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

Many of George Washington's decisions during his long career were made only after careful readings of the existing cartographical materials. (The Granger Collection, New York)

Map 6: A Map of the City of New York

Map of the Province of New York
(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.


Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus