During our recent vacation travels to Texas we happened to notice a visitor guide newspaper in the lobby of our hotel for the community of Comfort TX. On page 6 of this edition we noticed an interesting article regarding the Treue der Union Monument located in Comfort. The following is the historical account of the story surrounding this monument site from the texastripper website (http://www.texastripper.com/comfort/treue-der-union.html ).
Things went well in the new land until the Civil War broke out, and Texas began to talk of seceding from the Union. The German immigrants strongly opposed secession, both because they were against the institution of slavery and because of their feeling of allegiance to their adopted country.
Some of the German farmers openly backed the Union government, an act that the Confederates considered treasonous. To make matters worse, the local residents of Comfort formed the Union Loyal League to protect themselves from Indian and outlaw attacks. A nervous Confederacy felt that the group might be a serious threat to their government.
Finally, martial law was declared, and the Texas Rangers were sent to order all males over 16 years old to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. When many refused, some dissidents were lynched. Some accounts say as many as 150 citizens were killed.
With these mounting troubles and threats to their families, a group of Comfort men decided to leave Texas and head to Mexico where they hoped to join with Union troops and fight for their adopted country. A band of 60 left on August 1, 1862. They did not know that the Confederates had been told of their move by an informant.
The Unionists were followed to the banks of the Nueces River before the attack began. When it was over, nineteen Comfort citizens had been killed in battle. Nine others were captured, but they were later executed for treason.
On October 18, eight other Unionists were killed while crossing the Rio Grande near the Devil's River. In 1865 the remains were returned and buried in a mass grave in Comfort. The next year, on August 10, 1866, the first monument in Texas was erected at the gravesite to remember this grim battle. The Treue der Union or True to the Union Monument was a simple obelisk, inscribed with the name of the men who were killed. Outside of National Cemeteries, this remains the only monument to the Union erected in a state south of the Mason-Dixon line.
This monument, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is also noteworthy for another unusual feature. The flag flown here is the thirty-six star American flag, the one flown at the dedication of the monument over 125 years ago. The inscription on the monument also notes that "It is said that only this monument and Arlington National Cemetery are permitted to fly the American flag at half staff the year round."
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