Dorothy Sloan – Books

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“He was friendly towards Mexicans as individuals, but critical of their society” (Tutorow)

<p>Title page</p>


[HISTORIES]. MCSHERRY, Richard. El Puchero; or, A Mixed Dish from Mexico, Embracing General Scott’s Campaign, with Sketches of Military Life, in Field and Camp, of the Character of the Country, Manners and Ways of People, etc. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co, Successors to Grigg, Elliott & Co., 1850. [2], [i] ii-xi [1, blank], [13] 14-247 [1, blank], [1] 2-12, 1-12, 1-6, [6] (all past p. 247 ads) pp., frontispiece, 5 engraved plates, folding engraved map (Battles of Mexico, Survey of the Line of Operations of the U.S. Army under the Command of Major General Winfield Scott...Made by Major Turnbull, Captain McClellan and Lieut. Hardcastle.... (23.2 x 16.0 cm). 8vo (19.2 x 13.5 cm), original dark brown embossed cloth, spine gilt lettered and decorated. Spinal extremities chipped, corners bumped; plates somewhat toned with offsetting, otherwise the interior is fine.

First edition. The bibliography of this work is unsettled. Sabin calls for 6 portraits and 6 plates; the Ben Pingenot copy contained 10 plates; other copies are known to contain 6 portraits, not present here. Garrett & Goodwin, p. 162. Haferkorn, p. 48: “Dr. McSherry served as a surgeon with the regiment of marines that formed part of Gen. Scott’s force from Vera Cruz to Mexico.” Sabin 43660. Tutorow 3658: “A series of letters to David Holmes Conrad written while the author was serving as a surgeon with the U.S. Marine Corps. Many descriptions and observations of McSherry’s experiences. He was friendly towards Mexicans as individuals, but critical of their society. Though this work contains the reminiscences of a surgeon, there is very little on medicine and diseases. The appendices contain accounts of the siege of Vera Cruz and Cerro Gordo, written by Conrad. The book contains a list of officers of the United States Army and volunteers who were engaged in the battles in the valley of Mexico.”

The work contains somewhat more medical content than Tutorow indicates, including this singular incident:

A young officer of marines was brought to the house, ill, dying; the “ministering angel” saw not her country’s enemy, but a suffering brother far from home and friends; she felt for the young and hapless wanderer; for the fond mother, who knew not her impending loss; for the tender sister, who looked with feelings, perhaps of exultation and pride, to the joyful day of her brother’s return; she saw the tears of dissapointment and grief; and she, a highborn and lovely Mexican woman, prepared with her own hands such little delicacies as only the skillful hand of gentle women can make acceptable to the perverted palate of the victim of disease. I had heard much of the kind-heartedness of Mexican women—here was a practical proof; and the lady’s frequent application to me to know what she could do, and what would be suitable, exposed the deep sensibility of her feeling heart. The youth died; and though far away from those who loved him best, he had at least the gentle ministering of this kind family; and soldiers’ tears accompanied the volleys that were fired over his grave (pp. 91-92).

A highly interesting and readable account of the war, recounted in forty-five letters written on the spot. McSherry (1817-1885) was a career physician, practicing medicine in Baltimore after he left the military.


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