A remarkable depiction of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and parts of Georgia, etc. published by John Bachmann.
Drawn from a viewpoint far above the Gulf of Mexico, the view extends inland as far as Jackson, Vicksburg, Selma, Montgomery and Macon. Bachmann's view was designed for a commercial audience, rather than for use in the field. The view shows towns, forts, roads, railroads, topographical features and waterways, without any particular attention to the requirements of scale or geographic precision.
Of particular interest are the dozens of fighting ships of the Union Navy shown enforcing the blockade at the mouth of the Mississippi, Mobile, Pensacola and elsewhere along the coast. The impression is misleading, however, for the blockade only became effective later in the war, as the size and operational capacity of the Union Navy grew to meet the challenge.
The "bird's eye" perspective was commonly used to depict cities, but Bachmann's view is remarkable for applying the technique to a vast region comprising many thousands of square miles. In so doing, the view rendered its information more accessible to a larger public that may not have been conversant with map reading, but sought a geographic context with which to follow news of the Civil War.
This is one of a set of six such images produced by Bachmann during the War. Assembled end-to-end they provide a comprehensive view of the American coast from the Chesapeake Bay to Texas. Earlier in his career Bachmann had produced a number of superb bird's-eye views of New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and other major cities.
John Reps writes that "these are particularly outstanding and are justifiably regarded… as among the finest American views to be found." Of the six views, five rarely appear on the market, while the map of the Chesapeake region seems to have been offered separately and achieved a wider distribution.
Little is known about Bachmann's life other than what can be inferred from his prints. His Germanic name and the date of his earliest view (New York, 1849), indicate that he may have emigrated from Europe around the time of the revolutions of 1848.