March 11, 2010

The (2nd) Most Expensive Civil War Book

While doing some mindless book surfing through the internet the other night, I decided to find out what was the most expensive Civil War book currently offered for sale at AbeBooks (ABE). Using "Civil War" as a keyword search, I had to wade past all manner of antique prints, maps, artwork, manuscript material, etc., before finding my answer. Actually, the most expensive book offered was Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook, which I covered in a previous post.

After that, we get Cavalry Tactics, or Regulations for the Instruction, Formations and Movements of the Cavalry of the Army and Volunteers of the United States with an asking price of $8500. Admittedly, I've never heard of it, though I'm sure some of our cavalry experts have and perhaps can fill us in on its importance. (Eric?)

This copy is two volumes bound in one and is described as a good copy, in original condition. It is housed in a paper chemise and cloth slipcase within a pigskin slipcase. Further described as a Texas and Civil War rarity that bears a pencil inscription on the inside of the front wrapper: "D.F. Boyd, used in Confederate Army 1864." The book is described by the seller as "the rare Houston edition of the handbook of cavalry tactics that was used by both the Union and Confederate cavalry during the Civil War. It was written by Philip St. George Cooke, initially published in 1861, and then subsequently revised in 1862. The text is very thorough, covering all aspects of cavalry tactics and techniques. Cooke had a long military career, graduating from West Point in 1827, and he participated in the Black Hawk War and the Mexican War. He served as a U.S. Army observer during the Crimean War, and learned much about European cavalry tactics. He was a general in the Union Army during the Civil War, and is considered the father of the American cavalry. Interestingly, Cooke's son-in-law was Confederate Cavalry general J.E.B. Stuart, and Cooke's son, John Rogers Cooke, was a brigade commander in the Army of Northern Virginia. This very rare Houston edition was 'published by order of Lt. Gen. E. Kirby Smith, for the use of the cavalry of the Trans-Mississippi Department.'" If you're interested, see here.

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