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“Squaw Killer” Harney

Hanged Some San Patricios

<p>Title page</p>


[BIOGRAPHY]. [HARNEY, WILLIAM SELBY]. REAVIS, Logan Uriah. The Life and Military Service of Gen. William Selby Harney. St. Louis: Bryan, Brand & Co., Publishers, 1878. [2], [i-iii] iv-xvi, [17] 18-477 [1-blank] pp., 3 steel engraved plates (including frontispiece), 22 full-page woodcut text illustrations (included in pagination). 8vo (22 x 15.5 cm), original grey cloth stamped in gilt and black. Some abrasions to spine and corners, slight edge wear, front hinge open (but holding). Light foxing to plates. Ink ownership stamp of Raus A. Smith on front flyleaf. Overall very good.

First edition. Garrett & Goodwin, p. 244. Graff 3435: “A long and interesting life, much of which was spent in the Far West.” Howes R102. Nicholson, p. 696. Rader 2770. Tutorow 3938: “Excellent treatment of Harney’s career in the Mexican-American War as a brigadier general of Dragoons.... Adulatory, often gossipy, but generally accurate.” Flake 6830a: “Harney was in command of the Utah Expedition briefly from May 27, 1858 to September, 1858. The author claims that he planned to hang the Mormon leaders and winter in the temple.”

Harney’s Mexican-American War services are covered in chapters 7-11. Originally assigned to Scott’s command, that situation degenerated to the point that Harney was court-martialed. Once peace was restored between the two, Harney went on to perform brave deeds on the march to Mexico City, including the Battle of Cerro Gordo. One not-so-brave deed was the hanging of the San Patricios, about which Reavis relates this obscure detail: “The unpleasant duty of hanging the twenty doomed men devolved on General Harney.... The place of execution was in sight of the castle, and where they could see and hear the terrible struggle. Seeing the place would soon fall, he ordered the Mexican flag to come down and the American colors run up. The prisoners, hearing him give this order, raised a shout because few believed Chapultepec pregnable, or that it could easily be taken” (pp. 239-240).

Harney (1800-1889) served in both the Seminole and Black Hawk wars. After the Mexican-American War, he followed Worth as a commander of an area in the West that included much of Texas. He finished his career with various posts in the West, where he earned his moniker, being relieved of command during the Civil War after the tumults in Missouri.

The author (1831-1889) was a Midwestern newsman and historian who sought to promote emigration to the area.


Sold. Hammer: $300.00; Price Realized: $367.50.

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