Boston during the Revolutionary War

Published by R. Phillips / Cooper, sculpt. , BOSTON, and its ENVIRONS. , London, September 26, 1806.
Engraving, 8"h x 12 ½"w plus margins, uncolored

An attractive little map depicting the siege of Boston in 1775 or 1776, during which the American forces under General Washington kept the British bottled up in the town. The then-geography of Boston is striking: at the time, it was essentially an island linked to the mainland via a narrow causeway, while modern-day Back Bay, South Boston, and Logan airport were still largely under water. Over the next two centuries, of course, many of these areas were filled in to create the modern city of Boston.

Close inspection of the map is rewarded by a clearer understanding of the military situation during the siege of Boston. Neither side could gain a clear advantage until the Americans fortified Dorchester Heights in March 1776 (with cannon captured from Fort Ticonderoga and hauled overland during the Winter!) This gave them command of both the town and harbor, and the British were forced to evacuate within days.

This map is a reduced-scale version of William Faden’s 1777 BOSTON its ENVIRONS and HARBOUR, with the REBELS WORKS RAISED AGAINST THAT TOWN IN 1775. It appeared in the English edition of John Marshall’s Life of Washington, which like the American edition (Philadelphia, 1804-07) was accompanied by an atlas of maps and plans. The British editions of the maps are far more finely executed than their American prototypes.

Boston Engineering Department, List of Maps of Boston Published between 1614 and 1822, p. 30; Phillips, A List of Maps of America, p. 153 (both citing the American edition only).


Folds as issued and a couple of spots in margins, else excellent