Herman Ehrenberg was probably born in Prussia. In October 1835 joined the New Orleans Greys at the encouragement of Nicholas Adolphus Sterne. He went to Nacogdoches, fought in the Siege of Béxar in early December 1835, and, after spending the winter inside the Alamo getting supplies for the army, set out from San Antonio toward Goliad with a number of men in the Greys. It was their goal to eventually march to Matamoros; however, the group ended up staying under James W. Fannin’s leadership. Ehrenberg recorded his account of Fannin’s actions and the subsequent battle of Coleto, where the Texan forces surrendered to Gen. José de Urrea. The Mexicans offered all Germans the opportunity to join the Mexican cause, but Ehrenberg stated that he considered himself a Texan and refused the offer. A week later he was one of a few men who escaped the Goliad Massacre. According to a translation of Ehrenberg’s own account, after the command to kneel and the start of the shooting, he jumped up and, hidden by the gunsmoke, dashed for the San Antonio River. On the way a Mexican soldier slashed him in the head with his saber, but Ehrenberg managed to get by him and jumped in the river crying, “The Republic of Texas forever!” For several days he traveled through the prairies, finding shelter in a couple of abandoned plantation houses along the way, but finally he reasoned that the only way to survive would be to surrender to General Urrea. Ehrenberg posed as a Prussian traveler seeking protection, and Urrea, admiring the boy’s daring action, took in the “little Prussian.” Ehrenberg was taken with Urrea’s troops to Matagorda, and after news of the battle of San Jacinto he eventually reached freedom. He was discharged from the Texas army on June 2, 1836. He was murdered by robbers on October 9, 1866, at Dos Palmas, near the site of present Palm Springs, California. Mineral City, Arizona, was renamed Ehrenberg in his honor.
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