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 4: The Seat of War in New England

The seat of war in New England
(Yale University Library)

This detail is part of a well-known map drawn in London in 1775 depicting the opening battles of the Revolutionary War, Washington likely got his copy through French map dealers. Shown here, in addition to giving us a good look at the city of Boston in 1775, is the Battle of Bunker Hill, fought just before Washington took command of the army. Orange flames of Charlestown burning, as depicted in this map, are part of what captured Schecter’s attention when he first looked through the atlas at Yale’s Sterling Library.


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