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“First book about the Texas Rangers” (Dykes)

<p>Title page</p>


[TEXAS RANGERS]. REID, Samuel Chester, Jr. The Scouting Expeditions of McCulloch’s Texas Rangers; Or, The Summer and Fall Campaign of the Army of the United States in Mexico—1846; Including Skirmishes with the Mexicans, and an Accurate Detail of the Storming of Monterey; Also, The Daring Scouts at Buena Vista; Together with Anecdotes, Incidents, Descriptions of Country, and Sketches of the Lives of the Celebrated Partisan Chiefs, Hays, McCulloch, and Walker. By Samuel C. Reid, Jr. Late of the Texas Rangers and Member of the Bar of Louisiana. Philadelphia: G.B. Zieber and Co., 1847. [1-5] 6-251 pp., 12 engraved plates, double-page engraved map (included in pagination as pp. 145-148). 12mo (19.2 x 12.7 cm), original publisher’s brown blind-stamped cloth, title in gilt on spine. Slightly cocked and text with mild to moderate foxing throughout, plates toned, but generally fine, with author’s ink presentation: “To Miss Mary Scoville-with the compliments of the Author. Jany 6, 1854”


[Untitled map of the Battle of Monterrey, September 20-24, 1846] [Upper right beneath neat line] Drawn by Lieut. Geo. Meade, U.S. Topographical Engineers. 14.5 x 18.5 cm.


[1] Captain McCulloch, from a Daguerreotype by J. McGuire, New Orleans. 10 x 7 cm. Frontispiece.

[2] General Taylor, from a Drawing by the Celebrated French artist, Auguste Chatillon, of New Orleans. 14 x 9 cm.

[3] The Abduction.—p. 87. 11.5 x 8.5 cm.

[4] Colonel Jack Hayes, from a Daguerreotype by Noeselle, New Orleans.—p. 108. 10.2 x 8.7 cm.

[5] View of Marin. Advance of the American Army.—p. 133. 7.4 x 10.2 cm.

[6] Cavalry Charge on the Morning of the 21st.—p. 156. 7.5 x 12.2 cm.

[7] Storming of Federation Hill and Fort Soldada.—p. 162. 7.4 x 12.3 cm.

[8] Storming of Fort Teneria, by the Mississippians and Tennesseans.—p. 176. 7.2 x 12 cm.

[9] Taking of the Bishop’s Palace.—p. 185. 7.3 x 12.2 cm.

[10] Captain Walker, from a Daguerreotype by J. McGuire, New Orleans.—p. 188. 9 x 8.2 cm.

[11] Street Fight on General Worth’s Side.—p. 192. 7.3 x 12.3 cm.

[12] View of the Bishop’s Palace, from a Drawing by Lieut. J. P. McCown, 4th Artillery.—p. 225. 7.4 x 12.2 cm.

First edition of “the first book about the Texas Rangers” (Dykes). Basic Texas Books 170. Kurutz & Mathes, p. 161. Clark, Old South III:390. Connor & Faulk 519. Dobie, p. 60. Dykes, Western High Spots (“Western Movement—Its Literature”), p. 13; (“My Ten Most Outstanding Books on the West”), pp. 22-23 & 25; (“Ranger Reading”), p. 117. Field 1271. Garrett & Goodwin, p. 142. Graff 3451. Haferkorn, p. 49. Howes R175. Raines, p. 172. Sabin 69088. Tutorow 3391. Vandale 141. On Reid, see DAB (Samuel Chester Reid).

Reid’s work practically invented the mythology of the Texas Rangers as hard-riding, individualistic, daring, resourceful, and fearless fighters. As a member of that group during the War, he proved to have those very qualities and rehearses here his participation in many of the actions that so distinguished the Rangers. His work helped propel John Coffee Hays (1817-1883), Benjamin McCulloch (1811-1862), and Samuel Hamilton Walker (1817-1847) to national fame. Based on Reid’s diary, it covers June-October, 1846, as a first-person account with information about later actions during the War taken from secondary sources.

Although not from Texas and with obviously few personal scores to settle with the Mexican populace, Reid, nevertheless, enters fully into the attitudes and actions of his newly found brethren. After a meeting with Mexican General Ampudia following the Battle of Monterrey, Reid observes that Ampudia had “little shrewd, cunning black eyes, indicative of deceit, intrigue, and libertinism.... There was nothing in his manners prepossessing or pleasing, but, on the contrary, we became disgusted with the man, and felt he was a villain, a tyrant, and a coward” (p. 212). This is an attitude towards Mexicans that seems to have hardened as the War progressed. At Matamoros, for example, just after he entered Mexico, Reid states that an old Frenchman’s daughter is “far superior to any Mexican woman we had yet met” (p. 27), but at a wedding and fandango that night he does seem favorably impressed with Mexicans in general, noting especially, in that repressed Victorian way, that with Mexican women, “The most beautiful feature about them is their pretty feet” (p. 28). By the time he reaches Reynosa, where they camp for several days, his attitude towards the populace is becoming more jaded. In his description of a “chicken race,” won by Ranger Clinton DeWitt, his glee at the discomfiture of a Mexican “greaser” is evident (pp. 59-60). As much as this work is the story of the Texas Rangers, it is also of surpassing interest as the story of a transplanted Yankee who became in spirit, thought, and deed one of them, as well.

The engraved plates are of Texas interest because of the portraits of Texas Rangers McCulloch, Hays, and Walker and the plate “The Abduction,” which depicts the capture of Matilda Lockhart by Comanches in 1838 at DeWitt’s Colony on the Guadalupe River near Gonzalez, Texas. The remainder of the plates depict battles and Mexican scenes.

Reid (b. 1818), a Connecticut native, went to sea in his teens before settling in Natchez, Mississippi, where he was a prominent lawyer. His only military service was in the Mexican-American War, during which he served meritoriously with the Texas Rangers. In addition to being a lawyer, he also was the author of various legal works, his first such volume being published in 1842. He did not participate in the Civil War as a combatant but was a well-known military correspondent for several Southern newspapers. After the Civil War, he resumed his law practice and wrote several more historical works.


Sold. Hammer: $1,100.00; Price Realized: $1,347.50.

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