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William Faden (1749-1836) was a London engraver, mapmaker, map- and printseller and publisher. He began his career as an employee of Thomas Jefferys, then from 1771-76 was in partnership with Jefferys’ heirs before assuming sole control of the business. His long career lasted until 1823, when he retired and transferred his firm to his former apprentice James Wyld.

Faden ascended to the apex of the London map world, becoming Geographer to both George III and IV, based in no small part on his groundbreaking cartography of the American Revolution, using as his sources original maps and plans supplied by some of the ablest British mapmakers in the American service. In many cases, Faden’s battle plans are the only contemporary plans of the events they depict, and almost all are sought after for their clean engraving, richness of information, and clear depiction of of complex events.  Many of the original manuscripts used by Faden survive in the remarkable William Faden Collection at the Library of Congress Geography & Map Division.

Examples of his excellent mapping of Revolutionary events include a 1776 plan of the Siege of Quebec; a 1777 plan of Newport, Rhode Island; a 1777 plan of the Battles of Trenton and Princeton; and this very rare 1787 plan of the Battle of Yorktown.

For an excellent biography of William Faden and a list of his publications, see Laurence Worms and Ashley Baynton-Williams, British Map Engravers, pp. 221-225.



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A fine and important plan of occupied Boston

One of the best Revolutionary-era depictions of Boston under siege, taken from surveys made on the spot by British forces occupying the town. This plan is attributed to Lieutenant Thomas Hyde Page (1746-1821), a British military engineer who served briefly in Boston before being severely wounded at Bunker Hill and invalided back to England. Based on […]

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Rare plan of Archibald Campbell’s Georgia Campaign of 1778

The only published map depicting the opening of the British southern offensive of 1778. Background By mid-1778 the war in the Middle and Northern Colonies was going poorly for the British. Burgoyne’s army had surrendered at Saratoga, Commander-in-Chief Henry Clinton had felt compelled to evacuate Philadelphia to reinforce New York, and the Americans had entered […]

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Revolution-era map of the Lake Champlain-Hudson River corridor

The first large-scale map of the region, and likely used to plan the disastrous 1777 campaign that culminated in the surrender of Burgoyne’s army at Saratoga. This lovely map depicts the Hudson River-Lake George-Lake Champlain corridor, during the Colonial era a key invasion route between Canada and the Northern Colonies. The major waterways and their […]

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Washington’s victory at the Battle of Trenton

The only contemporary plan of one of General Washington’s masterstrokes, the crossing of the Delaware to attack the British at the Battle of Trenton and the follow-up success at Princeton. By December 1776, the American Army was in desperate straits. Driven from New York by the British the previous September then pursued across New Jersey, Washington […]

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Newport, Rhode Island during the Revolution

The most detailed plan of Newport made during the the Revolutionary War. Description This plan depicts the town of Newport and its harbor in immense detail. Numerous quays jut into the harbour along the length of Thames Street, evidence that up until the Revolution this was one of colonial America’s leading ports. Every street is […]

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An American debacle at Charleston

A fine example of Banastre Tarleton’s plan of the Siege of Charlestown, one of the greatest American setbacks of the Revolution. Offered here on excellent, heavy paper with very wide margins. The siege This map depicts in great detail the siege of Charleston, conducted by the British forces in early 1780 at the beginning of […]

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The first naval battle of the Revolution-Benedict Arnold’s “finest hour”

One of the rarest of the Faden battle plans, depicting the remarkable naval battle at Valcour Island in October of 1776. Though a severe tactical defeat for the Americans, it forced British General Guy to abandon his invasion of the Northern Colonies. Background Rather than reinvent the wheel, we borrow Nebenzahl’s explanation of the battle’s significance: […]

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Archibald Campbell map of the 1778 British campaign against Savannah Georgia

The British capture Savannah Georgia in 1778

The only published map depicting the British capture of Savannah Georgia in 1778, drawn by expedition commander Archibald Campbell. