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Carl Nebel's Battle Prints

[About the Carl Nebel Prints]

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About the Carl Nebel Prints

The prints presented above were part of a book written by George Wilkins Kendall, founder and editor of the New Orleans Picayune. Published in 1851, it was titled The War Between the United States and Mexico, Illustrated. These particular prints were owned by George W. Kendall himself and are part of the special collections at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

During the war, Kendall followed the U.S. Army as a correspondent for the Picayune. When he decided to write a book about the conflict, he commissioned Carl Nebel, a German artist whom Kendall met in Mexico City. to create the pictures that would be used to make prints to illustrate the book.

Kendall's book was quite large. Only 500 copies were printed. The picture area of Nebel's prints measured approximately 11 inches by 17 inches with a border measuring about 4 inches.

The pictures are relatively accurate. However, Nebel never traveled to Northern Mexico and Kendall himself was present only at Monterey during the Northern Campaign. As a consequence, for the battles of Palo Alto, Monterey, and Buena Vista, the artist had to rely on pictures sketched by others. The most glaring error is the mountains that Nebel included in the background of the Battle of Palo Alto. Anyone who has visited the battlefield can attest that the terrain in that region is flat coastal prairie with not a mountain in sight. The most probable explanation: Nebel mistook the trees or clouds in the background of another artist's picture for mountains.

After 150 years, it is amazing how bright the colors still are on these original prints.

In 1994, the Texas State Historical Association reprinted Kendall's book in a special limited editon. Copies may still be available.

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