First state of the most important charting of South Carolina's Port Royal Sound and Hilton Head, during the early days of the Revolutionary War.
An exceptional chart of the area around Port Royal and Hilton Head, the most important map of this region published prior to American Independence. Gascoigne's chart covers much of the modern Beaufort County. The Broad River enters from the north, and the sound is bordered by Port Royal, Parris, and Trench's (Hilton Head) Island, and Lady's and Saint Helena Islands. Beaufort and numerous plantations are individually labeled.
Gascoigne's chart was one of the most detailed and accurate of any such map of the American coastline. Captain John Gascoigne conducted extensive surveys in the region, assisted by his brother James, in 1728, aboard the HMS Alborough. The next year, this chart was altered by Francis Swaine, whose manuscript chart was ultimately printed by Jefferys and Faden, in 1773, with subsequent editions issued by Sayer & Bennett (1776), Sayer (1791), and Laurie & Whittle (1794).
Gascoigne's chart was the finest and most detailed map available in the early days of the Revolutionary War, and would most certainly have been used by commanders in formulating their battle plans. Early in the war, the region had fallen under the control of the American patriots. However, in December, 1778, the British seized control of nearby Savannah, Georgia. In early 1779, British General Augustin Prevost was determined to further his gains. Taking advantage of Britain's naval superiority, Prevost dispatched the HMS George Germaine and on February 1, 1779, the British first engaged American forces at Hilton Head.
The Americans withdrew up the Broad River, with the British in close pursuit. A fierce battle occurred at Bull's Plantation, forcing the Americans to retreat to the shelter of the surrounding forested swamps. On February 2, 1779, Gardiner decided to attack Beaufort, which was defended by General William Moultrie. Moultrie managed to disable some of the British guns, which neutralized the British advantage. The next day, Gardiner was forced to retreat. On September 24, 1779, at the Battle of Hilton Head, three British ships were set upon by a trio of French ships. After a dramatic chase and intense exchange of cannon fire, the principal British ship, the HMS Experiment, was forced to surrender. The area remained an important base for the American cause, and although the British conducted isolated raids along the coast, it remained in the possession of the American forces until the end of the war.
In 1777, Des Barres published his Plan of Port Royal in South Carolina, likewise based on Gascoigne, and nearly identical to this chart in coverage and content.
Thomas Jefferys (ca. 1719-1771) was a prolific map publisher, engraver, and cartographer based in London. His father was a cutler, but Jefferys was apprenticed to Emanuel Bowen, a prominent mapmaker and engraver. He was made free of the Merchant Taylors’ Company in 1744, although two earlier maps bearing his name have been identified.
Jefferys had several collaborators and partners throughout his career. His first atlas, The Small English Atlas, was published with Thomas Kitchin in 1748-9. Later, he worked with Robert Sayer on A General Topography of North America (1768); Sayer also published posthumous collections with Jefferys' contributions including The American Atlas, The North-American Pilot, and The West-India Atlas.
Jefferys was the Geographer to Frederick Prince of Wales and, from 1760, to King George III. Thanks especially to opportunities offered by the Seven Years' War, he is best known today for his maps of North America, and for his central place in the map trade—he not only sold maps commercially, but also imported the latest materials and had ties to several government bodies for whom he produced materials.
Upon his death in 1771, his workshop passed to his partner, William Faden, and his son, Thomas Jr. However, Jefferys had gone bankrupt in 1766 and some of his plates were bought by Robert Sayer (see above). Sayer, who had partnered in the past with Philip Overton (d. 1751), specialized in (re)publishing maps. In 1770, he partnered with John Bennett and many Jefferys maps were republished by the duo.
William Faden (1749-1836) was the most prominent London mapmaker and publisher of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. His father, William Mackfaden, was a printer who dropped the first part of his last name due to the Jacobite rising of 1745.
Apprenticed to an engraver in the Clothworkers' Company, he was made free of the Company in August of 1771. He entered into a partnership with the family of Thomas Jeffreys, a prolific and well-respected mapmaker who had recently died in 1771. This partnership lasted until 1776.
Also in 1776, Faden joined the Society of Civil Engineers, which later changed its name to the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers. The Smeatonians operated as an elite, yet practical, dining club and his membership led Faden to several engineering publications, including canal plans and plans of other new engineering projects.
Faden's star rose during the American Revolution, when he produced popular maps and atlases focused on the American colonies and the battles that raged within them. In 1783, just as the war ended, Faden inherited his father's estate, allowing him to fully control his business and expand it; in the same year he gained the title "Geographer in Ordinary to his Majesty."
Faden also commanded a large stock of British county maps, which made him attractive as a partner to the Ordnance Survey; he published the first Ordnance map in 1801, a map of Kent. The Admiralty also admired his work and acquired some of his plates which were re-issued as official naval charts.
Faden was renowned for his ingenuity as well as his business acumen. In 1796 he was awarded a gold medal by the Society of Arts. With his brother-in-law, the astronomer and painter John Russell, he created the first extant lunar globe.
After retiring in 1823 the lucrative business passed to James Wyld, a former apprentice. He died in Shepperton in 1826, leaving a large estate.