New York: A. S. Barnes & Burr, 1862. Item #431
8vo. 165 x 105 mm., (6 ½ x 4 ¼ inches). 232 pp. Illustrated with a woodcut frontispiece by N. Orr & Co. Brown publisher’s cloth decorated in blind; spine faded; very good sound copy.
First edition. William G. Stevenson was a physician from Troy N. Y. and studied at Bellevue Medical College in New York City. He was a correspondent for the Memphis Avalanche covering the war in the South.
“Let a sharp-witted young man make his way from Memphis to Columbus and Bowling Green, and thence to Nashville, Selma, Richmond, and Chattanooga; put him into the battles of Belmont and Shiloh; bring him in contact with Morgan, Polk, Breckenridge, and a bevy of Confederate generals; employ him consecutively in the infantry, ordnance, cavalry, courier, and hospital services; then put a pen in his hand, and if his sketches of men and things in the land of darkness have not interest and value, pray what would you read in war-time?”
The woodcut was by N. Orr & Co., one of New York’s most important engraving businesses during much of the 19th century. The company was established by James Orr, an Irish immigrant, who studied the trade after arriving in New York during the 1820’s. He produced many woodcuts for Harper’s Illustrated and Leslie’s Illustrated Magazine as well as creating blocks for many New York publishers. The James’s younger brother (?) Nathaniel continued the business until the first years of the 20th century.
Allibone, Critical Dictionary of English Literature II, p. 2252. Mantle, Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptures and Engravers, p.265. See Hamilton, Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers, I, p. 231 for a partial list of Orr’s output. See Princeton University Department of Graphic Art for more information on the Orr’s, see URL below;