Landscape print of the site of a battle between the U.S. Army and the Mexican Cavalry on September 21-22, 1846, during the Mexican War. It is one of five prints from the Army Portfolio. The peaceful valley with the Sierra Madre mountain range in the distance is contextualized in the lower margin, which explains the significance of various sites. This is a two-tone lithograph in black and a yellow tan color; other examples of the print, including one in the collection of the Library of Congress, have some additional color.
The prints were made from drawings by U.S. Army Captain Daniel Powers Whiting when he served under General Zachary Taylor as the army advanced from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Monterrey, Mexico, and captured the city. Whiting, a talented artist as well as an officer had made many more drawings, but all but five were lost in a Mississippi River steamboat that sank. These were transferred to stone by the prominent lithographer Charles Parsons, and published as an edition of 24 in 1847; hence they are scarce today. After 2002, Whiting’s great-great-grandson donated an even rarer complete set of five prints to the Corpus Christi Libraries, which was appraised at $25,000. According to a June 2011 article in the Corpus Christi Caller, a book based on Whiting’s memoirs and lithographs is being readied for publication.
Daniel Powers Whiting was an 1832 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and trained there as a topographical artist. Following graduation he served in “Indian Territory” (Oklahoma) and in the Second Seminole War in Florida. In the summer of 1845 his regiment, the 7th U.S. Infantry, was sent to Texas to prepare for war with Mexico. During the Mexican War, he participated in the battles of Fort Brown, Monterrey, Veracruz and Cerro Gordo. In 1858, his regiment was sent to Utah to put down the “Mormon rebellion.” During the Civil War, he was no longer physically strong enough to fight, but served as commander at Fort Garland, Colorado and Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania. He retired at age 55 as a Lieutenant Colonel. Whiting is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Charles Parsons was a British-born artist who emigrated to America as a child. He painted in oil and watercolor as well as working in lithography. At age 12 he was apprenticed to the New York lithographer George Endicott, and was associated with Endicott & Company until 1861, when he became head of the art department of Harper & Brothers, where he remained until retirement in 1889. He was elected an Associate Member of the National Academy of Design in 1862 and also was a member of the New York Water Color Society. Parsons is perhaps best known for his role in helping to create the classic look of Currier & Ives’ popular lithographs, along with the artists Louis Maurer, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, Fanny Palmer, Thomas Worth and George Henry Durrie (Bonfante-Warren). He is also remembered as an influential figure in American illustration, mentoring Edwin Abbey, Howard Pyle and others while at Harper’s.
Through most of the 19th century, various members of the Endicott family operated firms in New York City specializing in lithography, engraving and printing, as well as the fine art and music business. The company was founded in 1828. George Endicott operated the concern under his own name from 1834 to 1844, and with William Endicott as G. & W. Endicott from 1845 to 1849. William continued the business under his own name after George’s death in 1849, joined by Francis Endicott in 1852. The last proprietor was George Endicott II, until 1896.
Full publication information: “D.P. Whiting Capt. 7th Inf. Del. On Stone by C. Parsons. Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1847 by D.P. Whiting in the Clerks Office of the district Court of the Southern district of New York. G. & W. Endicott Lith N.Y.”
Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified, with some light remaining toning, wear, soft creases. Few short marginal tears and chips professionally restored as backed on Japanese paper.
Bonfante-Warren, Alexandra. Currier & Ives: Portraits of a Nation. New York: Metro Books, 1998. pp. 9, 23-41, 49.
Givens, Murphy. “A soldier’s life: the story of Daniel P. Whiting.” Corpus Christi Caller. 15 June 2011. http://www.caller.com/news/2011/jun/15/a-soldiers-life-the-story-of-daniel-p-whiting/?print=1 (28 September 2011).
Peters, Harry T. America on Stone. U.S.: Doubleday, Doran, 1931. pp. 171-175, 308.
“Valley towards Saltillo, from near the base of ‘Palace Hill,’…” Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3g06196/ (28 September 2011).