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Description

First edition of Bachelder's three-part map of the Gettysburg battlefield. This is by far the finest early depiction of the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil, believed by many to have marked the turning point of the Civil War.

Offered here is a complete set of three sheet maps, depicting respectively the events of the first, second and third day of the battle. Each consists of an identical base map of the natural and man-made features of the battlefield, upon which is superimposed the troop positions and movements for that day, with the Union troops shown in blue and the Confederate troops in red.

The maps are unusual in being the product of a civilian-military collaboration: The base map was reduced from area surveys conducted by the Army's Topographical Engineers in 1868-69, while the troop positions and movements were compiled by Bachelder "from the official reports, consultations on the field, private letters, and oral explanations of the officers of both armies." Bachelder himself acted as publisher and distributor ( Torn in Two, p. 136), but the map bore the imprimatur of the Secretary of War.

Stephenson describes the maps as follows:

An extremely detailed topographic map with spot elevations and countours "given for every change of 4 feet in elevation." Drainage, vegetation, roads, railroads, fences, houses with names of residents, and a detailed plan of the town of Gettysburg are shown. "Every object is represented here as near as possible as it was at the time of the battle.
A very minute analysis of the deployment of the various units of both armies, with the names of commanding officers, period of time spent in a particular position, and other pertinent information is given. Dotted lines and arrows indicate the movements of the troops, and the positions at various times of the day are shown by symbols explained in the legend. (Civil War Maps, pp. 157-158)

The amount of detail and the economy with which it is presented are astonishing. The detail is such that a simple visual code is employed to differentiate each unit's "first," "intermediate," and "evening" positions on a given day. The mapmakers even went so far as to employ a simple alphabetical code to indicate for each building and fence whether it was constructed of wood, brick or stone!

A more detailed look at each of the sheets can be seen at the following links:

At the bottom of the map, the various Commanding officers for each army are identified, Confederate to the left, Union to the right. Various shading codes identify the first position, intermediated positions, evening positions and all day positions.

As noted in the top margin, "Certain lines of breastworks are shown whichk, however, were in many instances thrown up after the fighting ceased."

A remarkably detailed plan of the action, the most detailed graphical account of the battle available to collectors.

John Bachelder (1825-1894) was a painter, lithographer, photographer and historian. Early in his career he produced an important and appealing body of work depicting sites and cities in the northeastern United States. On his own initiative he traveled to Gettysburg immediately after the battle, where he spent no fewer than 84 days traversing the field, making sketches, and interviewing witnesses to the events. Later that year he published a spectacular and detailed bird's-eye view of Gettysburg, his first published depiction of the battlefield. He went on to become the preeminent 19th-century historian of the battle and for years served as director of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association.

Condition Description
Three sheets. Never folded. Minor repairs on verso.
Reference
Grim & Block, Torn in Two, pp. 134-137 (illustrating plan of the First Day). Stephenson, Civil War Maps, #325.
John B. Bachelder Biography

John Bachelder (1825-1894) was a painter, lithographer, photographer and historian. Early in his career he produced an important and appealing body of work depicting sites and cities in the northeastern United States. On his own initiative he traveled to Gettysburg immediately after the battle, where he spent no fewer than 84 days traversing the field, making sketches, and interviewing witnesses to the events. Later that year he published a spectacular and detailed bird’s-eye view of Gettysburg, his first published depiction of the battlefield. He went on to become the preeminent 19th-century historian of the battle and for years served as director of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association.