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Eduard Harkort left his home in Germany in 1828 to take a position as a mineralogist with a Mexican mining company organized to exploit the country’s silver and gold resources. He resigned in 1831 and the following year joined Santa Anna’s rebellion against the Bustamante government. He and Santa Anna were acquainted from previous meetings and by 1834 was commander of the artillery and engineers in the state militia. (Prior to leaving Germany he had served a year in an artillery unit of the Prussian army). When Santa Anna turned against the reforms made from the Bustamante administration Harkort joined the opposition army as commander of artillery. After his surrender at Zacatacas and subsequent imprisonment he became a staunch opponent of Santa Anna. Upon his release he moved to New Orleans where he anglicized his name and was recruited by Stephan F Austin for service in the Texian army. Sam Houston appointed him as Colonel, Chief Engineer of the Army, tasked with mapping and construction of fortifications. He fought in none of the battles for Texas Independence but his important contributions were the construction of Fort Travis on the east end of Galveston Island (not the later Fort Travis on Bolivar) and another fort at Velasco to protect against an anticipated second invasion by Mexico. Edward Harcourt contracted yellow fever and died at the residence of David Kokernot on San Jacinto Bay in today’s Wooster in September 1836. While mapping Galveston Bay from February 8 to July 17, 1836 he maintained a journal which was thought to have been destroyed in 1945. But over a century after it was written, Dr Louis E. Brister, Professor of German at Southwest Texas State University, discovered the journal in Hagen, Germany in the possession of a descendant and translated it into English.

The following entries describe his observations from June 11 to Jun 18. Lt. Stillwell was the West Point graduate manning the twin sisters at San Jacinto, Edwards Point is called San Leon today, Lorenzo de Zavala lived on the west side of Buffalo Bayou across from San Jacinto, Perkins Island has also been called Brown’s Island, Alexander Island and Busch Island, and New Washington was where Morgan’s Point is today.

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