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William Faden's Separately Published Map of the Siege of Yorktown

Rare separately issued example of  Faden's plan of the Siege of Yorktown, the decisive battle of the American Revolution.

This rare separately issued example appeared either separately or in William Faden’s Atlas of Battles of the American Revolution. The vast majority of examples of this map are printed on inferior paper, folded, and trimmed for binding in Banastre Tarleton’s 1787 Campaigns of 1780 and 1781 in the Southern Provinces of North America.

The map is based drawn from Banetre Tarleton's manuscript map of the Siege, which was also the likely source of Johann Von Ewald's manuscript plan. Ewald, however, extended his plan into Gloucester County and added his own remarks. Captain Johann von Ewald (1744-1813), was a Hessian officer who came to America in 1776 with the British military forces. Von Ewald was a participant in many of the significant battles of the war, and was with Lord Cornwallis at the surrender of Yorktown in 1781. He kept a diary of his experiences throughout the Revolutionary War, but just as importantly created numerous maps of the areas he was in, with the placement of troops and fortifications.

Nebenzahl notes:

While on a small scale, this well-engraved map conveys considerable useful information. The ravines and creek beds that figured in the action are clearly indicated, as are details of the several parallels of the siege. Troop emplacements and the artillery park of the Franco-American forces are indicated, and the commanders’ names appear. A legend shows the colors used for British, French, and American troops. Lines of fire seaward from the shore batteries appear as do the sunken British vessels and town named ships of the line.” (Nebenzahl, Bibliography, #197)

At bottom right on the Yorktown side are shown the headquarters of Washington and Rochambeau and the American artillery. Above and to the left are French artillery, General Lincoln, General le Marquis de la Fayette, General Siwoens (Steuben), and Clinton. To the left are the French regiments Saintonge, Soissen[nais], Deux-Ponts, and Bourbon[nais]. At the top are shown the first and second parallels, "Moors" [Moore's] House, and American and French batteries. At lower left are the French regiments Agénais, Gatinais, Touraine; the Volunteers of Saint-Simon; and a French battery. Below Yorktown is the Fusiliers' Redoubt. Also shown are the numbered regiments in Yorktown itself and the sunken ships Guadeloupe and Charon in the York River.

On the Gloucester side, numbered redoubts are visible in the town itself: No. 1, Rangers; No. 2, Legion; No.3, 80th Regiment; No. 4, unassigned. At the mouth of Sarah Creek Ewald noted, "Place where I stood when French fleet arrived before the mouth of the York River." The area above the town is labeled "Mostly cut-down woods." In front of the work on the road leading out of Gloucester are stationed French sentries. Toward the bottom are "Infantry picket," "Cavalry picket," "Corps under General Choisy," and "Hussars." At the left of the plan is "Sauls" [Seawell's] Plantation. The headquarters are shown at Seawell's Ordinary.


This edition of the map is rare on the market.

Condition Description
Fine Condition. Rare separately issued example, with wide margins and printed on thicker paper.
Nebenzahl, #197. Coolie Verner #828.
William Faden Biography

William Faden (1749-1836) was the most prominent London mapmaker and publisher of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. His father, William Mackfaden, was a printer who dropped the first part of his last name due to the Jacobite rising of 1745. 

Apprenticed to an engraver in the Clothworkers' Company, he was made free of the Company in August of 1771. He entered into a partnership with the family of Thomas Jeffreys, a prolific and well-respected mapmaker who had recently died in 1771. This partnership lasted until 1776. 

Also in 1776, Faden joined the Society of Civil Engineers, which later changed its name to the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers. The Smeatonians operated as an elite, yet practical, dining club and his membership led Faden to several engineering publications, including canal plans and plans of other new engineering projects.

Faden's star rose during the American Revolution, when he produced popular maps and atlases focused on the American colonies and the battles that raged within them. In 1783, just as the war ended, Faden inherited his father's estate, allowing him to fully control his business and expand it; in the same year he gained the title "Geographer in Ordinary to his Majesty."

Faden also commanded a large stock of British county maps, which made him attractive as a partner to the Ordnance Survey; he published the first Ordnance map in 1801, a map of Kent. The Admiralty also admired his work and acquired some of his plates which were re-issued as official naval charts.

Faden was renowned for his ingenuity as well as his business acumen. In 1796 he was awarded a gold medal by the Society of Arts. With his brother-in-law, the astronomer and painter John Russell, he created the first extant lunar globe.

After retiring in 1823 the lucrative business passed to James Wyld, a former apprentice. He died in Shepperton in 1826, leaving a large estate.