Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Mexican War: Blood-stained Letter of Fallen Hero Major John R. Vinton. Poignant group of three letters written to Major John R. Vinton of Rhode Island while engaged in active duty in Mexico. A highly-regarded West Point graduate, Vinton served in the Florida or Seminole War and assisted during Dorr's Rebellion. He participated in the Battle of Monterey and was mortally wounded during the Battle of Vera Cruz on March 22, 1847. A seven-page printed biography included with this lot describes the circumstances of his death. "He had just returned to his post when a huge shell, striking the top of the parapet, glanced and struck his head, fracturing his skull. He fell instantly dead... Upon his body were found letters from his children, stained with his life-blood, which flowed from a wound in his chest." The group includes a 3-page letter from Vinton's son, dated February 6,1847 wanting to know about the Battle of Monterey (partial loss to page 3, ink light, but legible), an extensive and rather endearing letter from his daughter "Lulu" dated December 18, 1846 and a letter from his son's teacher dated February 3, 1847 discussing the son's education. The latter is the blood-stained letter referenced in the printed biography. A note from Vinton's mother appears on the outside. Dated May 8, 1847, it states: "This letter with others from his children was found on the person of my blessed son when he was slain at the Siege of Vera Cruz in Mexico March 22d 5 o'clock p.m. 1847. It bears a portion of his life's blood. Written by his disconsolate Mother." Typed transcripts of all three letters accompany the lot.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2014
    12th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 566

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Dec 12, 2014 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 31 days left to consign to the 2021 October 20 Manuscripts Signature Auction!

    Learn about consigning with us

    The department director has the heart of a true and highly knowledgeable collector with the business acumen of someone who has been not only successful but has decades of an impeccable track record
    David Greenburg,
    Chicago, IL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search