Magnificent bird’s-eye view of the Battle of Gettysburg

John B. Bachelder / Endicott & Co. GETTYSBURG BATTLE-FIELD.  New York, 1863.
Chromolithograph with full original hand color, 20 ¾”h x 36”w plus title and margins
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A spectacular and remarkably informative depiction of the Battle of Gettysburg, which marked the turning point of the Civil War.  

The view was published in late 1863, within months of the events depicted, and marked the beginning of John Bachelder’s three-decade career documenting and depicting the battle in prose, maps and prints. Here he depicts the battlefield in tremendous detail as seen from an imaginary point above and to the west, using shading to indicate the topography and showing roads, lanes, wooded areas, the boundaries of fields, &c. By assigning different colors to Union and Confederate forces for each day of the battle, he is able to condense three days of action into a single image while enabling the viewer to follow the overall sequence of events, if not the details of the many individual encounters. The margins bear legends, a plan of the Gettysburg National Cemetery and endorsements of Union Commander George Meade and other officials attesting to the accuracy of Bachelder’s work.

John Bachelder (1825-1894) was an American painter, photographer and historian. Within days of the battle he traveled to Gettysburg, where he spent months traversing the field, making sketches, and interviewing participants and witnesses. Intellectually engaged by the challenge of reconstructing the complex events and deeply committed to honoring the sacrifices of those who fought there, he spent the next 30 years researching the battle down to its most minute details. He won wide acclaim for the thoroughness and fair-mindedness of his work, including the endorsements of dozens of Union as well as Confederate officers, and was later named Superintendent of Tablets and Legends for the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association.

References
Grim & Block, Torn in Two, pp. 134-5 (ill.). Rumsey #3655 (variant ed.) Stephenson, Civil War Maps, #321.

Condition

Minor marginal soiling and staining. Two mended tears at upper left, one extending 3” into printed image. Withal, an attractive impression with unusually vibrant original color.