The Historical War Map.
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Printed broadside that provided the American public with a comprehensive overview of the Civil War, with an extensive narrative on the war’s progress.
An impressive broadside map of America’s Southern, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwestern states, produced at the height of the Civil War to give those at home a window onto events at the front.
The map was compiled by E. R. Jewett & Co. from Buffalo and printed by Asher & Co. in Indianapolis. Even though it had a distinctly ‘northern’ or Union outlook and catered primarily to a northern audience, the map strives towards a neutral rendition of events and geography. State boundaries are clearly marked in green, and the map includes all of the physiography and infrastructure one would expect of a mid-19th-century map, including roads, railroads, towns and villages, rivers, peaks, and mountain ranges. Forts and military installations are marked in red for a clear overview of all listed battle sites.
The accessible overview provided by the map made it hugely popular, and it was issued in a range of different versions. Ours is the later and most extensive state, which includes a complete list of every single military confrontation; from the initiation of hostilities at Fort Sumter in April of 1861 up to a skirmish between four Union gunboats and a group of rebels at St Charles, Arkansas, on June 17th of 1862. This endpoint distinguishes it from a slightly earlier version, which provides the same list, but stops at the evacuation of Corinth by General Beauregard on May 29th, 1862.
An even earlier state of this map has no list of battles but instead statistical tables with demographics broken down into ‘Loyal’ and ‘Rebel’ states and ‘Free,’ ‘Border’ and ‘Rebel’ states. Another version seems to amalgamate the two by providing an overview of the theatres of war and some light statistics at the end. Yet another variety replaces these tables with four inset maps of Southeast Virginia, Northeast Virginia, Charleston and vicinity, and Vicksburg and vicinity. It was published in the enormously popular The Rebellion Record: a twelve-volume set of diaries, documents, and other narratives, which created a history of the American Civil War while it still raged.
The map’s general popularity and the many varieties in which Asher & Co. offered it confirms its relevance and is also a testament to the anxiety felt by an American populace deeply concerned about the fate of their young nation.
Likely used in the field. Some wear, repaired. Discoloration, loss and spotting visible.