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Mapping the War of 1812: A Preliminary Cartobibliography

Very little has been written about the mapping of the War of 1812, and no comprehensive cartobibliography of the conflict exists. This very incomplete bibliography is intended to fill that gap, at least partially. Please send additional links or references to the compiler

I. Maps Published during or Shortly after the War.

For the Battle of New Orleans and the southern theatre of war, there is a bibliography of printed and manuscript maps and plans held at Historic New Orleans. There is also a brief list of published and manuscript War of 1812 maps (mostly of the Washington-Baltimore area) at the Maryland Historical Society

Anonymous. Plan of the siege of Plattsburg and capture of the British fleet on Lake Champlain, the 11th. Septr. 1814 : to accompany B. Tanner’s print of MacDonough’s victory (1814, no publisher). Available at New York State Library and Yale University Library.

Sketch of the Position of the British and American Forces, during the Operations against New Orleans, from 23d Decr. 1814 to 18th Jany. 1815 . Plate 359 from Naval Chronicle33 (1815). Reproduced in Gardiner, ed., The Naval War of 1812, 176.

Baines, Edward. United States of America: exhibiting the seat of war on the Canadian Frontier from 1812 to 1815 (Leeds: Edward Baines, 1816).

Bouchette, Joseph. Plan of Oswego Harbor (London: Faden, 1815). Available on World Wide Web from University of Alabama

Chesebrough, Ephraim. A new and correct chart of the east end of Long Island Sound (New Haven: A. Doolittle, [1814?]). Appears to be based on manuscript map listed under Hardy below. Copy at the Library of Congress. Reproduced in Guthorn, United States Coastal Charts, 62-63.

Haines, D. A new improved map of the seat of war (Philadelphia: W. M’Carty, 1817). From History of the American war of 1812, 3rd ed., 1817. Available online from New York Public Library

James, William. A full and correct account of the military occurrences of the late war between Great Britain and the United States of America:
with an appendix, and plates
(London, 1818). Includes the maps listed below, possibly others.

Map of Maj. Gen. Ross’s Route, with the British Column, from Benedict, on the Patuxent River, to the City of Washington, August 1814 (1818). Includes inset showing “Affair of Bladensburg.” Reproduced in Gardiner, ed., The Naval War of 1812, 147.

Map of the Straits of Niagara from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario (1818) Shows fortifications, roads, and some troop positions. Reproduced in Gardiner, ed., The Naval War of 1812, 103.

Plan of Kingston Harbor (1818). Reproduced in Gardiner, ed., The Naval War of 1812, 106.

Plan of Sackett’s Harbor(1818). Shows troop movements in attack of 1813. Reproduced in Gardiner, ed., The Naval War of 1812, 128.

Plan of the Operations of the British & American Forces below New Orleans on the 8th of January, 1815. Reproduced in Gardiner, ed., The Naval War of 1812, 178.

Kensett, Thomas. This map of Upper and Lower Canada, and United States contiguous (Cheshire, Conn.: Shelton & Kensett, 1812). “To the officers of the Army and the citizens of the United States.” Copies at Connecticut Historical Society and Connecticut State Library. Available online from David Rumsey Collection

Latour, Arsène Lacarrière, A general map of the seat of war in Louisiana & West Florida: shewing all the fortified points and encampments of both the American and British armies, also the march of Genl. Jackson’s army on his expedition against Pensacola. 34 x 65 cm. (Philadelphia: J. Conrad and co., 1816). From Latour’s Historical memoir of the war in West Florida and Louisiana: with an atlas.

Map of Mobile Point, part of the bay and Dauphine Island showing the position of British land and naval forces (1815). Available online from University of Alabama at:

Lewis, Samuel. A Correct Map of the Seat of War (1812). Shows roads and distances in northeastern United States and southern Canada. Available on the World Wide Web from the Library of Congress  Shows roads and distances.

