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Pingenot Auction, Lot 289

CHILE CON CARNE

289. SMITH, S. Compton. Chile Con Carne: or, The Camp and the Field. New York: Miller & Curtis, 1857. xvi, 404, 12 [publisher’s catalogue] [2 (ads) pp., engraved frontispiece, 6 engraved plates, engraved plan (Plan of the Battle of Buena Vista Fought February 22nd. & 23rd. 1847. 8vo, original red gilt pictorial cloth, a.e.g. The red gilt binding is the publisher’s special binding. Slight wear to extremities and edges, otherwise very fine and bright.
         First edition. Connor & Faulk, North America Divided 534: "Smith came to Texas and joined the 1st Regiment of Texas Volunteer Rifles, received an appointment as surgeon, and accompanied his unit through the Monterey campaign." Garrett, The Mexican-American War, p. 253. Hamilton, Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers 100: "[Engraver Jacob A. Dallas] was one of the early Harper’s Magazine artists. He was considerably influenced by Darley. Weitenkampf says, ‘The swing and vigor of his [Darley’s] style find a certain reflection in the drawings, somewhat exaggerated in strength, of Jacob A. Dallas.’ See also Groce and Wallace, p. 162." Sabin 83970. Tutorow 3237.
         The first chapters relate to the author’s sojourn in South Texas, before marching to Monterrey. Early in the book Smith sets the tone for the narrative: "What cared youthful blood whether the war were a righteous one or not. That was our country’s affair—not ours. And, with light hearts and bounding pulses, we left our homes to test the novelties of a first campaign, and embark in quest of wild adventures in that far-famed land" (page 3). Smith & Judah (Chronicles of the Gringos) include two excerpts from Chile con Carne. In the section on "Virtues and Defects of the Volunteers," they comment (pp. 42-43) that the author "delivered a balanced judgment on the virtues and defects of army volunteers, including the [Texas] Rangers. In the excerpt on "Gambling in the Camps" (pp. 310-22), Smith’s portrayal of the gambling dealers is described as "grim." Pingenot: Rare Mexican War narrative. Not in Decker, Eberstadt, Graff, Haferkorn, Howes, or Raines. The author gives an objective and accurate account of the campaign in northern Mexico, especially in regard to the participation of the Texas Rangers.
($
250-500)