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    Rare Carte de Visite of Kit Carson & Spy Lafayette C. Baker, ca. 1860s. Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson was an American explorer, guide, fur trapper, Indian agent, rancher, and soldier, who traveled through the southwestern and western USA. Carson took a wagon train to the Santa Fe, New Mexico, area. He worked as a fur trapper and got to know the local Indians very well (his first two wives were, respectively, Arapahoe and Cheyenne). John C. Fremont hired him as a guide on an expedition to map the trails to the Pacific Ocean (1843-1844). Carson led Fremont to Oregon and California, traveling across the central Rocky Mountains, through the Great Basin, and across the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Fremont wrote of this trip, making Carson a national hero.

    Lafayette Baker (1826-1868) was the head of the U.S. Secret Service during the Civil War, and wrote History of the United States Secret Service in 1867. The book is generally marred by the self-serving sensationalism that characterized Baker's personality, but the beginning forth-rightly details his start in espionage and the first mission he undertook as a Union spy. Political contacts gained Baker a June 1861 interview with army commander Gen. Winfield Scott, who was desperately in need of intelligence about Confederate military activity around Manassas, VA. Scott recognized Baker's qualities and employed him to undertake a spying mission into Virginia to gain information that five other Union spies had already failed to gather. Furnished with ten $20 gold pieces from Scott's vest pocket, Baker set out on July 11, 1861. Unable to evade the Union pickets at Alexandria, VA, Baker was arrested as a Confederate spy, promptly returned to Washington, and brought before Scott, who with a smile of amusement told him to try again. On his next attempt, Baker did not even make his way across the bridge over the Potomac River before he was once more arrested.

    Very rare and desirable CDV of the pair of these two famous icons, with L. C. Baker sitting in studio, with great coat and hat. Kit Carson is standing in military frock coat above Baker with his hand on Bakers' shoulder. A fantastic CDV. Measures approximately 2.5" x 4".

    Condition:
    very good, mount has dirt, image has some slight discoloration.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    13th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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