Nebel’s Battle of Buena Vista, Securing Northeastern Mexico

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419. [MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR]. NEBEL, C[arl]. Battle of Buena Vista; [below image] C. Nebel fecit. | Bayot lith; [lower left in image within oval] Entered according to act of Congress. [New York: D. Appleton; Philadelphia: George Appleton; Paris: Plon Brothers, 1851.] Original full colored and toned lithograph on handmade paper, finished by hand applying gum arabic highlights (after art work by Nebel, printed and lithographed by Lemercier and Adolphe Jean Baptiste Bayot). Image area; 27.5 x 42.5 cm; overall sheet size: 40.5 x 55.7 cm. Mild to moderate foxing (heavier in margins), otherwise very good.

     First printing. The plate is from Kendall & Nebel’s folio book The War between the United States and Mexico Illustrated... (see Kendall herein for the complete album). Kurutz & Mathes, The Forgotten War, p. 195. Sandweiss, Stewart & Huseman, Eyewitness to War: Prints and Daguerreotypes of the Mexican War, 1846-1848, Plate 9 (p. 83), No. 38 (p. 163): “Kendall was not present at the battle and never visited the battlefield of Buena Vista, in a remote part of Northern Mexico. There is no evidence that Nebel visited the area either; that his rendering is so convincing is due to his artistic and research skills.... Kendall acknowledged his and Nebel’s particular debt to the account of the battle by Captain James H. Carleton of the First Dragoons. The moment Nebel chose to depict was one that Carleton saw as particularly momentous, ‘the moment when O’Brien was so gallantly striving to hold the Mexicans in check during their last attack upon the great plateau.... The obstinate holding out of O’Brien was deemed the most important of all the varied struggles which made up the battle of Buena Vista.... By the time O’Brien’s guns finally were captured, nearly all his battery had been killed or wounded. But they held on just long enough: Bragg, Davis, and Lane and their troops arrived to repel this last Mexican assault.”

     After the Battle of Monterrey, most of Taylor’s army was ordered to the Gulf Coast to bulk up the expedition to Mexico City by Major General Scott. Stung by President Polk’s rebuke regarding the Battle of Monterrey, “Old Rough and Ready” ignored Polk depriving him of more military success, by ordering Taylor to stay in Monterrey. Instead Taylor marched to the present battle about twelve miles from Saltillo and seized the area based on intelligence from Ben McCulloch and his Texas Rangers. The U.S. force consisted of about 11,000 green, volunteer soldiers. The Battle of Buena Vista, also known as the Battle of Angostura, left the U.S. forces in control of northeastern Mexico. Taylor won the Presidency in 1848 based in part on this stunning victory.


Sold. Hammer: $400.00; Price Realized: $490.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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