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George III’s maps and views showing the war from North America to India

Thomas James (active 1748)

Fort Sullivan and Charlestown, 1776

A PLAN OF THE ATTACK OF / FORT SULIVAN, / near / CHARLES TOWN in SOUTH CAROLINA. / by a Squadron of His Majesty’s Ships, / on the of June 1776, / with the Disposition of the King’s Land Forces, / and... published 1776

Etching and engraving from two copperplates, with letterpress text, all printed on the same sheet; hand coloured | Scale: 1:25,957 approx. | RCIN 734016

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A map of the British naval attack on Fort Sullivan on 28 June 1776. American War of Independence (1775-83). Oriented with north to top. 

The fort which stands on, or near, the same spot today is named Fort Moultrie after the commander of the Rebels in this action, William Moultrie. This action was part of the first British attempt to capture Charleston from the Rebels. The British land forces were unable to reach the fort because the water was too deep to ford, and they could not be disembarked from the ships because the Rebel defence was too aggressive. This led to a defeat for the British who did not return to this area until 1780 (see D.L. Russell 2002). A photograph of what appears to be the manuscript for this map, signed by Lieut.-Colonel Thomas James, and with a blank title cartouche, is in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. The photograph is illustrated here (last accessed 15 Oct 2016).

Stevens and Tree 1967, no.14a-d list four variants, with and without the dedication, and with or without the letterpress text, and with revisions to the detail of the fortifications. Faden published a state of this map in his North American Atlas (1777).

  • Thomas James (active 1748) (surveyor) [top left, below inset title:] by L.t Colonel Tho.s James of the R.l R.t of Artillery.

    William Faden (1749-1836) (publisher, print seller and engraver) [bottom right, below title, in title cartouche:] Engraved by W.m Faden.; [bottom, below text:] LONDON: Printed and Sold by WILLIAM FADEN, Successor to the late Mr. THOMAS JEFFERYS, Geographer to the KING, the Corner of St. Martin’s-Lane, Charing-Cross; [bottom centre, between border and plate mark:] LONDON. Engrav’d & Publish’d according to Act of Parliament Aug.t 1776. by W.m Faden Corner of S.t Martins Lane Charing Cross.

    Sir Peter Parker (1721-1811) (dedicatee)

  • Watermark: Letters RG; countermark: IV

    Condition: no fold lines; brown staining/foxing to right edge. Verso: induced discolouration

  • Scale: 1:25,957 approx. Scale bar: Scale of One Mile [62 mm =].

    49.6 x 38.7 cm (image)

    28.4 x 37.2 cm (image of map)

    29.4 x 39.1 cm (platemark of map)

    27.8 x 37.0 cm (neatline of map)

    1.9 x 38.7 cm (image of dedication)

    3.2 x 39.3 cm (platemark of dedication)

    52.7 x 39.7 cm (sheet)

  • Printed title:

    A PLAN OF THE ATTACK OF / FORT SULIVAN, / near / CHARLES TOWN in SOUTH CAROLINA. / by a Squadron of His Majesty’s Ships, / on the of June 1776, / with the Disposition of the King’s Land Forces, / and the Encampments and Entrenchments of the / REBELS / from the Drawings made on the Spot. [bottom right, in rectangular cartouche]


    [below map, printed from a separate copperplate:] To Commodore Sir Peter Parker Kn,,t &c. &c. This Plan is Most humbly Dedicated & presented by L.t Colonel Tho,,s James R,,l R,,t of Artillery June 30,,th 1776.


    [top left:] PLAN / of the / PLATFORM / in / SULIVANS FORT, / by L.t Colonel Tho.s James / of the R.l R.t of Artillery. Scale: 1:1,764 approx. [95 mm =] 550 Feet. Size: 9.4 x 19.0 cm.

    Additional text:

    [below map and dedication, letterpress:] LIST of his Majesty’s Squadron commanded by Commodore Sir PETER PARKER, Knt. &c. on the Expedition against Fort Sulivan in South Carolina. [Following the list, letterpress, a description of the action:] The following Account of the Attack of FORT SULIVAN is extracted from the Letters of Commodore Sir PETER PARKER, Knt. and Lieut. General CLINTON, to the Lords of the Admiralty.


    George III heading: Fort Sulivan 28 June 1776.

    Other annotations: (Recto) [bottom left, red pencil:] 14/9. (Verso) none.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Sulivan, Fort A Plan of the Attack on Fort Sulivan near Charlestown in South Carolina by a Squadron of His Majesty’s Ships commanded by Commodore Sir Peter Parker on the of June 1776; with the Disposition of the King’s Land Forces and the Encampments and Intrenchments of the Rebels: by Lieut. Col.l Thomas James, published by Faden, 1776. with an account of the attack.

  • From the collection of military and naval maps and prints formed by George III (1738-1820)

  • Subject(s)

    Fort Moultrie, Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, USA (32°45'32"N 79°51'28"W)

    Charleston, South Carolina, USA (32°46'35"N 79°55'51"W)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    H. Stevens and R. Tree, ‘Comparative cartography’, The Map Collectors’ Circle, 39, London  1967, pp.16-17

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