WISLIZENUS, Frederick (1810-1889). Memoir of a Tour to Northern Mexico, Connected with Col. Doniphan’s Expedition, in 1846 and 1847. Washington: Tippin & Streeper, Printers, 1848. 30th Congress, 1st Session, Miscellaneous no. 26.

$ 675.00

8vo., (9 x 5 ¾ inches). 2 fine folding lithographed maps, and folding profile of the route from Independence to Chihuahua via Santa Fe and El Paso (one medium tear along fold, one or two short tears, slight offsetting). Modern marbled paper boards in antique style, red morocco lettering piece with gilt title to spine.

First edition, Senate issue. “The original printing of an indispensable source for anyone researching the Mexican War” (Tutorow 1761). “The first map (the journey map) of considerable value…a number of routes to New Mexico and across Texas are shown, and Doniphan’s campaign is carefully followed from Independence, through New and Old Mexico to the camp of June 2nd, 1847…near the mouth of the Rio Grande” (Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, III, pp. 53-54). In 1846 Wislizenus, a German doctor, left his practice in St. Louis for one of his periodical expeditions. His intention was “to gather information on the geography and natural history of northern Mexico and California.”

Shortly after he started down the Santa Fe Trail in May, however, war broke out with Mexico. He accompanied a caravan of wagons belonging to trader Albert Speyer, who was transporting two wagonloads of arms and ammunition ordered by the governor of Chihuahua. The train was consequently pursued a considerable distance down the trail by a detachment of U.S. dragoons. At Santa Fe, Wislizenus obtained a safe-conduct pass from the New Mexican governor and then traveled south along the Chihuahua Trail, passing through El Paso del Norte and arriving in the city of Chihuahua on 24 August. Because of his gathering of plant specimens and other scientific data in and near the city, Wislizenus was suspected of being a spy. He was later refused permission to leave the state and was held along with several American merchants at the village of Cusihuiriáchic, approximately ninety miles to the west, until 3 March 1847, after U.S. troops under Colonel Alexander Doniphan had taken Chihuahua. “Abandoning his planned visit to California, Wislizenus took a position as assistant surgeon with Doniphan’s force, traveling with the army on its return to the United States via Saltillo, Monterrey, Matamoros, and New Orleans, arriving in St. Louis in early July. Despite the various difficulties of the trip, he brought back much important information on the physical character of the Southwest and Mexico. His journal, along with his meteorological tables, maps, and a botanical appendix prepared from his specimens by Engelmann, was published by the U.S. Senate in 1848 as ‘Memoir of a Tour to Northern Mexico, Connected with Col. Doniphan's Expedition, in 1846 and 1847’” (Mark L. Gardner for ANB). Howes W597. Plains & Rockies IV:159:1. Raines, p. 221. Rittenhouse 656. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 701 & III, pp. 10 & 143.