texas Historic Markers. HMdb.org. http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=34985&Result=1. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- "List of names- Treue der Union Monument". Comfort, Texas Heritage Foundation. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txchf/treue.htm. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- Pohlsander, Hans A (2010). German Monuments in the Americas: Bonds Across the Atlantic. Peter Lang International Academic Publishers. p. 16. ISBN 978-3034301381. http://books.google.com/books?id=6kCDYByxCSYC&pg=PA16&dq=%22Treue+der+Union%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-KPBU5rxM8zpoAS8voH4CQ&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=%22Treue%20der%20Union%22&f=false.
- Herzog, Brad (2001). States of Mind. Pocket. p. 92. ISBN 978-0743417822.
- Evans, Brent (2010). Boerne (Images of America Series). Arcadia. p. 26. ISBN 978-0738579436. http://books.google.com/books?id=A9zyYP2tRgcC&pg=PA26&dq=%22Treue+der+Union%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=saTBU9rBMsfZoASR2ICABQ&ved=0CDIQ6AEwBDgK#v=onepage&q=%22Treue%20der%20Union%22&f=false.
- Little, Carol Morris (1996). A Comprehensive Guide to Outdoor Sculpture in Texas. University of Texas Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-292-76036-3.
- Kamphoefner, Walter D. - Editor; Helbich, Wolfgang Johannes - Editor; Vogel, Susan Carter - Translator (2006). Germans in the Civil War : the Letters They Wrote Home. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 9780807830444.
- "1860 Gillespie County Census Family 451- 500 So Grape Creek". Gillespie County Historical Society. http://www.txgenweb2.org/txgillespie/1860-10.html. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- "1860 Gillespie County Census Family 401- 450 Cherry Spring". Gillespie County Historical Society. http://www.txgenweb2.org/txgillespie/1860-9.html. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
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