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Item 209 - Vicente Filisola Catalog 408 (May 2013)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $5,000.00
Sold Price: $27,584.40 (includes buyer's premium)


Extremely rare book: Evacuation of Texas: Translation of the Representation Addressed to the Supreme Government by Gen. Vicente Filisola, In Defence of his Honor, and Explanation of his Operations as Commander-In-Chief of the Army Against Texas. Second edition, being the only printed edition in English (first published in Mexico in 1836). Columbia: G. and T. H. Borden, 1837. Hardcover, 5.75 x 8.5, 68 pages. Two ownership signatures, “E. M. Pease” appear on the title page, with one more signature appearing on the first page. Autographic condition: Good to very good, with moderate creasing, toning and soiling to title page, paper loss to fore edges of opening pages. Book condition: Beautifully rebound in red leather with gilt titles and emblem; covers, new marbled endpapers, and binding in NF condition. Original textblock in G+ condition, with heavy dampstaining and foxing throughout, soiling, scattered creasing, and paper loss at fore-edge of first several pages.

This is the first English language edition of an extraordinarily important account of General Vicente Filisola, Santa Anna’s second in command–and one of perhaps ten first copies known to exist. Printed in 1837, it’s believed to be the first book published in the Republic of Texas. Filisola penned his account four months after the Battle of San Jacinto in an effort to enter his perspective into the historical record and vindicate his honor. His narrative—critical of Santa Anna—was of great interest to Texans. A print run of 300 was expedited at the public expense under the direction of the Texas House of Representatives following President Sam Houston’s November 23, 1836, message recommending that an English translation be published. Houston was following the advice of his Secretary of State Stephen F. Austin. Days earlier, Austin had obtained a first edition of the Spanish language edition and firmly believed in the book’s "importance to the public interests" since it accurately accounted “the history of the military movements and views of the enemy during the invasion…last spring.” The translation was rendered by George Louis Hammeken, a friend of Austin who was by his side at the time of his death in December 1836. According to this account, Santa Anna was captured at San Jacinto, and his second in command, Vicente Filisola, was tasked with withdrawing Mexican forces from Texas. Filisola carried out Santa Anna's orders to retreat and evacuated San Antonio, essentially "ratifying" the Treaties of Velasco, according to the Republic of Texas. Filisola subsequently received instructions from the Mexican government on May 28 to preserve conquests already made; but by this time, his army had already crossed the Nueces. Upon receiving the government's order, he offered to return to San Antonio, but because of the poor condition of his troops, the retreat continued to Matamoros. José de Urrea took over in general command and Filisola retired to Saltillo, resigning his own command to Juan José Andrade.

With Texas’s triumph, Filisola was accused of cowardly and traitorous activities, and he faced formal charges upon returning to Mexico. Glossing over his own role in the defeat at San Jacinto, Santa Anna remained steadfast in blaming Filisola, basing his accusations on the fact that Filisola's pre-battle dispatches were captured by Sam Houston's men. The Robert Davis Collection. RR Auction COA.

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