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Rare Early Regional Road Map from the First Edition of Melish's Famed Military Atlas, A Major War of 1812 Cartographic Artifact. 

One of the earliest comprehensive road maps of the central part of the United States.

Published during the War of 1812, this detailed map of the Middle Atlantic and Eastern States has a clear focus on the roads and distances between the cities in the region.

Melish's 1812 Military and Topographical Atlas of the United States is one of his earliest works.  The atlas is an important set of maps relating to the War of 1812, and also one of the earlier authoritative treatments of the United States, preceding the general maps of Melish and Shelton & Kensett. Along with those maps, Arrowsmith's, and Abraham Bradley's, the Melish Military Atlas (in both editions) is an important inclusion for anyone interested in early Federal Period mapping of the United States.


The map is very rare.  This is only the second example we have seen on the market in more than 25 years.

Condition Description
Minor fold splits, repaired on the verso.
John Melish Biography

John Melish (1771-1822) was the most prominent American mapmaker of his generation, even though his cartographic career lasted only a decade. Melish was born in Scotland; he moved to the West Indies in 1798 and then to the United States in 1806. By 1811, he had settled in Philadelphia and published Travels through the United States of America, in the years 1806 & 1807, and 1809, 1810, & 1811, which was richly illustrated with maps.

Melish created several regional maps of the highest quality, as well as the Military & Topographical Atlas of the United States (Philadelphia, 1813, expanded 1815). The latter work is widely considered to be the finest cartographic publication to come out of the War of 1812.

By far his best-known work is his monumental map of the United States of 1816, Map of the United States with the contiguous British and Spanish Possessions. He began working on the map in 1815 and sent it to Thomas Jefferson for comment in 1816. Jefferson enthusiastically reviewed the map and returned it with his edits. Jefferson later hung an example of the map in the Entrance Hall of Monticello and sent it to associates in Europe.

Melish’s finished product was the first map of the United States to extend to the Pacific Ocean. After its publication in 1816, Melish ensured the map was as up-to-date as possible; it was reissued in 25 known states published between 1816 and 1823. The map captured the then rapidly changing geography of the United States, as well as various boundary disputes, treaties, and expansion.