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2007 Catalog > 3. Webster, Map of the Rio Grande

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3. J. D. Webster / T. E. Mullomny / J. J. Abert. “Map of the Country Adjacent to the Left Bank of the Rio Grande below Matamoros” (New York: Ackerman’s Lith., 1847). Published in Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 65, 31st Congress, 1st sess. Lithographed folding map in black and white, as issued. 25 1/2 x 19" at neat line. Sheet: 27 1/4 x 21 7/8". Old folds visible and several areas of faint transference. Else, a fine example.

Price: SOLD.

Topographical officer John Webster’s map details a short but strategic stretch of the Rio Grande from Matamoros to Boca Chica at the southernmost tip of Texas, an area with significance as a focal point of the Mexican-American War.

In January 1846, after Texas was admitted into the Union, Polk increased pressure on Mexico by sending troops under Zachary Taylor into the area between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande—territory that was claimed by both Texas and Mexico. Taylor ignored Mexican demands that he withdraw and instead marched to the bank of the Rio Grande, where he began to build Fort Brown. The Mexican forces on the opposite side of the river in Matamoros prepared for war. On April 24, 1846, Mexican cavalry crossed the Rio Grande and attacked an American troop of 63 soldiers. Eleven were killed, and most of the rest were captured, although a few escaped and related what occurred back at Fort Brown. American blood had been shed on disputed soil, and a declaration of war followed in May.

The map provides tremendous detail of the topography, down to an indication of variations in the vegetation. Soundings of the Rio Grande are marked. Also included are forts, camps, roads, and towns. Fort Brown appears across the river from Matamoros, and the lower portion of the map includes Padre Island, Clark’s Island, and Port Isabel. A graphically strong map and a wonderful document of a pivotal event in American history.

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