DescriptionLot of (2) Rare Texas Border War Panoramic Photographs - Texas Company E, 4th Regiment Infantry Border Patrol with Mount and Gear - Big Bend District & Fort Bliss Birdseye View, El Paso Texas ca 1915-1918 -
The first image is an ultra-rare and crisp silver-gelatin panoramic photograph of the Texas National Guard, Company E, 4th Regiment, stationed in the Big Bend District at Fort D. A. Russell in Marfa, Texas. The infantry units were called up in 1916 by the Texas Governor to protect against the growing threat of raids across the border from Mexican Revolutionaries. Pancho Villa's men had sacked Columbus, New Mexico earlier that year, and Texans had begun to clamor for an improved border force. The 4th Regiment of Infantry was sent to the Big Bend District in South Texas along with Calvary units, patrolling the area between Sanderson and Sierra Blanca, Texas.
This stunning photograph measures 8"x 36" and has exceptional contrast and tonality, detailing the sun-weathered faces of the soldiers. It is important to note the rarity of the Native American-Indian or Hispanic soldiers that stand fourth (4th) and fifth (5th) from the left respectively. A photograph of Texas soldiers from those racial backgrounds, in this time period, and fighting on this front, should be considered such a unique item that it would be unattainable in any other format. There is also a classic image of an older Scout on the far right in civilian clothes, with a 1911 Colt .45 Automatic in a nice holster rig.
The photograph is identified on the reverse on a typed card, "REO GRANDE RIVER PATROL (sic) - August 1917 - Photo by Weelus of San Banito, Texas. This is a 1917 photo of a Co E, 4th Texas Inf. Patrol, Note scouts on right. (found in an old trunk and mounted on acid free dry mounting.)" The acid-free mount is a thin Styrofoam sheet that has been cut to match the size, preventing the photograph from splitting or bending. There are minor folds on the corners and one light fold 4" from the left side, but overall the image itself is in fine condition. The photographer Weelus is unlisted in most references, but the information is historically accurate.
The second panoramic photograph is a grand bird's eye view of Fort Bliss taken in El Paso, Texas. The panoramic is exceptionally large, measuring 10"x 44" and has been rolled up for some time. This photograph is marked in the negative, by "J. U. Medley - El Paso, Texas" and also has a Unit designation and date on a tent, "Unit 304 Q.M.M.R. August 1918 El Paso, Texas". The photographic process is a strong silver-gelatin print with a great deal of shine, and tonality. The outside of the photograph is consistently cracked with a minor loss of the emulsion, and there are some major folds that go from top to bottom on the right side; however this must be expected given that the photograph is rolled, and has not ever been framed or mounted.
This pair of stunning photographs is an interesting study of the Texas Border War era, in a very rare panoramic format and with crisp and lasting imagery.
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