Dorothy Sloan -- Books

AUCTION 22

 

American Star Imprint with Hardcastle Map

“Foraging on the enemy”—Spell


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404.     [MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR]. UNITED STATES. ARMY. Official List of Officers Who Marched with the Army under the Command of Major General Winfield Scott, from Puebla upon the City of Mexico, the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth of August, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty-Seven, and Who Were Engaged in the Battles of Mexico. Mexico: American Star Print, 1848. [24] pp., two printed errata slips pasted to title verso, lithograph military map on thin wove paper: Battles of Mexico Survey of the Line of Operations of the U.S. Army, under the Command of Major General Winfield Scott on the 19th. & 20th. of August & 8th. 12th. & 13th. Septr. 1847. Made by Major Turnbull, Captain McClellan & Lieut. Hardcastle, Topol. Engineers. Drawn by Lieut. Hardcastle, neat line to neat line: 23.6 x 15.9 cm. Oblong 4to (20 x 26.6 cm). Lacking wraps, title wrinkled, creased where formerly folded, a few stains to text, one small void on final leaf (loss of a few letters) overall a good copy, with the map that is usually absent.

     First edition. Connor & Faulk 211. Eberstadt 106:212: “The original issue of the famous production of the ‘American Star Press.’ Printed in the field upon the types and press of the Army of Occupation.” Garrett & Goodwin, The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848, p. 131. Haferkorn, p. 54 (citing one of the four photostatic copies made by the Library of Congress, August, 1912, from the original loaned by Brig. Gen. B.K. Roberts). Harper 110:1037: “Excessively rare”; 163:135: “This is probably the most interesting piece printed by the American Star Press, the military press established by General Scott after entering Mexico City.” Howell 52:233. Howes S243: “Printed on the occupying army’s own press.” Kurutz & Mathes, The Forgotten War, p. 179: “Compiled by command of Major General Scott and dated February 7, 1848, the list is divided into columns giving name, corps, when and where employed (which included battles fought in), and remarks. The remarks column noted if the officer had been killed or wounded. The ‘Battles of Mexico’ depicts the theater of war in and around Mexico City.” Ramos 3148. Sabin 56771: “Among the names omitted and put in the errata, was that of George B. McClellan.”

     This publication is a detailed look at the actions and fates of the officers who were in Scott’s army. As is often noted, it is a Who’s Who of officers who later served in the Civil War, such as Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, U.S. Grant, Stonewall Jackson, and many others. The map was often recycled, and with some alterations, folded, uncolored, and on thin paper was included in U.S. government documents, e.g., Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress, at the Commencement of the First Session of the Thirtieth Congress (Executive Document 1, 1847). Mexican lithographer Salazar also issued versions of maps like this one in Mexico. The map also appeared as a separate issue on thick paper (see Garrett & Goodwin, The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848, p. 429, last entry on page). Finally, the map was reduced and recycled for publications such as Richard McSherry’s El Puchero (Philadelphia, 1850) and Raphael Semmes, Service Afloat and Ashore during the Mexican War (Cincinnati, 1851).

     This imprint, as noted above, is alleged to have been printed on a portable press by the U.S. Army of Occupation in Mexico City. Despite these assertions, little evidence exists to suggest that the piece was printed on an army press. In fact, Lota M. Spell seems to demonstrate fairly decisively that almost all of the publications published by U.S. citizens and soldiers that appeared in Mexico from 1846 to 1848 were in fact produced by captured Mexican printing equipment, a practice Spell characterizes as “foraging on the enemy”; see p. 25, “The Anglo-Saxon Press in Mexico, 1846-1848” in The American Historical Review, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 1 (Oct., 1932). Edwin H. Carpenter, Jr. in “Army Field Printing in the New World,” PBSA 50.2 (1956), pp. 169-180 states: “Wherever the American forces went, including Mexico City, there was an output of printed matter, particularly newspapers, but as yet I have found no evidence of the use of field presses. Apparently captured or hired local presses were used, and the work done by civilian camp-followers or former soldiers who had remained with the army after their discharge” (p. 174). Certainly the lithograph map was not printed on a portable army press.

($500-1,000)

 

Auction 22 Abstracts

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