The Second Map Printed South of the Mason Dixon Line
Scarce and important Charleston and Fort Sullivan Battle Plan, issued in David Ramsay's History of the Revolution of South Carolina... .
Thomas Abernethie was an early engraver in Charleston, South Carolina. Very little is known about his life and work, which includes the maps for Ramsay's book, some treasury notes for the City of Charleston early Masonic bookplates and other local ephemera. With the exception of Moreau Sarrazin's plan of St. Augustine, published in Charleston in 1742, Abernethie's maps are apparently the earliest maps published south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The source material for this map is also interesting. While the map includes the spelling of Fort Sulivan with a single L, as do the plans engraved by Faden and Sayer (along with the rare Daniel Humphrey's copy of Sayer's map, published in by British during their occupation of Philadelphia).
Abernethie's map is quite possibly derived from American sources, as Nebenzahl suggests, no direct sources, leading to the conclusion that the source might well be American. The map is also one of the earliest battle plans of the Revolution engraved in America and only the second Fort Sullivan plan engraved in America, after Humphrey's map.
Ramsay's book has the distinction of being the first work granted a copyright in the United States. While the engraving style is naïve, the map is full of interesting details. The map extends from the Cooper River, Charleston and James Island in the west, to just east of Sullivan Island. The two floating bridges of boats from Charleston to Shute's Folly and from Halfmoon Battery to the mainland are shown, as are the fortifications of Fort Moultrie, positions of ships at the Mount Pleasant Fortifications, Fort Johnson (destroyed) and other details.
A very good example of this scarce battle plan. While Ramsay's book occasionally appears on the market, the maps rarely appear on the market.