Vienna, Imperial and Royal Court and State Printer 1808.
Large Folio (407 x 269 mm.). MANUSCRIPT ALLEGORICAL FRONTISPIECE with the arms of Rudolf Freiherr von Hammerstein, MANUSCRIPT TITLE; [iv], 169p. and TWENTY-FIVE LARGE MULTI-FOLDING ETCHED AND ENGRAVED MAPS IN FINE CONTEMPORARY COLOR — SIX WITH HAND-COLORED TIPPED-ON FLAPS.
SUPERB CONTEMPORARY VIENNESE PAINTED AND GILT ETRUSCAN BINDING of light tan calf decorated with freehand designs, morocco onlays, multicolor stenciling and delicate tooling (the initials PG on the spine and rear panel remain unresolved). The spine compartments are also painted and tooled; gilt-lettered black and beige morocco labels, gilt crowned pg in the top compartment; board edges gilt.
The elaborately decorated dark green silk pastedowns have wide gilt rose morocco borders, gilt green silk flyleaves and a set of red and black marbled flyleaves. The book block edges are gilt over a hand drawn design.
First Complete and First Illustrated Edition, presentation copy. “The archduke was without doubt the most trusted and skilled general in the [Hapsburg] army” and one of the best strategists in the anti-Napoleonic camp (Eysturlid). As Field-Marshal, he thoroughly reorganized the Austrian army between 1800 and 1805 along the lines set out here in the realistic anticipation of renewed hostilities.
These memoranda on advanced warfare are divided in three parts. The first codifies the fundamentals of offensive and defensive war, fortification and winter campaigns. The second takes up arsenals, marching orders, tactical defensive positions, the defense and crossing of rivers and winter quarters. The third addresses the protection of supply lines by convoys, skirmishing, the Turkish conflict and the evolution of warfare during the Napoleonic campaigns.
The plates are astonishing. Nineteen have manuscript and/or engraved titling strips added across the top, often with further meticulous manuscript emendation. The moveable flaps demonstrate change in battle lines and troop deployment during the course of conflict. All is beautifully done.
Freiherr von Hammerstein (1735-1811) began his military career in 1751, became Major General in 1793 and executed one of the most remarkable military feats of the Napoleonic wars. Trapped with 2500 troops in the Flemish border town of Menin in April 1794, he cut his way through the French force of 20,000 in the middle of the night to escape.
This superb folio is in excellent unrestored condition (tips just chipped, hinges rubbed, slight worm damage to the rear pastedown).
¶Eysturlid, The Formative Influences, Theories and Campaigns of the Archduke Carl of Austria 39-46, 52-6 & passim; Romberg, Erzherzog Carl von Österreich 101-2 & 187-94.