"WRITTEN IN LETTERS OF FIRE": DUYCKINCK'S HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR, WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS AFTER CHAPPEL AND NAST
(CIVIL WAR) DUYCKINCK, Evert A. National History of the War for the Union, Civil, Military and Naval. New York: Johnson, Fry, (1861, 1868). Three volumes. Quarto, publisher's three-quarter brown morocco gilt, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands. $2200.
Mixed first and early editions of Duyckinck's massive three-volume contemporary Civil War history, with engraved frontispieces, title pages and over 75 illustrations engraved from paintings by Alonzo Chappel and Thomas Nast, from the library of contemporary American historian Carlos Slafter, a handsome set uniformly bound in publisher's three-quarter morocco gilt.
Written by Melville's friend and patron, these three volumes provide valuable, in-depth, contemporary accounts, drawn from official documents and first-hand narratives, of the war years. At his work's conclusion, Duyckinck reflects, "It is hardly needed to point to [this record's] moral. That is written in letters of fire in the disasters of the period, and in the utter ruin of the gigantic revolt… Enough, surely, is here recorded to warn faction, in future, of its crime and danger, and to strengthen with an invincible resolve for the preservation of the Nation, the hearts of all true patriots and lovers of their country…" The text is illustrated by finely engraved portraits of most Civil War generals as well as vivid battle scenes "Chappel's talents were ideally suited to historical illustration and his pictures reveal the results of painstaking research… Chappel may be said to rank, in skill and reputation, second only to Felix Octavius Carr Darley among American illustrators of the mid-19th century" (ANB). Nast, despite his early training as a historical painter, came to be known best as "the father of American political cartooning." Copyright dates of 1861 (II), 1861 (III), 1868 (I). Dornbusch III:188. Sabin 21497. Nicholson, 253. Each volume with owner signatures of Carlos Slafter.
Interiors generally fresh with light scattered foxing, scarce and very attractive in publisher's three-quarter morocco.