[WOOL, JOHN E.]. BAYLIES, Francis. A Narrative of Major General Wool’s Campaign in Mexico in the Years 1846, 1847, & 1848. Albany: Little & Co., 1851. [1-5] 6-78 pp., frontispiece. 8vo (23.5 x 15 cm), original yellow printed wrappers bound in later three-quarter sheep over cloth, spine gilt lettered, raised bands. Rubbed and chipped, upper hinge open. Pages 67/68 repaired (no loss), but otherwise wraps and contents very fine.
First edition. Garrett & Goodwin, p. 138. Haferkorn, p. 41. Howes B262. Sabin 4066. Tutorow 3380: “Traces the journey southward from San Antonio and describes the people, towns, geography, flora, and fauna along the way.”
Baylies clearly had access to official records and correspondence, from which he quotes liberally; he was not engaged in the war. He includes a long and somewhat grim account of the Battle of Buena Vista.
Among his remarks about Buena Vista, he includes a rare account of the actions of U.S. Army surgeons, a class normally ignored in descriptions of the war. He states: “During the 24th of February, the Americans were employed in burying the dead. The wounded Mexicans were cared for. Of the wounded Americans on the field, but few escaped the knives of Santa Anna’s butchers, who were far more expert in the shambles than in the battlefield. The surgeons obtained much credit. Alike brave and humane, they were found on the field, and even during the hottest of the fire, at the side of the wounded: their work completed, they flew to the ranks and did duty as soldiers, until called off to administer aid to the wounded. Heroes in the fight, philanthropists in the hospitals, they shrunk from neither duty; and of the 294 Mexican prisoners, 149 were in the hospital under their care” (p. 40).
Baylies (1783-1852) was a Massachusetts native who held several political offices, including terms in the U.S. House.