Jun 27, 2024 - Sale 2675

Sale 2675 - Lot 212

Price Realized: $ 2,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
(MILITARY.) Louis de Tousard. American Artillerist's Companion, or Elements of Artillery. 60 (of 67) plates. 3 volumes. xxviii, lxxv, 546; xix, 670 (plus folding table); 13 pages. 8vo and 4to, matched modern ¼ calf over marbled boards; lacking frontispieces to both text volumes, with 5 plates in atlas present in facsimile, lacking 6-page subscriber list at end of Volume II, early owner's signatures excised from heads of both title pages, inked library number at base of both second leaves, some foxing and wear to plates, minor foxing and toning to text; additional leaf of manuscript notes tipped in at rear of Volume II; atlas with pencil inscription to flyleaf: "Donor, A.L. Babcock." Philadelphia: C. and A. Conrad, 1809

Additional Details

Louis de Tousard (1749-1817) was a French artillery officer who served under Lafayette in the American Revolution, where he lost an arm at the Battle of Rhode Island. He returned to serve further in the United States Army from 1795 to 1802, and helped establish the military academy at West Point. His "American Artillerist's Companion" became the standard text for American artillery students.

The text of Tousard's work was initially released in parts, and was completed in two volumes with 1809 title pages. All bibliographical references list the accompanying atlas volume as an 1813 production. This 1809 first edition of the atlas naming C. and A. Conrad as publishers is largely unknown. The William Reese Company offered a full 1809 set in their catalogue 178, item 106 (circa 1998), using an image from the atlas as their cover illustration. Sotheby's sold one in their William Guthman sale in 2005.

A closely written manuscript leaf tipped into the rear of Volume II is headed "Appendix." It discusses fire-balls, arrows, fire pots, and especially "rockets Congreve." The piece on the Congreve rocket notes that several hundred were "on board Lord Exmouth's fleet and used during his late attack on Algiers." This suggests a composition date after August 1816. As Tousard died in France in April 1817, he was likely not the author of this manuscript Appendix.

Rink, Technical Americana 2193 (noting only the 1813 Bradford & Inskeep edition of the atlas); Sabin 96339 (listing only 1813 edition of atlas); Shaw & Shoemaker 18770 (noting the 2 text volumes only for the 1809 edition).