Chasing Villa. The Story Behind the Story of Pershing's Expedition Into Mexico [Presentation Copy, Lengthily Inscribed]
Harrisburg, PA: The Military Service Publishing Company, 1935. First Edition. Presentation copy, lengthily inscribed by the author on verso of frontispiece: "Captain P.S. Haydon, U.S. Cavalry / My dear Haydon: I autograph this book for you with pleasure as I know you to have firm faith in the horse as a vital weapon in our military organization; and should the next war come while you are on the active list you will prove to the mechanicians that Cavalry is a far cry from being 'on its way out' -" signed and datemarked Northfield, VA, January, 1935. With later presentation from Mrs. P.S. Haydon to Col. W.W. West III, dated 1978. Tipped on to title page is an original silver-gelatin portrait of the author's brother, the legendary Seventh Cavalry officer Selah "Tommy" Tompkins, captioned in verso in an unknown hand. Col. West, a descendant of a participant in the 1916 expedition, has made marginal annotations to three pages, in pencil, noting mentions of his grandfather.
First printing. Octavo. Tan, pebble-grained cloth, pictorially stamped on front cover; xx,270pp; frontispiece and 15 inserted leaves of photographic plates (halftones); maps and illustrations in-text. Hinges slightly pulled, with hairline crack to rear endpapers at gutter; else a sound, Very Good copy, lacking the dustwrapper.
A detailed first-person account of the 1916 U.S. Punitive Campaign against Pancho Villa and his troops during the Mexican Revolution. A singular association copy, warmly (and poignantly) inscribed by the author to a fellow Cavalry officer within months of publication. Tompkins (1868-1954), who served with distinction in the Spanish-American War, the Mexican Border Wars, and WW1, was the acting Regimental Executive Officer for the 13th Cavalry during the 1916 American Punitive Campaign against Pancho Villa. He led his troops across the border on at least three occasions and was wounded twice in direct skirmishes with Villa's revolutionary troops. He was recommended for the Medal of Honor by General John J. Pershing, and received the Distinguished Service Cross in 1934, the year this, his only book, was published. Tompkins's elder brother, the Wounded Knee veteran Selah "Tommy" Tompkins, also served in the Punitive Expedition as a Colonel in the Seventh Cavalry; an original photographic portrait of him in his fabled chest-length whiskers, dated 1925, has been affixed, presumably by one of the original owners, to the title page.