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Description

The Second Earliest Map Published South of the Mason Dixon Line

Scarce and important Charleston Battle Plan, issued in David Ramsay's History of the Revolution of South Carolina... .

Thomas Abernethie was an early Scottish engraver in Charleston, South Carolina. Very little is known about his life and work, which includes the maps for Ramsay's book, some treasury notes for the City of Charleston early Masonic bookplates and other local ephemera, as well as a reduced version of Petrie's Ichnography of Charleston . . ..

With the exception of Moreau Sarrazin's plan of St. Augustine, published in Charleston in 1742, Abernethie's maps are apparently the earliest maps published south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The source material for this map is also interesting, in that Nebenzahl does not note any direct sources for the map, suggesting that Abernethie's map is quite possibly derived from American sources. The map is also one of the earliest battle plans of the Revolution engraved in America and the only earliest Charleston Battle Plan engraved in America.

Ramsay's book has the distinction of being the first work granted a copyright in the United States. While the engraving style is naïve, the map is full of interesting details. The map provides a detailed plan of Charleston and its fortifications, with a key showing approximately 20 battle details, along with the blockade of the Cooper River, and the names and details of the various ships engaged in the siege and other battle notes. The first plan of Charleston printed in America.

While Ramsay's book occasionally appears on the market, the separate maps rarely appear on the market.

Reference
Nebenzahl 82; Wheat & Brun 594.