[HISTORIES]. DAWSON, Henry Barton. Battles of the United States by Sea and Land: Embracing Those of the Revolutionary and Indian Wars, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War; with Important Official Documents...Illustrated with Numerous Highly-Finished Steel Engravings, Including Battle Scenes and Full-Length Portraits, -From Original Paintings by Alonzo Chappel. New York: Johnson, Fry & Company, 97 Beekman-Street, 1858. 2 vols. Vol. I: [1-3] 4-746 pp., added title page, 17 plates; Vol. II: , [1-3] 4-530, pp., added title page, 22 plates. 4to (28 x 22 cm), contemporary three-quarter tan sheep over plum cloth, raised bands, gilt-lettered spines. Binding faded and slightly worn, both upper hinges starting. Text and plates are fine, with plates in strong, dark impressions. A book rarely found in good condition and complete.
First edition. Sabin 18931: “Published by subscription, in parts.” Tutorow 3383.
Vol. II chapters 99-107 cover the Mexican-American War. The narrative opens with Thornton’s Skirmish and closes with Scott’s campaign, the treaty and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Mexico. The last paragraph of the text is a strong condemnation of both the war and its effects (p. 530).
The text is by turns mundane and engaging. In contrast, the engravings are extremely well done and often compelling. Eight of them illustrate the Mexican-American War, including four strong portraits of important American officers. The requisite depiction of Ringgold’s death is included, indicating the effect his death had on the popular mind over a decade after the event. “Battle of Cerro Gordo” particularly captures the chaos of hand-to-hand combat as U.S. troops overrun a Mexican cannon position.
Dawson (1821-1889) was originally from England. He was an historian and newspaper man. Artist Chappel (1828-1887) was a well-known genre painter who did many historical paintings and was one of the best-known painters of his era. The works depicted herein were apparently done on commission from the publisher.
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