Rare Large-Format Print of the Siege of Puebla

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430. [MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR]. SHANNON, J[ames] T[homas]. Siege of Puebla, Began Sept. 13th. ended Oct. 12th. 1847; [below image] A B C D E F | From a Drawing on the Spot by J.T. Shannon. | G. Warren Smith. Direxet | Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1850 by J.T. Shannon in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Western Pennsylvania. | Lith. & Printed in Colors by Sarony & Major N. York;[below main title] Position of the American Troops, American force 384 Men, Col. Thos. Childs Military and Civil Governor. | Mexican force, 8000, Men, Commanded by Genl. Santa Anna. | Published by G. Warren Smith & Co. for J.T. Shannon; [below neat line] [two lettered keys to left and right of title, first identifying locations and second identifying regiments]. New York, 1850. Chromolithograph on maize ground, in black, shades of grey, white highlights (hectic, smoky battle scene including dead and injured, with fine rendering of architecture and landscape, U.S. flag flying on a building at right). Image dimensions: 33.5 x 51.7 cm; overall sheet size including title and text: 40.7 x 51.7 cm. Trimmed close to image and text area. Waterstained at right quadrant. Top edge has closed tears and some small voids (filled). The lower edge in text area has been expertly reattached. Light uniform browning. No copies located on OCLC, but held by Amon Carter and Aztec Club (the Amon Carter copy may be the Aztec Club copy, as the latter deaccessioned many items some years ago).

     The Siege of Puebla began the same day Mexico City fell to General Major Winfield Scott and lasted for twenty-eight days, when a relief force was able to fight its way into the city and lift the siege. The siege was the last significant threat to U.S. forces in central Mexico. Sandweiss, Stewart & Huseman,  Eyewitness to War: Prints and Daguerreotypes of the Mexican War, 1846-1848, pp. 347-350, Entry No. 160 (illustrated p. 348). For more on the permutations of the Sarony lithographic firm, see Peters, America on Stone, see pp. 350-355, where Peters rates the firm’s Chapultepec print as their most important, but does not mention this one. This view is based on a less detailed sketch made by Shannon during the siege of Puebla. It depicts the siege that was begun by the Mexicans on the small contingent of U.S. troops left behind to secure Puebla. The lithographer has added many details and somewhat rearranged others in an effort to portray more of the scene than would actually have been visible. On the whole, however, the rendition is considered fairly accurate and is probably one of the few, if not the only, depiction done from behind U.S. lines by an eye-witness. See preceding entry.

     Artist Shannon enrolled in late 1846 in the U.S. Army and came ashore in Mexico at Veracruz with Scott’s Army. He was at the Battle of Cerro Gordo and the Siege of Puebla. He was promoted to corporal and discharged from the Army at Pittsburgh in 1848. He died on September 12, 1862, of wounds received at the second Battle of Bull Run (August 30, 1862). Shannon’s original sketchbook from his Mexican-American War service is at the University of Texas at Arlington.


Sold. Hammer: $2,000.00; Price Realized: $2,450.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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