Boston Rare Maps Features Civil War Maps and Ephemera

  • SOUTHAMPTON, Massachusetts
  • /
  • July 14, 2011

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Currier & Ives, The True Issue or “That’s What’s the Matter”. Published in New York, 1864. 13.5 x 17.75 inches, lithograph
Image Courtesy of Boston Rare Maps


SOUTHAMPTON, MA – Boston Rare Maps, one of the country’s premier specialists in rare and unusual antique maps, presents a unique selection of original maps and ephemera from the American Civil War.  Included is an iconic 1864 Currier & Ives political cartoon, a schematic map detailing the battle of Gettysburg and a handwritten report by a South Carolina general assessing the tactical situation in Charleston Harbor before the bombardment of Fort Sumter.  Boston Rare Maps is offering these important historical documents in honor of the 150th anniversary of the start of the war, and appointments are encouraged for private viewings.  For additional information or to preview online please visit or call (413) 527-4020.


Highlighting this impressive selection is a scarce map by Theodore Ditterline that condenses the major events of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg into a single image.  Published in 1863, it captures both the enormous scale of the encounter and the fundamental tactical elements.  The map details the preliminary encounter on July 1 in the hills northwest of town, the overnight consolidation of the Union Army in a vast arc along Cemetery Ridge and Culps Hill, the Confederate assault on the Union flanks on July 2 and the climactic “Pickett’s Charge” against the Union center on July 3.  This is one of the earliest printed plans of the battle, and was originally issued as bound into Ditterline’s “Sketch of the Battles of Gettysburg,” a 24-page pamphlet published just months after the events described. Click here for details

Theodore Ditterline/P.S. Duval & Son Lith., Field of Gettysburg July 1st 2nd & 3rd 1863. Published in Philadelphia, 1863. 19 x 15.5 inches, lithograph with hand color
Image Courtesy of Boston Rare Maps

Also included is an iconic political cartoon, “The True Issue,” published in 1864 by Currier & Ives.  The cartoon was produced during the 1864 presidential campaign, which pitted incumbent President Abraham Lincoln against his former general George McClellan.  Lincoln had by this time adopted a strong abolitionist position, while McClellan supported continuation of the war to preserve the Union but rejected forced abolition.  In this image, Lincoln and Jefferson Davis engage in a tug-of-war over a map of the United States, expressing uncompromising and incompatible positions.  McClellan is given a sympathetic portrayal, shown trying to hold the two men, and indeed the country, together, exclaiming “The Union must be preserved at all hazards!”  Notably, “The True Issue” is also the lead image for “Torn in Two”, an exhibition of Civil War maps and prints presented at the Boston Public Library through the end of 2011.  The exhibition also commemorates the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Click here for details

A six-page manuscript report from South Carolina Brigadier General James Simons dated January 1, 1861 is also featured.  The report outlines the tactical situation in Charleston Harbor prior to the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the opening battle of the War.  Addressed to South Carolina Governor Francis Pickens, it alerted state authorities to the implications of the Federal occupation of the Fort.  Much to the frustration of Governor Pickens, the letter conveys Simon’s frank and pessimistic summary of the situation, containing details on troop morale, the risks of open war and the general anxiety provoked by the Federal presence.  The report includes a full-page, hand-drawn plan of Fort Moultrie annotated to show how in tandem with Fort Sumter it provided complete control of access to Charleston. Click here for details

The selection features a number of additional Civil War maps and historical documents, available for view at

About Boston Rare Maps

Boston Rare Maps specializes in rare and unusual antique and vintage maps depicting all periods of American history. They offer American historical prints, city views and a growing selection of illustrated broadsides.  They also serve a wide variety of clients, including private collectors and institutional map collections, as well as those seeking just a few special pieces for themselves or as gifts to clients, friends or family. 

Editor’s Note:  • Background and additional digital color images available.

   • Support for feature development on rare maps available.

   • Interviews with gallery owner Michael Buehler 

Joshua Payne
Fusco & Four
617 363-0405

Fusco & Four/Ventures, LLC
8 Allenwood Street
Boston, Massachusetts
About Fusco & Four/Ventures, LLC

Founded in 1979 by principals Tony Fusco and Robert Four, Fusco & Four is a full-service Marketing and Public Relations agency, specializing in the arts, lifestyle, leisure and luxury clients. The agency has worked with more than 300 arts-related clients over the past 30 years, including museums, classical music groups, galleries, auction houses, show promoters, internationally-known brands and Internet-based companies in the arts and antiques field. Fusco & Four also produces three annual art and design shows in Boston: the Boston International Fine Art Show, AD 20/21: Art & Design of the 20th & 21st Centuries, and The Ellis Boston Antiques Show. Please direct inquiries to Tony Fusco.

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