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THE TWELVE MONTHS VOLUNTEER
119. FURBER, George C. The Twelve Months
Volunteer; or, Journal of a Private in the Tennessee
Regiment of Cavalry, in the Campaign in Mexico, 1846-7;
Comprising Four General Subjects I. A Soldier's Life in
Camp; Amusements; Duties; Hardships; II. A Description of
Texas and Mexico, as Seen on the March; III. Manners,
Customs; Religious Ceremonies of the Mexicans; IV. The
Operations of All the Twelve Months Volunteers....
Cincinnati: J. A. & U. P. James, 1848. xii [1, blank]
14-624 pp., 20 wood-engraved plates and plans, three text
illustrations, folding engraved map: A New Map of
Mexico, California & Oregon Published by J.A. &
U.P. James, Cincinnati, 1848 (32.3 x 24.2 cm; 12-7/8 x
9-1/2 inches). Thick 8vo, original blind-stamped dark brown
gilt pictorial, gilt title and decoration on spine. Binding
worn, repaired, and cloth soiled, text foxed. Contemporary
gift inscription on front free endpaper dated June 15,
First edition. Connor & Faulk, North American Divided 80: "This is one of the best contemporary works. It emphasizes four topics: camp life, physical description of the country, manners and customs of Mexicans as Furber saw them, and military operations." Garrett, The Mexican-American War, p. 214: "Has been referred to as 'a veritable encyclopedia of the military and civil side of the war.'" Haferkorn, p. 44. Howes F420. Tutorow 3610: "One of the best contemporary accounts of Scotts campaign." Wheat (Mapping the Transmississippi West 546 & III, pp. 9-10) notes that the map is the same which appears in the book edition of Hughes' account of the Doniphan expedition, also published by J. A. and U. P. James (item 145 herein). However, the publishers note that the map has been "expressly corrected for this work."
The plates, after Furber's own drawings, are at once primitive and charming, including two of Texas interest (Camp Ringgold. Ten. Reg. Cavalry, Near Matamoras (sic); Plan of Matamoras (sic), and Vicinity, from the Survey by Captain M. A. Haynes... [locates on the north side of the Rio Grande, Fort Brown, Palo Alto, and Resaca de Palma, but mostly dense "Chapparal"]. Hamilton (Early American Book Illustrators 769) cites Furber's work and comments: "A practicing lawyer of Germantown, Tennessee, [Furber] determined, at the outbreak of the Mexican War, 'to throw aside Blackstone and Chitty and take up the sword and carbine.' He enlisted in Company G of the Tennessee Cavalry regiment and, as a result of his experiences, produced [this] book.... The drawings are distinctly amateurish but have some historical interest." Pingenot: The author, a soldier in Company G, gives an account of his march through Texas, as well as a fine description of camp life, hardships, customs of the Mexicans, etc. Although this work was republished in several later editions, the first edition is quite rare. No copies of the first edition have appeared at auction, and only two copies appear in the Morrison guides (the Pingenot copy being one of them).