First state of Henry Mouzon's landmark 4-sheet map of the Carolinas, the primary source for the geographical details of the Carolinas for the American, English and French armies during the American Revolution.
Mouzon's map was unquestionably the most important general map of the period. The map was utilzied by three of the most important commanders of the American Revolution. George Washington's copy, folded and mounted on cloth, resides in the collections of The American Geographical Society. The French commander, the Comte de Rochambeau's copy belongs to the collections of the Library of Congress. British commander, Sir Henry Clinton's copy is held in the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan.
For several decades, Mouzon's map was a primary source for information about the geography and topography of the Carolinas, copied frequently by other mapmakers for its remarkable detail and accuracy. Mouzon based his map on years of personal surveying experience and over a decade spent critically assessing and incorporating previous information. As noted by Pritchard and Taliaferro, Mouzon's "appeared on the eve of the American Revolution, and its up-to-date geography made it the most widely consulted map of the area used in the war effort."
For North Carolina, Mouzon inserted for the first time Tryon County and Pelham County (later called Sampson). The topography west of the Catawba River is more detailed and accurate than on any previous map. Mouzon also advanced beyond earlier maps in his inclusion of rivers, streams, roads, and physical features like White Oak or Tryon Mountains and Kings Mountain.
For South Carolina, Mouzon added rivers and Indian settlements west of the Cherokee Indian boundary lines, and his depiction of the eastern precincts was more sophisticated than anything that had come before. Mouzon's map depicts forts, parishes, bridges, roads, Indian paths, and boundaries, and includes insets of Charleston and Port Royal harbors.
This is truly a landmark map. Its excellence and significant improvement of the depiction of the vast Carolinas was recognized by all countries involved in the Revolutionary War, and it remained unrivaled well into the 19th century. The present example includes some annotations to the counties, including the manuscript addition of Wayne County, North Carolina, which was established on November 2, 1779 (named for "Mad Anthony" Wayne) and the renaming of several islands in the near Albermarle Sound, strongly suggesting that the map was in use during the American Revolution.
Relatively little is known about Mouzon. At the time he was preparing the map, Mouzon, a professional surveyor, resided in Craven County, who died in April 1777, shortly after publication of his map. AS noted in the Craven County Digital History Exhibit
Mapmaker and civil engineer, Henry Mouzon, Jr. (1741-1807) was the grandson of a Huguenot immigrant to South Carolina who held land grants in Berkeley County. Henry, Jr. was born in Craven (now Williamsburg) County, South Carolina. After his father's death in 1749, eight-year-old Henry Jr. was sent to France for his education, where it is presumed that he learned mapmaking skills. He received his first important public commission in 1771, when he and Ephraim Mitchell (subsequently the surveyor general of South Carolina) were appointed by Governor Lord Charles Greville Montague to survey the boundaries of the civil districts of South Carolina.
The first notice of Mouzon's work was announced in an advertisement in THE SOUTH CAROLINA AND AMERICAN GENERAL ADVERTISER in May 1774, which announced his intention to publish a map of South Carolina only in January 1775. After expanding the scope to both North and South Carolina, Mouzon's map was first published by Sayer & Bennett in 1775.
Mouzon's map is derived from a number of sources. His depiction of South Carolina is based upon James Cook's, A MAP OF SOUTH CAROLINA (1771) and A MAP OF THE PROVINCE OF SOUTH CAROLINA (1773) and William De Brahm's MAP OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND A PART OF GEORGIA (1757). Mouzon added greater definition of the rivers and more detail regarding the native settlements located to the west of the Cherokee Line. For his treatment of North Carolina, Mouzon used John Abraham Collets' A COMPLEAT MAP OF NORTH- CAROLINA (1770), adding counties and better detail for the Catawba River and its tributaries. Mouzon also had access to other manuscript sources for his treatment of the North Carolina Coastline, as the hydrographic information varies significantly from Collet's map.
The present example is the first state of the map, which includes the Sayer & Bennett imprint. Georges Louis Le Rouge published a French edition of the Mouzon map in Atlas Amèriquain Sepentrionale (Paris, 1777). That version is titled in French and English and includes an inset of the English attack on Fort Sullivan (June 28, 1776). A third version of the map (2nd state of the English edition) was issued in 1794 by Laurie and Whittle, successors to Sayer and Bennett, using the original plates.