SKU: A01303 Category:


Description: In this fascinating letter, U.S. Surgeon General Ward Burnett writes to Adjutant General Frederick Townsend about a bill related to the Rome, New York Arsenal, and more interestingly, about the works of the artist James Walker. Walker was imprisoned during the 1847 siege of Mexico City and later escaped. He began sketching battle scenes from the Mexican War. In 1848 he produced a series of twelve such paintings referenced in this letter. Burnett states: “I have just seen Mr. James Walker who says that he will take $1200 for the series of twelve cabinet paintings. As they are the only pictures of the kind extant, I think that our state could not do better than to purchase them for the Library at Albany — Mr. Walker has been somewhat embarrassed lately, and on that account will sell them at that price at this time.”

Ward B. Burnett (1810-1884) graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1832. When the Mexican War began, he enlisted as colonel of the First NY Volunteers and was involved in the battles at Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, Contreras, and Churubusco. He held numerous civil engineering positions after the war. From 1858 to 1860 he served as the U.S. Surveyor General for the Kansas and Nebraska Territories.

James Walker (1818-1889) is mostly remembered as a painter of military battles, some on a grand scale, i.e. the 17′ long “Battle of Chapultepec” which was done for the U.S. Captiol. He teamed up with photographer and topographic artist John Bachelder to create a monumental work depicting the Battle of Gettysburg.

Written on two sides of a folded 8″ x 10″ sheet of stationery dated March 9, 1858 from Washington, D.C. Item #A01303

Condition: Mailing folds, with a 1″ stain at the juncture of two folds, generally good condition and quite readable.