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Texas Lithograph of the Gulf Squadron at Point Isabel

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403.     [MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR]. TAYLOR, Fitch W[aterman]. The Broad Pennant: or, A Cruise in the United States Flag Ship of the Gulf Squadron, during the Mexican Difficulties; Together with Sketches of the Mexican War, from the Commencement of Hostilities to the Capture of the City of Mexico. Rev. Fitch W. Taylor, A.M., U.S.N…. New York: Leavitt, Trow, & Co., 191 Broadway, 1848. [1-3] 4-415 [1, blank], [2], [1] 2-6, [8] 9-14 [1] pp., folding lithograph frontispiece: The United States Squadron Landing its Seamen & Marines, at the Brazos de Santiago May 8, 1846 [key to vessels and locations above lower neat line] Lawrence. John Adams. Raritan. Battle Ground. Somer. Cumberland. Point Isabel. Potomac [below lower neat line and above title] F. Michelin. 111 Nassau St. New York. [after title] (See Page 163), neat line to neat line: 15.4 x 35 cm; image and title: 16.3 x 35 cm; overall sheet size: 19 x 37.5 cm. 12mo (19.5 x 12.4 cm), original blind-stamped brown cloth, gilt pictorial spine. Spine ends expertly repaired, blank corners of pp. 181-184 wanting (no loss of text). Overall a very good copy, the frontispiece professionally restored and very fine. Contemporary ink presentation on front flyleaf: “Helen A. Temple from her Brother Charles. Christmas. 1847” and modern printed bookplate of James Torr Harmer on front pastedown. Scarce, and seldom found with the frontispiece.

     First edition, although the presentation may indicate the volume was available before the date on the title page. Eberstadt, Mexican War 857: “One of the few descriptions of the naval operations of the war.” Garrett & Goodwin, The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848, p. 170. Haferkorn, p. 74. Kurutz & Mathes, The Forgotten War, p. 174. Palau 328458. Sabin 94455. Sandweiss, et al., Eyewitness to War, p. 104, note 5. Tutorow 3366. Not in Howes or Raines (the latter of whom cites Taylor’s article in Harper’s on p. 199, but does not mention the present work).

     This account of U.S. Navy operations in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Texas, written by the Chaplain of the U.S. flagship Cumberland, offers interesting material on the day-to-day life of the ordinary seaman. The lithograph frontispiece showing the congregation of U.S. Navy vessels on the Texas coast is listed in Ron Tyler’s unpublished work on nineteenth-century lithographs of Texas, in which he comments: “Although there is no artist’s name on the print, it is probably after a description provided by the Rev. Fitch W. Taylor…. Perhaps Taylor even provided a sketch for the lithographer. The print depicts five Navy frigates and two steam paddle wheelers, along with several lesser vessels, off Point Isabel and Brazos de Santiago.”

     Rev. Taylor (1803-1865) joined the crew of the Cumberland as Chaplain just before she sailed from Boston for South America, where she called at various ports, including Veracruz, before the war began. She arrived off Brazos de Santiago just in time to witness the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, the smoke from which could be seen onboard the ship. A victorious Taylor called for ships to send reinforcements to Point Isabel; the frontispiece depicts the landing of those troops. After Taylor invaded Mexico itself, the Cumberland sailed for Veracruz, where she participated in the siege, which is described in some detail. The book ends with news of Mexico City’s surrender: “What the continuance of this war shall yet develop, none but a higher Prescience knows. We leave it then in its undeveloped and uninviting future, with proud exultation for the triumph of American arms, but with a sorrowful heart in view of the whole story of this contest between the two sister Republics” (p. 415, original emphasis).


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

Auction 22 Abstracts

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