Revolutionary War Battle Plan -- Fine Original Outline Color
First state (of three) of Faden's battle map of the Delaware River, between Philadelphia and Chester.
Faden's map depicts the Theater of War on the Delaware River, just below Philadelphia, during November, 1777, when a combined British naval and army forces battled the Americans for control of the River. The map shows the British troop lines and ships, and those of the American forces.
In September, 1777 the British retook Philadelphia, then serving as the Capital of the breakaway American colonies. However, the city cut off by sea by an American naval blockade. The Americans could cover the entire width of the Delaware River with artillery, as they controlled Fort Mercer at Red Bank on the New Jersey shore, and the adjacent Fort Mifflin, on Mud Island in the middle of the river.
The Americans also constructed stockades across strategic points in the river, to slow British ships, making them more vulnerable to attack. Their construction is depicted in diagrams on the lower-right of the map. The British mounted their assault from the south. Lord Cornwallis captured Billingsport, before moving on foot to besiege Fort Mercer. The map depicts the American's unsuccessful defense of their positions. After taking Fort Mercer, Lord Cornwallis' force continued on to Gloucester, New Jersey, where the Americans had burned the remainder of their fleet to prevent it from falling into British hands.
While the British were able to hold and secure Philadelphia, the American forces under George Washington spent the following winter at Valley Forge. The subsequent battles forced the British to abandon their defense of Philadelphia, in order to deploy troops to the north.
This first edition of the map depicts an inset map entitled A Sketch of Fort Island. In the 1779 edition of the map, the inset is replaced by a plan of the bombardment of Fort Mifflin on Mud Island.
William Faden (1749-1836) was a prominent London mapmaker and publisher. He worked in close partnership with the prolific Thomas Jeffreys from 1773 to 1776. In 1783, Faden assumed ownership of the Jeffreys firm and was named Geographer to the King in the same year. Faden specialized in depictions of North America and 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. The Admiralty also admired his work and acquired some of his plates which were re-issued as official naval charts. After retiring in 1823 the lucrative business passed to James Wyld, a former apprentice.