Fine example of the E.G. Arnold map of the District of Columbia, one of the rarest and most sought after Civil War period maps of the District of Columbia.
Drawn on a large scale, the Arnold map of the District of Columbia was one of the most up to date and detailed maps of the period, providing both topographical detail and details regarding the physical features of the District at a level which surpassed all other commercial maps of the period. The map shows all of the roads and railroads in and out of the District, along with a detailed plan of the City. Most notably each of the forts in and around the District is located with a large red dot, a feature which would cause problems for the map's published.
With its pastel shades highlighting the several wards of Washington DC, water courses, and the original boundary of the District of Columbia, including the 30 square miles of Northern Virginia that was ceded back to the Commonwealth in 1846, the map is also one of the most decorative maps of the District of Columbia from the period.
As noted in Civil War Washington: Rare Images from the Albert H. Small Collection (James Goode, Washington History, Vol 15, No. 1, 2003, pp 62-79).
In 1862, surveyor E.G. Arnold published a topographical map of the District with G. Woolworth Colton in New York. A civil engineer, Arnold reproduced the original 10-mile square laid out by Peter L'Enfant and surveyed by Andrew Ellicott in 1792. Arnold based his map on Boschke's map of 1861, but also included the city of Alexandria, which had been ceded back to Virginia in 1846. The seven wards within D.C. are color coded, and he showed all railroad lines and regional roads entering the city. In a chart at the lower left, Arnold listed the populations of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria by decade from 1800-1860. He also broke down the population by race into "white," "free colored," and "slave." To Union military authorities, the Arnold Map was important for three reasons: it showed the topography of the area, all the roads leading into the city, and the location of the then 5 1 forts protecting the city.
Arnold published this three-foot-square folding map without the knowledge or consent of the government. Two days after Arnold placed copies of his map in Washington bookstores and retail shops, the War Department seized most copies in stock to prevent the vital military intelligence from reaching Confederate forces. The War Department obtained the names of many purchasers of the map and seized their copies from their homes. The War Department also confiscated the copper plate in New York from which the map was printed. In compensation, Arnold received $8,000 for his loss by the U.S. government.
As a result of the Government's actions, the Arnold map is very rare on the market.