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We Rested upon Our Oars

<p>Title page</p>


[UNITED STATES NAVY]. BRUELL, James D. Sea Memories: or, Personal Experiences in the U.S. Navy in Peace and War. By an Old Salt. Dedicated to the Officers and Sailors of the Mexican War. Biddeford Pool, [Maine]: Published by the Author, 1886. [1-3] 4-67 [1, blank] pp. 12mo (17.8 x 12 cm), original pale yellow printed wrappers, stitched. Spine neatly repaired, small scuff and stain on upper wrapper. Overall fine. Preserved in modern slipcase with blue morocco spine over blue cloth. Rare in commerce. No copies at auction in over thirty years.

First edition. Garrett & Goodwin, p. 195. Tutorow 3632.

Bruell recites his services in a charming, engaging, and often humorous manner. He served at Galveston, Veracruz, and during the Tampico blockade. An enlisted man, his narrative is written from a different point of view than those written by officers and other officials.

In one amusing instance, an attempt was made to capture or destroy Mexican gunboats in the Tampico river during a night raid. Things went awry, however, when one of the boats grounded and gave a lit signal, thereby alerting the nearby fort, which the author’s boat passed with little damage. In the confusion, however, the Mexicans started shelling each other: “Firing commenced from the gun-boats, the former thinking we had possession of the fort, and the latter thinking we had captured the gun-boats, and were firing to prevent our getting out with them. We rested upon our oars and let them blaze away at each other, their shot passing over our heads quite briskly” (p. 36).


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