Saturday, February 19, 2011

Texas Tidbits: A Texas Hero from Germany

The Texas Revolution drew men from all over the United States in support of the Texians and their fight for freedom. Some of these men were recent immigrants from locations all over the world. One such man was Dr. Gustavus Bunsen of Frankfurt, Germany. Gustavus came from a well to do, educated family and he was no stranger to war. He had participated in wars in Poland and Germany before coming to the United States, so the Texas Revolution seemed like a natural fit to him.

Gustavus settled for a short time in Cincinnati where he joined the Louisville Volunteers in October, 1835 then he was bound for Texas where he was soon to die at the hands of Mexican Troops.An unpleasant task resulted in someone having to tell the soldier's family of his death and then settling the soldier's estate. In the case of Dr. Bunsen, this duty fell to William Longerheim. Below is a copied and pasted PDF describing the battle in which Dr. Bunsen died, the circumstances of his death and more. It's a bit of a read, but it's well worth your time to "be there" on that day in 1836.

Affidavit of William Longenheim concerning the death

Of Dr Gustavus Bunsen

William Longenheim being duly sworn stateth as follows:

I am a native of Germany, citizen of the Republic of Texas

And reside at this city at present.  In the year 1836 while I

was serving as orderly Sergeant in Capt. P. Thomas Pear-

-sons 1   Artillery Company of the Texian Volunteer-

Army, Gustavus Bunsen M.D. a native of the Free City of

Frankfurt o/m in Germany joined the said Company, while

encamped near the town of Goliad or La Bahia in Texas.

Towards the end of the month of February 1836 this company

was together with the Company of Capt. Llewellyn under-

-command of Colonels Johnson and Charles Grant employed

in bringing horses for the use of the Texian Army from the

State of Tamaulipas into Texas.         Shortly after this party

arrived on the north bank of the river Nueces I was detached

by order of Cols. Johnson and Grant to take in charge the horses

we had collected and guard them at the farm of Don Manuel

a mexican proprietor about two miles south of the town of

the irish settlement at San Patricio in Texas.         Amongst the

12 men I had to select to guard the horses was my friend the

above named Dr Gustavus Bunsen.             On the 27   of February

the party under my charge was surprised and attacked by the

advanced guard of the right division of the mexican army

then about invading Texas under command of General Urrea.

In the first moment of the attack Dr G. Bunsen, then very

close to me, was wounded b y bullets in the head and in the

breast as I clearly perceived and fell down apparently dead.

Myself and three of my comrades were taken prisoners, the

rest of them were killed on the spot or severely wounded.

After some days the eldest son of the owner of the farm, having

obtained admission to the prison, where we were kept, related

to me the fate of my wounded comrades.           Dr Bunsen, with

whom he became acquanted during our encampment at his


[Begin page two]

fathers farm, he said, died of his wounds the same he was

wounded at his fathers house and was burried at the burrial

place of his family in the garden adjoining the house.          In

the early part of the month of May, while I was kept as

prisoner the war in the prison of Matamoros I met the owner

of the farm, who confirmed the statement of this son in every

particular as well in respect of the wounds as the death and

burial of the said Dr Gustavus Bunsen.  About the same time

John Spiess a native of Aargan in Switzerland, who had be-

longed to the party under my charge and being shot through

the hip in the conflict was not kept with the rest of the

prisoners having gained admittance to the prison at Matamo-

ros stated to me in presence of my companions, that the

said Dr Bunsen after being wounded very severely in the

attack, died the same afternoon in the same room where he,

the said john spiess, lay wounded nd that his body was

buried the following day.

         I know the above designated owner of the farm and his son

as an upright, religious and well behaved men and the said

John Spiess, who had been in company with Dr Bunsen since

he left the town of Louisville in the state of Kentucky, as an

honest, well meaning and veracious man.           I therefore have

no doubt that the statement as above related is true and

that Dr Gustavus Bunsen is actually dead.

Phineas Jencks Mahan and George Copeland natives of

Philadelphia and now residing near the city of Houston

in Texas were taken prisoners in the above narration engage-

-ment and will, I have no doubt, confirm the facts of this


                             William Longenheim

Sworn and subscribed ∫

before me one of the         ∫

Aldermen of the City  ∫

of Philadelphia             ∫

Jany 5. 1841                ∫

          O. Christian      ∫

This PDF was copied and pasted from the Handbook of Texas Online

God bless men like Dr. Gustavus Bunsen and may God continue to bless Texas.

Copyright ©

All Original Material © Toby Shoemaker