Striking Civil War bird’s-eye view of the Middle Atlantic

Drawn and lith. by J. Schedler 358 Pearl st. N.Y. / Sarony, Major & Knapp Liths. 119 Broadway N.Y., THE SEAT OF WAR[:] BIRD EYE VIEW OF VIRGINIA, MARYLAND, DELAWARE AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. New York: W. Schaus 629 Broadway (and Francois Delarue, Paris and H. Graves & Co., London), 1861.
Three-stone lithograph, 22 ½”h x 30 ¾”w at neat line plus titles and margins. Segmented and backed with linen, with green selvage applied to edges, at an early date. Small label of the Metropolitan Book Store (Washington, D.C.) pasted to lower margin.

A striking and unusual depiction of the seat of Civil War in the Middle Atlantic States, extending from the southern reaches of New Jersey and Pennsylvania to northern Carolina, and west to the Ohio River watershed.

Stephenson’s Civil War Maps correctly points out that the image “is a map and not a bird’s-eye view,” though it has been shaded to give the illusion of a viewpoint somewhere above the Carolina coast. Designed for an audience on the home front rather than for use in the field, it shows towns, forts, roads, railroads, topographical features and waterways, without undue particular attention to the requirements topographical precision (The apparent elevations of the Shenandoah Mountains, for example, are wildly out of proportion to the scale of the map.) The many ships in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays may be intended to suggest that the Union blockade was stifling Southern commerce, though in fact it was still only marginally effective when the view was published in 1861. At lower left a map of the eastern United States provides broader geographic context.

This image was one of many published in 1861 for a large public, both here and abroad, that may not have been conversant with map reading but sought a geographic context with which to follow news of the Civil War.

Stephenson, Civil War Maps, #17.35 (also mentioning a Metropolitan Book Store label on the LC copy). OCLC lists numerous institutional holdings.


Paper toned, with scattered spotting and staining, plus an area of discoloration (exaggerated in image) in lower center of image. Corners of the map segments lifting ever so slightly from linen in a few places.