A New Map of the Seat of War (1815). Similar to above. Available online from New York Public Library

Luffman, John. A map of the American lakes and adjoining country, 1813, the present seat of war between Great Britain & the United States. (London, 1813). No. 156 in his Geographical and Topographical Atlas. Reproduced in The Naval War of 1812: A Documentary History,I, 334-35. Overview map with little specifically military detail. Luffman also published several other maps of the United States at this time, including the Washington and New Orleans areas. See OCLC for further information.

Melish, John. Military and Topographical Atlas of the United States (1815). Includes several overview maps with little specifically military information. Available online from David Rumsey Collection

Walker, J. A Sketch of the Battle of La Fourche or Chateauguay, Oct. 26, 1813 (London: W. Faden, 1815). Available online from University of Alabama

Wilkinson, James. Memoirs of My Own Times (Philadelphia: Snell, 1816). Includes an atlas volume with title Diagrams and Plans Illustrative of the Principal Battles and Military Affairs Treated on in Memoirs of My Own Times, which includes some maps of the War of 1812. Wilkinson was an American general.

II. Manuscript Maps Produced Prior to 1820.

This list includes only a small fraction of a much larger body of maps. Many manuscript maps of the War of 1812 are available at the U.S. National Archives, but I have only recorded some that relate to New York State. Many other manuscript maps of the war doubtless can be found in the Canadian and British national archives, and scattered throughout other repositories, but I have not investigated the holdings of most of them. Other archives holding manuscript maps of the War of 1812 include the New York Historical Society and Historic New Orleans (see note at beginning of section I). It should also be noted that the Library of Congress has eleven manuscript maps acquired through the Blair gift that “pertain chiefly to General Jackson’s operations in the lower Mississippi River Valley and the Gulf Coast during the War of 1812 and his campaign against the Creek Indians” 

Anonymous. [Eyewitness Sketch of the Battle of Sackets Harbor, 1813.] Reproduced in Gardiner, ed., The Naval War of 1812, 108. Gardiner cites as “Library of Congress ref 400434.”

Sketch of the march of the British Army under M. Genl. Ross from the 19th to the 29th Augt. 1814. Shows events in Maryland. Library of Congress has Photostat of original in the Paul Mellon Library, Upperville, Va.

Burgoyne, John Fox. Map of Fort Bower and British siege positions on Mobile Point (1815). Available on the World Wide Web from the University of Alabama

Craig, I.E. and James Renwick. Military topographical sketch of Haerlem Heights and plain, exhibiting the position and forms of field works and block houses which have been constructed in that neghbourhood for the defence of the City of New York by Gen’l Swift, Chief Engineer (1814?). Original at New York Historical Society. Reproduced, I.N. Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan, III, pl. 82A. See also under Swift.

Delafield, Richard. Plan of Lake Champlain and Lake George and of their connection with the River Saint Lawrence (1817). Detailed military map based on surveys made during the war of 1812. Located at the New York Historical Society.

Duberger, J.B. Plan of the present state of Fort George June 10th, 1814. Shows Ft. George in Ontario. Original at National Archives of Canada; facsimile at Wm. L. Clements Library.

Elliott, Jesse. [Map showing attack on ships Detroit and Caledonia in Niagara River near Fort Erie (1812)]. Original in U.S. National Archives. Reproduced in Gardiner, ed., The Naval War of 1812, 100.

Gadsen, [James]. Plan of Forts Green, Swift & Lawrence & lines of intrenchments errected in the vicinity of Brooklyn with the topography of the country annexed (1815). Detailed military topographic map. Original at U.S. National Archives. Several similar maps showing fortifications on western Long Island also at National Archives.

Gratiot, Charles. [Map of Mackinac, 1814]. U.S. National Archives. Reproduced in Gardiner, ed., The Naval War of 1812, 130.

Hardy, [Thomas]. Chart of part of Long Island Sound made by the British squadron und. Comm.re Hardy during the late war. Copied from the M.S. by Henry N. Thompson (1814?). Manuscript. Original at U.S. National Archives. Closely resembles the published chart by Chesebrough listed above.

Kearney, James. Survey of the position of Throg’s and Wilkins’ Points and of the adjacent country (1819). Detailed military topographic map. Shows fortifications on western Long Island. Original at U.S. National Archives.

Loss, Charles. Topographical survey of the western part of Long Island exhibiting the routes by which an ennemy [sic.] may approach the City of New York from the Atlantic Ocean. Commenced by order of B. Genl J.G. Swift, October 1818. Original at the National Archives. Detailed and carefully drawn map prompted by fears of British invasion during war of 1812. Original at U.S. National Archives.

Malcolm, Pulteney. [Map of Cheapeake Bay Region. 1814] In Malcolm’s ms. Journal. At Wm. L Clements Library. In RLG Union Catalog.

Patuxent River [1814]. In Malcolm’s ms. Journal. At Wm. L Clements Library. In RLG Union Catalog.

Sketch of the entrenched position of the American forces near Baltimore on the 13th Septr. 1814. In Malcolm’s ms. Journal. At Wm. L Clements Library. In RLG Union Catalog.

Mangin, Joseph. Plan of the shore of Long-Island from Wallabout Bay to Red-Hook (1815). Manuscript. Original at U.S. National Archives. Photograph in Friis, “Brief Review” (see below, section IV), 78. Shows fortifications.

Roberdeau, Isaac and J. Anderson. Sketch of Crown Point with a Plan and Section of the Fort and Other Defenses from Actual Survey by J. Anderson and I Roberdeau, U.S. T. Engineers, November 1818. Another detailed military map drawn shortly after the war. Original at U.S. National Archives. Photograph in Friis, “Brief Review” (see below, section IV), 79.

Smith, Robert, fl. 1814. Sketch of the march of the British army under M. Genl. Ross from the 19th to the 29th Augt 1814 [1814]. Shows route of the British army to and from Washington, and Battle of Bladensburg. 46 x 62 cm. At Beinecke Library, Yale University. In RLG Union Catalog.

Swift, J.G. Atlas of 33 manuscript maps, plans and views bound with his Report on the Defence of the City of New York. Located at New York Historical Society. Individual maps and plans are listed in I.N. Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan, III, 552-53. See also under Craig above.

Thornton, Sarah of Saco, Me. [Manuscript plan of the Battle of Plattsburgh, New York] [1814?] Original at Library of Congress

Williams, George. Plan of the fort at Point Henry in its present state May 1814. Fort Henry is in Ontario, Canada. Original at National Archives of Canada; facsimile at Wm. L. Clements Library. In RLG Union Catalog.

Plan of the present state of the fort erecting at Point Mississauga at the entrance of the Niagara River [1814]. Original at National Archives of Canada; facsimile at Wm. L. Clements Library. In RLG Union Catalog.

Sketch of part of the River Chateaugay [1814]. Original at National Archives of Canada; facsimile at Wm. L. Clements Library. In RLG Union Catalog.

III. Some More Recent Maps.

Here only a few titles have been selected. They may be useful for filling in gaps and interpreting earlier maps. See also article by W.G. Dean listed below (IV,2)

1. Detailed modern military maps showing campaigns of the War of 1812. From the United States Military Academy

2. Dean,W.G. “Invasion Repulsed, 1812-14,” Historical Atlas of Canada, vol. 2 (Toronto, 1993), pl. 23.

3. Lossing, Benson J. Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812 (New York, 1869). Contains numerous maps of individual battles.

V. Articles with Information about the Mapping of the War.

1. Friis, Herman R., “A Brief Review of the Development and Status of the Geographical and Cartographical Activities of the United States Government: 1776-1818,” Imago Mundi, 19 (1965), 68-80. Contains some information about activities of U.S. Army Corps of Topological Engineers during and immediately after War of 1812. Includes images of several maps (noted individually above).

2. Dean, W.G. “Remapping the War of 1812-14,” Bulletin of the Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives, no. 122 (Winter 2005), 17-26. Deals with the mapping of the war since its conclusion.

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