A Guide to the Herman Ehrenberg Narrative, 1845
Prussian-born Herman Ehrenberg was a surveyor, cartographer, writer, and engineer, who survived the Goliad Massacre of 1836. Ehrenberg immigrated to the United States in 1834 and, after joining the New Orleans Greys in October 1835, fought in the Texas Revolution. Ehrenberg fought at the siege of Bexar in December 1835 and the battle of Coleto under James W. Fannin. Fannin and his men surrendered following the battle of Coleto, and a week later the Mexican army executed most of the prisoners, only twenty-eight men escaped. Ehrenburg fled under the cover of the gun smoke and managed to cross the San Antonio River. After surviving for several days in the wild, Ehrenberg surrendered to Mexican General José de Urrea. Urrea took Ehrenberg to Matagorda and released him following news of the battle of San Jacinto.
Ehrenberg returned to Germany to study mining at Freiburg University, and in the early 1840s taught English at Halle University. In 1844, Ehrenberg returned to the United States and spent the rest of his life as a surveyor, explorer, cartographer, and miner in the Southwest. He surveyed and mapped the Gadsden Purchase; portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and California; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Colorado City, Arizona. In addition, he was an agent for the Mojaves on the Colorado River Reservation, 1863-1866. As a writer, Ehrenberg published articles in Mining Magazine and Journal of Geology and Arizona Weekly. He also wrote an account of his actions during the Texas Revolution called Texas und seine Revolution, 1843.
In 1866, robbers murdered Ehrenberg at Dos Palmas in California near the present day site of Palm Springs.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “Ehrenberg, Herman,” http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/EE/feh1.html (accessed July 8, 2010).
The Hermann Ehrenberg Narrative, 1845, is a typescript copy, written in German, of Ehrenberg’s account of the battle of Coleto, 1836 and the Goliad Massacre, 1836. Ehrenberg published the third edition of his account in Germany in 1845 under the title, Fahrten und Schicksale eines Deutschen in Texas [Travels and Fortunes of a German in Texas]. The narrative was originally published in 1843 as Texas und seine Revolution [Texas and its Revolution], and re-released in 1844 as Der Freiheitskampf in Texas im Jahre 1836 [The Struggle for Freedom in Texas in the Year 1836]. In the account, Ehrenberg relates his adventures as a soldier in the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836, including his escape from the Goliad Massacre, 1836.
This collection is open for research use.
Herman Ehrenberg Narrative, 1845, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers