George Washington and His Maps
In his journey from surveyor to soldier to leader, our first president used cartography to get a feel for the young nation
- By John Hanc
- Smithsonian.com, November 16, 2010
(Yale University Library)
Originally drawn by British military engineer John Montresor, this map was consulted by Washington as he planned the defense of the city of New York in 1776. The plan involved American troops fighting house to house in Lower Manhattan, in an effort to inflict mass British casualties. The plan never materialized, as Howe flanked the Americans by landing his troops well above the city. “This was a moment that Washington stumbled,” Schecter notes.