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Pingenot Auction, Lot 282

282. [SCRIBNER, Benjamin F.]. Camp Life of a Volunteer: A Campaign in Mexico, or a Glimpse at Life in Camp. By "One who has seen the Elephant." Philadelphia: Grigg, Elliot, and Co.; New Albany: J. R. Nunemacher. And for Sale by All Booksellers and Country Merchants South and West, 1847. [5]-75 [1, blank], 8 ads [Popular and Cheap Books, Particularly Suitable for Family Libraries] pp., folding engraved map: Battle of Buena Vista...Drawn by H. H. Green Lt. U.S. Army Engd. by E. F. Woodward Philadelphia (24.5 x 38.5 cm; 9-5/8 x 15-1/4 inches). 8vo, three-quarter near contemporary nineteenth-century smooth black calf over marbled boards, spine gilt lettered. Front pastedown slightly abraded where bookplates(?) were removed, contemporary ink number "234" on title, occasional mild to moderate foxing. Very good copy of a book seldom offered on the market.
         First edition. Connor & Faulk, North America Divided 92. Garrett, The Mexican-American War, p. 249. Haferkorn, p. 51. Howes S246. Palau 304216. Tutorow 3679: "Scribner was a private in the 2nd Regiment of Indiana Volunteers. His account begins July 11, 1846, and ends on July 3, 1847. He was discharged following the battle of Buena Vista. The map of the battle, by Lieutenant Henry Hall Green of the 3rd and 15th Infantry is regarded as one of the best." This lively account includes an excellent description of camp life on the lower Rio Grande in the Texas-Mexico borderlands—Brazos de Santiago, Camp Belknap (fourteen miles below Matamoros), Point Isabel, Burrita or Burita (nine miles up the Rio Grande), etc. See excerpts in Smith & Judah’s Chronicles of the Gringos (pp. 277-82), who comment on Scribner’s account: "He gave perceptive insights into the common soldier’s psychology—his pleasures and his discomforts."
         Pingenot: A rare work on the Mexican-American War, especially its coverage of the Battle of Buena Vista in which the author was a participant. He also provides an unvarnished volunteer’s view of officers: "Those who hold commissions have the best pay, the best fare, and all the honor. The private performs the work, endures the privation, and when the toils and sufferings of the campaign are over, forgetfulness folds him aside gracefully in her capacious mantle."