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The Conquest of California

<p>Title page</p>


[CALIFORNIA]. DU PONT, Samuel Francis. Extracts from Private Journal-Letters...While in Command of the Cyane, During the War with Mexico, 1846-1848. Printed for His Family. Wilmington, Del: Ferris Bros., Printers and Binders, 1885. [6], [1] 2-444 pp. 8vo (23.5 x 16 cm), contemporary three-quarter red sheep over mottled boards, marbled edges. Rebacked with gilt-lettered spine from another copy that was cracked vertically, hinges reinforced, sheep lightly rubbed, edge wear. Interior very fine. Rare. Only one copy at auction in the past thirty years.

First edition, from a press run of about fifty copies that were never offered for sale. Barrett 744. Eberstadt 132:173. Garrett & Goodwin, p. 207. Graff 1184. Hill 521. Howes D588. Streeter Sale 2991.

One of the most important accounts of the naval war in California. “These extracts from DuPont’s journal and letters, privately printed for his family by his wife after his death, are a valuable and almost unknown account of the United States Naval operations in the Pacific and Gulf of California in the Mexican War. After conveying Fremont and his battalion from Monterey to San Diego and participating in the taking of San Blas, DuPont entered the Gulf of California, seized La Paz, and at Guaymas burned the Mexican fleet. Within a few months, he had cleared the Gulf, and in 1847 aided Commodore Shubrick in the occupation of Mazatlan, and later led his ‘troops’ to the rescue of the American forces at Mission San Jose. DuPont’s official dispatches and letters had been printed at Wilmington in 1883, but these private journals and letters are of even greater interest” (Streeter). These documents, of course, present a far more relaxed and intimate tone than his official dispatches. For example, he includes this brief and blunt assessment: “I think the appointment of Fremont wrong and unnecessary” (p. 166).

Du Pont (1803-1865) was a career naval officer who went on to serve in the Civil War on the Southern blockade. He was relieved of his command after a failed attack on Charleston, South Carolina.


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