TROOP OF TWENTY
TROOP OF TWENTY. In 1844, when Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, commissioner general of the Adelsverein, arrived in Texas to make the necessary arrangements for the society's proposed colonization effort, he found a sparsely settled, dangerous frontier subject to attack by Indians and other marauders. The Republic of Texas had not had a standing army since 1841, and although it paid a company of forty men to patrol 500 miles of the southern and southwestern border of Texas, Prince Solms did not believe that this company was strong enough to protect his colonists. Therefore in January 1845, at his headquarters at Chocolate Bayou, he organized from among the Germans in camp a troop of twenty young men, all of whom had been in Texas since 1833. The primary purpose of the troop was to protect the colonists on their journey inland and later at the colonization site. Solms discussed the German "Articles of War" and various serious duties, reminded the men that a German's handshake was as good as an oath, and received the handshake of each man. He was criticized by the Americans because he enlisted only Germans and by the Germans for promoting feudalism. Some of the troop rode with Solms to San Antonio and into the uninhabited west until they were stopped by Indians or white marauders. Thirteen men of the Troop of Twenty and officers of the colonization society met Solms at Seguin on his return trip from San Antonio. In March 1845 the first colonists safely crossed the Guadalupe with thirty-one wagons at the old San Antonio-Nacogdoches Road crossing and founded New Braunfels. Men of the troop were posted as guards around the settlement and on the other side of the Guadalupe where the supplies were unloaded. Solms, the troop's only commander, returned to Germany in May 1845. The Troop of Twenty ceased to exist after local government was established.
Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831–1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Chester William and Ethel Hander Geue, eds., A New Land Beckoned: German Immigration to Texas, 1844–1847 (Waco: Texian Press, 1966; enlarged ed. 1972). Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Texas, 1844–1845 (Houston: Anson Jones Press, 1936).