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Revolutionary War Battle Plan Published to Commemorate the Marquis De Lafayette's Return To America in 1825

Rare plan of the siege of Yorktown, issued on the occasion of Lafayette's triumphal 1825 visit to America.

Drawn by John Francis Renault, a French officer present at the siege of Yorktown, the map was produced in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette on his triumphal return visit to the Untied States nearly fifty years after the events of the Revolutionary War.

The Renault-Tanner plan is based upon an original plan drawn by Major Sebastian Bauman, one of the four officers in charge of the American batteries during the battle at Yorktown. Bauman began surveying the battlefield three days after the surrender. By 1782, the Bauman plan had been engraved by Robert Scott and sold by subscription. In addition to its sheer visual impact, this plan was one of the finest contemporary depictions of the battle, executed as it was by an officer on the spot. Today, Bauman's map is extremely rare and is seldom seen on the market.

In 1824, President James Monroe invited the Marquis de Lafayette to the United States as the "nation's guest." During the next fourteen months Lafayette traveled throughout the whole country, visiting each of the twenty-four states. John F. Renault and Benjamin Tanner undertook to reproduce Bauman's map for presentation to La Fayette, who played a prominent role in the southern campaign, though it is not known who commissioned the engraving or where it was presented.

Renault and Tanner followed Bauman's depiction of the battle quite closely, but they added new legends and ornamentation which, along with the superior engraving, render it a far more attractive map. It is today quite rare on the market, far more so than the 1782 Bauman.


The Renault-Tanner map is extremely rare.   A recent census of the map noted six surviving examples.  Rare Book Hub notes only an example offered at auction by Merwin-Clayton Sales Company on May 22, 1912.  No copies located in dealer catalogs listed in AMPR.  We previously offered an example of the map for sale in similar condition in March 2009.

Condition Description
A number of tears, expertly repaired on the verso. Most notable is the tear at the top centerfold.
Fite and Freeman, A Book of Old Maps, #73; Rumsey Collection #5331; Verner, Maps of the Yorktown Campaign, #39; OCLC # 5566889 et al, locating six examples in all. Other examples located at the Maryland State Archives and New York Historical Society.