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October 26, 2007

“A straight arrow in a time of many crooked ones”-Mathes

50. FILISOLA, Vicente. Memorias para la historia de la guerra de Tejas, por el General de División, D. Vicente Filisola, actual Presidente del Supremo Tribunal de Guerra y Marina de la República. Publicación del siglo diez y nueve.... Mexico: Imprenta de Ignacio Cumplido, Calle de los Rebeldes, número 2, 1849. 256, 267-511 [1 blank], [2, himno]; 267 [1 blank] pp. (several leaves in Vol. II misbound). 2 vols. in one, 8vo (23.2 x 15 cm), contemporary Mexican mottled calf ruled in gilt (neatly rebacked, preserving most of original gilt-lettered and decorated spine), contemporary brown and red marbled endpapers. Corners and edges of binding expertly renewed. Other than light uniform browning, interior very good. Modern book plate of José L. González, and with his blind-embossed stamp on lower corner of title.

            First edition of the Cumplido edition of Filisola’s memoirs (Rafael published an edition in Mexico in 1848 and 1849); the Cumplido edition provides the best coverage of the Battle of the Alamo and the 1836 campaign. Basic Texas Books 62: “The best account by a Mexican contemporary of the American conquest of Texas. Eugene C. Barker called it ‘the only comprehensive history of the colonization of Texas and the Texas Revolution from the Mexican point of view.’... The Rafael and Cumplido editions each stand on their own as separate works but complement each other so much that both are necessary to have a complete account.” Eberstadt, Texas 162:236. Howes F126. Palau 91612. Rader 1381. Raines, p. 82. Sabin 24324. Streeter 853n: “Filisola, in two quite different, especially in the Cumplido work, a much fuller account of the Texas campaign in 1836 and of the attempts of a Texas campaign in 1837.... The Cumplido imprint reports in detail upon the military operations from the taking of the Alamo in March 1836, to about August 1, 1837. The account for the period from the taking of the Alamo to shortly after the Battle of San Jacinto is much fuller than in...the Raphael imprint.... What Filisola calls the second campaign against Texas began in October, 1836, and is covered in the remaining pages, 397-511, of Volume I and the 267 pages of Volume II. This work printed by Cumplido is largely made up of army orders issued during the period.... One of the most important sources on Texas from the 1820s through 1837...enriched with scores of original documents and military orders unavailable elsewhere.”

            Filisola (1789-1850), a native of Italy who participated in many battles of the Napoleonic wars, came to Mexico in 1811, where he rapidly rose in the Mexican military because of his friendship with Iturbide. He received a colonization grant in Texas in 1831. In November 1835 he was appointed second in command to Santa-Anna on the Mexican campaign to crush the rebellious Texans. For more on Filisola, see Valentine J. Belfiglio, The Italian Experience in Texas (Austin: Eakin Press, 1983) and Handbook of Texas Online (Vicente Filisola).

            W. Michael Mathes sums up Filisola succinctly: “Filisola was a straight arrow in a time of many crooked ones. His memorias are, to me, about the best early Texana item from an historical viewpoint.” ($1,500-3,000)

Sold. Hammer: $1,600.00; Price Realized: $1,880.00

Auction 21 Abstracts

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