Catalog Archive
Auction 182, Lot 338

Rare Civil War Map Based on Bucholtz Map of Virginia

"Map of the State of Virginia Containing the Counties, Principal Towns, Railroads, Rivers, Canals & all Other Internal Improvements", West & Johnston

Subject: Virginia, Civil War

Period: 1862 (dated)


Color: Black & White

37 x 25.5 inches
94 x 64.8 cm

This is the first edition of this rare map of Virginia made in Richmond for Confederate officers of the American Civil War. The map is derived from an 1858 map of Virginia by Ludwig von Bucholtz, who was commissioned to revise the 1826 Hermann Boyne 9-sheet map of Virginia. The product of his exhaustive work was issued by Ritchie & Dunnivant in 1858 and was widely regarded as the most accurate map of Virginia for its time.

John M. West and Thomas Johnston, both transplanted Yankees with no previous map publishing experience, acquired the Bucholtz lithographic stone. West & Johnston added a new decorative border and an updated table of railroads to the map and began printing and selling it in 1862 to both civilian and military customers. This map represents one of the few Confederate imprints that appeared at the time, largely due to a lack of resources in the south. While numerous maps poured out of Northern publishing houses during the Civil War, Confederate imprint maps were "characterized by [...] improvisation and frugality" (Wooldridge, p. 287). In fact, West & Johnston published an 1864 edition of this map, ostensibly changing only the date on the cover without adding any new geographical information.

The map shows all of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A detailed bird’s-eye view of Capitol Square in Richmond adorns the top left corner of the map and a chart below the view lists all the railroads with the length of each line. A reference key notes important information for military officers, which includes principal cities, state and county lines, railroads (completed, in progress, and proposed), canals, rivers, plank roads, court houses, telegraph lines, and stations to name a few.

West & Johnston ceased publishing this map well before the Civil War ended, and after the burning of Richmond in 1865, it is likely that many examples of this map were destroyed. At the time, the map cost $2.50, a considerable amount of money for most people in the mid-19th century. As a result, this map is very rare, with most surviving examples in poor condition and without the original covers.

This example is housed in the original paper board covers with gilt titling on front cover.

References: Stephenson (Civil War) #475.5; Wooldridge #254.

Condition: A

A nice impression with a hint of offsetting at top, minor toning along a few folds, and a few tiny splits at fold intersections. This example has excellent margins, especially considering that most examples are found trimmed to the border. Boards show light wear. Remarkable condition for this pocket map.

Estimate: $9,500 - $12,000

Sold for: $5,000

Closed on 4/28/2021