Jean-Charles Houzeau’s Escape from Texas: A Belgian Astronomer Caught in the American Civil War

Christiaan Sterken

“In this work, which has been translated from its original French and annotated with figures, historical maps, and commentary from the translators, Jean-Charles Houzeau recounts his flight from Texas during the American Civil War. The work has been translated from its original French and annotated with these elements. Houzeau was a Belgian astronomer who moved to the United States after working for a couple of years as an assistant astronomer at the Brussels Observatory. Eventually, he settled there permanently. When the Civil War broke out, he was working as a frontiersman in Texas at the time. Due to the fact that he took an anti-slavery stance and assisted in the emancipation of slaves, he was forced to flee to Mexico, and from there, he traveled to New Orleans on board a military ship from the United States. Houzeau recounted the events of his escape from Texas in 1862 in a book that was initially titled “La terreur Blanche au Texas et mon’evasion.” The editors, who include an astronomer and a teacher of French, have included additional material in order to provide the readers with a deeper understanding of the story as well as more historical context for it.”