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AUCTION 24

An Enigmatic Work

<p>Title page</p>


190.    

[HISTORIES]. Complete History of the Late Mexican War. Containing an Authentic Account of all the Battles Fought in that Republic Including the Treaty of Peace: With a List of the Killed and Wounded. Together with a Brief Sketch of the Lives of Generals Scott and Taylor. Illustrated with Fifteen Beautiful Engravings. By an Eye-Witness. New York: F.J. Dow & Co, 139 Nassau St., 1850. [1-13] 14-103 81-96 120-128 pp., fourteen woodcut text illustrations (all included in pagination). 8vo (22.5 x 15.3 cm), original red blind-embossed cloth, spine extra gilt. Spinal extremities chipped, joints weak, binding worn and with a few old ink spots; interior very good. Josiah S. Colgate’s pencil signature dated May 27, 1850 on front free endpaper. Rare in commerce.

First edition under this title, but made of up sheets from the anonymous 1848 Battles of Mexico. Haferkorn, p. 11.

Robert McCoy in his introduction to the 1965 Rio Grande Press reprint of Nathan Covington Brook’s 1849 Complete History of the Mexican War, to which this work is added as an appendix, was unable to discover the author. According to McCoy, the work contains the only casualty list of the Mexican War outside War Department files. Espinosa, in his introduction, believes the work to have been done by several hands, and deems it to be generally accurate.

One of the most enigmatic U.S. works about the war, the bibliography of which has never been satisfactorily explained, but one of the most useful. The author moves quickly through his subject, generally devoting only a few pages to each encounter. The most ink is spilled on the Battle of Monterrey, and one suspects the author was a participant. In general, because of the carnage described, the work is basically anti-war: “We present these pages to the public hoping the tragical scenes here described may deter others from imbibing a war spirit. We exhort them not to be influenced by the martial array, the din of battle and the clash of arms, and all the exciting paranalia [sic] of war” (p. [12]). 

($150.00-$300.00)

Auction 24 Abstracts

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