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Complete Explanation:
A scornful portrayal of the poor caliber of American volunteers for the Mexican War. The print evidently appeared at the outset of the conflict, as the Library's impression was deposited for copyright on May 13, the day on which President Polk signed the proclamation of war. News of Gen. Zachary Taylor's initial engagement with enemy troops near the Rio Grande River first reached Washington on Saturday, May 9, prompting mass enlistments for the popular cause of protecting the newly annexed Texas territory. A large percentage of the enlistees were Irish immigrants, most of them inexperienced militarily.

The artist shows an awkward group of volunteers standing at attention before a young, chinless, and obviously untested officer who regards them through a monocle. The officer is dressed in a neat uniform, while all but one of the volunteers wear civilian clothes. The sole enlistee in uniform holds a parasol instead of a musket.

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