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

After Sebastian Bauman (active 1776-83)

Siege of Yorktown, 1781

To His Excellency Gen.l Washington / Commander in Chief of the Armies of the / United States of America, / This Plan of the investment / of York and Gloucester has been sur- / veyed and laid down, and is / Most humbly... published in Philadelphia, 1782

Engraving and etching; printed on paper; hand coloured; reverse window mounted on paper | Scale: 1:14,514 approx. | RCIN 734069

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A map of Yorktown, besieged by the French and Americans commanded by General George Washington (22 February 1732–14 December 1799) and Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807), and surrendered by the British, commanded by Lieutenant-General Lord Charles Cornwallis (1738-1805). American War of Independence (1775-83). Oriented with north-north-east to top.

The siege of Yorktown lasted from 29 September to 19 October. About 9,000 British troops, including Germans, were besieged and defeated by a combined 19,000-strong French and American army.

This rare map has been described as a cornerstone document of American national heritage. Only twelve copies are known in the USA. It is the only known American survey of the culminating battle of the war, and shows the investiture of Yorktown, with the American trenches and ‘The Field where the British laid down their Arms’. The American forces are shown in blue, the French in yellow, and the British in red. It was advertised for sale in The New York Packet and the American Advertiser in March 1782.

The map was reproduced in 1825 by John Francis Renault and Benjamin Tanner; in about 1887 by the New England Historic Genealogical Society; 1976 by Meridian Gravure Company and again in 1981 by the United States Defense Mapping Agency.

  • After Sebastian Bauman (active 1776-83) (surveyor)

    Robert Scot (active 1782) (engraver) [bottom right:] R. Scot Sculp. Philad. 1782.

  • Watermark: Fleur-de-lys in crowned shield, the letters G R below; countermark: J WHATMAN

    Condition: one fold line

  • Scale: 1:14,514 approx. Scale bar: A Scale of Yards [63 mm =] 1000.

    64.2 x 44.9 cm (image)

    [top cropped] x 45.2 cm (platemark)

    71.7 x 51.3 cm (mount)

    65.6 x 45.8 cm (sheet)

  • Printed title:

    To His Excellency Gen.l Washington / Commander in Chief of the Armies of the / United States of America, / This Plan of the investment / of York and Gloucester has been sur- / veyed and laid down, and is / Most humbly dedicated by his Excellency’s / Obedient and very humble servant / Sebast.n Bauman. Major / of the New York or 2nd Reg.t / of Artillery. [top right, in cartouche representing a scroll]

    Additional text:

    [bottom centre, in rococo cartouche embellished with the artefacts of war with the union flag on the right, and French flags on the left, a descriptive key, A-I, K-R:] THIS PLAN was taken between the 22nd & 28th of October, 1781. / Explanation [top left, in cartouche representing a scroll, a key, 1-22:] References to the British Lines.

    Annotations:

    George III heading: [black pencil, underlined in red ink:] York and Gloucester 29 Sept. 1781.

    Other annotations: none.

    George III catalogue entry:

    York Plan of the Investment of York and Gloucester in Virginia by the French and American Forces commanded by Count Rochambeau and General Washington, on the 29.th of Sept.r 1781: by Major S. Bauman, 1781; engraved by R. Scot, 1782. [The same entry appears under the heading Gloucester.]

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

  • Subject(s)

    Yorktown, Virginia, USA (37°14'19"N 76°30'34"W)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    K. Nebenzahl, A bibliography of printed battle plans of the American Revolution 1775-1795, Chicago and London 1975, no.189

    I.N.P. Stokes and D.C. Haskell, American historical prints, early views of American cities, New York 1932, pp.57-8

    A.O. Vietor, 'The Bauman map of the siege of Yorktown', Yale University Library Gazette no.21, 1946, pp.15-17

    C. Verner, ‘Maps of the Yorktown Campaign, 1780-81: a preliminary check list of printed and manuscript maps prior to 1800’, Map collectors’ Circle, Vol.XXVI, London 1965

    J.C. Wheat and C.F. Brun, Maps and charts published in America before 1800: a bibliography, New Haven 1969, p.541

    Exhibited:

    London, British Library, American War of Independence, 1975

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