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The Seat of War in New England by an American volunteer, with the marches of the several corps sent by the colonies towards Boston with the attack on Bunkers Hill
London: printed for R. Sayer & J. Bennett, 2 September 1775. Copper- engraved map, with original colour. Two insets along the right side titled "Plan of Boston Harbour from an Actual Survey" and "Plan of the Town of Boston with the Attack on Bunker's Hill in the Peninsula of Charlestown". 22 x 27 3/4 inches. A rare and dramatic Revolutionary war map of New England, showing George Washington's troops marching on British- occupied Boston, with a large inset plan of the Battle of Bunker Hill showing Charlestown in flames: among the earliest pictorial representations of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Published by Sayer & Bennett shortly after news of the Battle of Bunker Hill reached London, the map celebrates the British victory in the battle, but gives a portent of the impending siege of Boston and the eventual Battle of Dorchester Heights. The general map of New England provides a backdrop for illustrations of American troops, most notably including the "march of Washington" in western Massachusetts, but also showing militia marching from New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island, all converging on Boston. Two smaller insets along the right side of the map, each printed from a separate plate, depict a general plan of Boston Harbour and a plan of Boston and Charlestown showing the Battle of Bunker Hill. This latter inset is quite dramatic and of great significance. Charlestown is shown under attack by British forces, with the town in flames as British warships bombard it from the water, and a British battery fires across the Charles River from Cornhill in Boston; the locations of the British and American forces on Breed's Hill are shown, as the two armies face each other in battle. In Boston, a large encampment of British regulars is shown on Boston commons, surrounding the Liberty tree. The inset would later be re-engraved and used in Newcastle and Boston editions of Murray's Impartial History of the War. It is believed that the inset is a graphic representation of information on the battle derived from a 25 June 1775 letter written by General Burgoyne to Lord Stanley: "...Howe's corps ascending the hill in the face of entrenchments, and in a very disadvantageous ground, was much engaged; and to the left the enemy pouring in fresh troops by the thousands, over the land; and in the arm of the sea our ships and floating batteries cannonading them: strai[gh]t before us a large and noble town in one great blaze; the church steeples, being of timber, were great pyramids of fire above the rest ... the whole a picture and a complication of horror and importance beyond any thing that ever came to my lot to be witness to..." Sayer and Bennett would publish this letter as a broadside on 27 November 1775, nearly two months after this inset, illustrating it with a different plan of the battle. The earliest cartographic representation of the Battle of Bunker Hill is a 1 August 1775 plan published by Jefferys and Faden titled "A Sketch of the Action between British Forces and the American Provincials on the Heights of the Peninsula of Charlestown." That map, however, purely shows military movements. The inset to the present map is the second printed plan of the battle and considered to be the first pictorial representation. Guthorn, British Maps of the American Revolution, 150/6; Nebenzahl, Bibliography of Printed Battle Plans of the American Revolution, 6 & 6a; McCorkle, New England in Early Printed Maps, 775.1; Krieger & Cobb, Mapping Boston, p.103; Schwartz & Ehrenberg, The Mapping of America, plate 117; Stokes B-105; c.f. Ristow, Cartography of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Not in Nebenzahl's Atlas of the American Revolution (which reproduces a later version of the inset on page 55) or Phillips.
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-07-20           Check availability:      Biblio    

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