[BIOGRAPHY]. SCRIBNER, Benjamin Franklin. A Campaign in Mexico by “One Who Was Thar”. Philadelphia: James Gihon, and for Sale by All Booksellers and Country Merchants South and West, 1850.   13-75 [1, blank], 1-8 (ads) pp., folding lithograph map: Battle of Buena Vista... [lower left below neat line]: Drawn by H.H. Green Lt. U.S. Army [lower right below neat line]: Engd. by E.F. Woodward Philadelpha. (24.5 x 38.5 cm). 8vo (23 x 15.5 cm.), original brown printed wrappers in modern marbled wrappers. Wrappers slightly soiled and with minor marginal wear, title lightly browned and offset, map with some offsetting, light water stain in upper margin of a few leaves. Generally a very good copy. Uncommon in commerce.
First edition, second issue. Except for the title page, this printing is from the same setting of type as the 1847 first edition (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; New Albany: J. R. Nunemacher. And for Sale by All Booksellers and Country Merchants South and West, 1847). Connor & Faulk 92. Garrett & Goodwin, 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” (Tutorow). This lively account, in the form of a diary, 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.”
The author fought at the Battle of Buena Vista and leaves an excellent description of that action. 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” (p. ).
Scribner (1825-1900) fought with an Indiana regiment and later saw action in the Civil War. His main employment was as a druggist, although he held various other positions as well, even having a government appointment in Alaska.