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AUCTION 22

 


The Battle of Monterrey—Texas Rangers & San Patricios


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394.     [MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR]. CURRIER, N[athaniel]. Third Day of the Siege of Monterey, Sept. 23rd. 1846 [below title] 494 [below image] Lith. & Pub. by N. Currier | Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1846 by N. Currier, in the Clerk’s office of the District Court of the Southern District of N.Y. | 152 Nassau St. cor. of Spruce N.Y. New York, 1846. Lithograph of battle scene with original hand coloring; neat line to neat line: 20.9 x 32.5 cm; image and imprint 22.4 x 32.5 cm; overall sheet size: 34.1 x 45.7 cm. Blank margins damaged (not affecting title, imprint, or image, except for one tiny tear at lower right into image about 1 cm). Professionally washed and mounted on archival paper, image very fine with excellent color retention. Matted, wooden frame, glazed. Rare.

     Conningham 6008. Gale, Currier & Ives: A Catalogue Raisonné 6476. Not in Garrett & Goodwin, The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848, Peters, Currier & Ives, etc. There is a very similar print by Sarony & Major (see Sandweiss, et al., Eyewitness to War, Figure 20, p. 29).

     The Siege of Monterrey was an early and pivotal encounter in the Mexican-American War. At the battle fighting for the Mexican forces under General Ampudia were the U.S. Irish-American deserters known as San Patricios. They were despised as traitors by the U.S. Army and the accompanying Texas Rangers. See Handbook of Texas Online: San Patricio Battalion.

     The Battle of Monterrey was the first major engagement in which the San Patricios fought against their former comrades in the U.S. Army. The Irishmen proved their artillery skills by mowing down many U.S. soldiers, and they are credited with defeating two or three separate assaults into the heart of the city. But the tide turned when the Texas Rangers devised a plan that led to victory. The Rangers’ stratagem is shown in this print. They threw a lit artillery shell into a building, shown in the foreground, with ensuing chaos. The atmosphere is sulphuric. This desperate scene shows Mexican forces congregated in the city plaza where they were trapped and bombarded by howitzers as rubble and smoke filled the air. At right, a Catholic priest holds a crucifix in the air in one hand. At his side are three men in green coats and straw sombreros, one of whom is firing a rifle. The priest with his other hand appears to be pointing with encouragement which way to fire. (The uniform of the San Patricios included green jackets and straw sombreros. This needs more research; artistic license is one thing; reality is another.) Two U.S. flags are aloft in dense smoke in the plaza. At that point General Ampudia decided it might be a good time to negotiate. Sandweiss comments on the same image by Sarony (p. 30): “It was indeed a most strange and novel scene of warfare.”

($250-500)

Sold. Hammer: $750.00; Price Realized: $900.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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