A remarkable bird's-eye view of the southeastern coast from Currituck Sound, North Carolina to Savannah, Georgia, published by John Bachmann.
Drawn from a viewpoint far above the Atlantic Ocean, Bachmann's view extends far inland to the foothills of the Appalachians. Bachmann designed his view for a commercial audience rather than for use in the field, providing a unique pictographic depiction of the Carolinas and northern Georgia during the War between the South and North.
The view shows towns, forts, roads, railroads, topographical features and waterways, without any particular attention to the requirements of scale or geographic precision. Of particular interest are the depiction of the Union Navy attacking and capturing the Outer Banks forts of Hatteras and Clark in August 1861 and the successful assault on the important harbor at Beaufort, South Carolina November. These two successes reduced the threat posed by the Confederate Navy and enabled the Union to substantially extend its blockade of the southern coast.
The "bird's-eye" perspective was commonly used to depict cities, but Bachmann's view is remarkable for applying the technique to a vast region comprising many thousands of square miles. In so doing the view rendered its information in a fresh and perhaps more accessible manner to a large public that may not have been conversant with map reading but sought a geographic context with which to follow news of the war.
This is one of a set of six such images produced by Bachmann during the War. Assembled end-to-end they provide a comprehensive view of the American coast from the Chesapeake Bay to Texas. Earlier in his career Bachmann had produced a number of superb bird's-eye views of New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and other major cities.
John Reps writes that "these are particularly outstanding and are justifiably regarded… as among the finest American views to be found." Among the 6 views, 5 are rare on the market, while the view of the Chesapeake region seems to have been sold separately and achieved a more wide distribution.
Little is known of Bachann's life other than what can be inferred from his prints. His Germanic name and the date of his earliest view (New York, 1849) indicate that he may have emigrated from Europe around the time of the revolutions of 1848.