Terrific Jedediah Hotchkiss map of Richmond and surroundings

Jed[ediah] Hotchkiss, Top. Engineer, Staunton, Virginia, THIRTY FIVE MILES AROUND RICHMOND, VA. Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Va.: C[asimir] Bohn, 1867.
Lithograph printed in black and blue, printed area 27 ½” x 23 ¼” at greatest extent, plus margins. Varnished, backed with linen and mounted on dowels at an early date. Two hard horizontal creases with minor cracking along each, faint stain affecting first word of title, upper dowel re-attached.

A rare 1867 map of Richmond, Virginia and surroundings by Jedediah Hotchkiss, formerly mapmaker to Generals Stonewall Jackson and Lee.

Beginning with McLellan’s abortive Peninsula Campaign of 1862, the Confederate capital at Richmond was of course a primary target of the Union, both for war planners and in the mind of the general public. A number of maps appeared featuring the city as if at the center of a bulls-eye, most notably Charles Magnus’s “One Hundred Fifty Miles Around Richmond” and “Grant’s Campaign War Map… 25 Miles Around Richmond”. In 1867 former Confederate mapmaker Jedediah appropriated this conceit to produce this map depicting the city—which in fact had been devasted in the last weeks of the war—as the economic hub of a region rich with potential.

The map centers on Richmond, with coverage of all or part of the surrounding counties of Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Powhatan, Chesterfield, Amelia, Dinwiddie, Prince George, Charles City, New Kent, Prince William, King & Queen, Caroline and Louisa. As one would expect of Hotchkiss, he compiled the map from the best-available sources, including the work of the U.S. Coast Survey and both Confederate and Union military engineers. The map is thus superbly detailed, including the complex of waterways tributary to the James and York Rivers; trails, roads and railroads; and schools, churches, mills, mines, and other features of the human landscape.

Adorning the lower corners are inset plans of Richmond and Petersburg, the former based on a Coast Survey plan of 1860 with “additions” by Hotchkiss dating to 1866. At upper left is a “View of the Capitol of the C.S.”, and at upper right is a view of Richmond’s Washington Monument, both signed minutely by lithographer Charles Krebs.

The map was published no later than May 1867, when the first adverts appeared in the Virginia press.

“This is the title of one of the most accurate, beautiful and excellent maps of the country around Richmond which we have ever seen. It is the work of J. Hotchkiss, a distinguished Topographical Engineer, and embraces that grand field of military operations, upon both sides of the James River, which has given to our city a world-wide renown. The map before us is so full, clear and admirable in all its details of battle-fields, fortifications, railroads, country roads, rivers and smaller streams, that it seems to omit absolutely nothing which is of interest to the tourist, the historian, the soldier or the citizen. It is mounted in very good style, and sold at a price so reasonable as to place it within the reach of all.


“J. Wall Turner is the agent for its sale in this city.” (The Richmond Times, May 28, 1867, p. 2)

The map is reasonably well represented in the expected institutional collections, but I find no record of another example having appeared on the antiquarian market.

Jedediah Hotchkiss
Born in Windsor, New York, Hotchkiss studied at the prestigious Windsor Academy, where he developed an interest in geography, geology and natural history. After graduating he embarked on an extended walking tour of Virginia, fell for a time into a tutoring position, then in 1859 founded the Loch Willow Academy in the Shenandoah Valley. When Virginia seceded in May 1861, his students left to join the Confederate Army, and he was forced to close the academy. For some reason, rather than enlisting himself, he worked as an independent contractor making maps for the 25th Virginia Infantry, which was stationed at Rich Mountain, Virginia.

On the strength of his character, natural talent and much good luck, this rather odd position launched Hotchkiss into an extraordinary wartime career. After falling into an informal leadership position within the 25th Virginia, in March 1862 he was noticed by Stonewall Jackson, who brought him on to his staff and asked him to produce a map of the Shenandoah Valley. Hotchkiss worked on the resulting map for the rest of the war, and it eventually stretched to at least seven by three feet. For the last year of Jackson’s life Hotchkiss was an invaluable member of his staff.

“Hotchkiss’s maps provided the literal-minded general with the representational information he needed to visualize and grasp terrain and topograhy. Hotchkiss won Jackson’s complete confidence, and the general’s appreciation of Hotchkiss’s work galvanized the mapmaker’s talents.” (McElfresh, p. 243)

After Jackson’s death at Chancellorsville in May 1863, Hotchkiss served the Confederate cause until the end of the war. He spent time on the staffs of Generals Richard Ewell and Jubal Early, but was frequently detached to work directly for Robert E. Lee. At the end of the war General Grant personally allowed Hotchkiss to retain possession of his maps, which later served as a vital source for the Official Records published by the War Department.

Back in civilian life Hotchkiss returned to Staunton, Virginia (40 miles southwest of Shenandoah), reopened the Loch Willow Academy, and soon a career as a civil and mining engineer. In this latter capacity, “being so familiar with the geography of the state, [he] was able to steer lucractive foreign and Northern investments to the most appropriate places”. (Wikipedia) He wrote a number of books, including the Virginia volume of Confederate Military History (1899) and produced innumerable maps related to his engineering work. In the mid-20th century the Library of Congress acquired a large collection of diaries, field books and maps from his descendants.

Phillips, Maps of America, p. 748. Stephenson, Civil War Maps, #631. Wooldridge, Mapping Virginia, #284 (see pp. 309 (illus.) and 367). OCLC 53002594 et al, giving roughly a dozen institutional holdings.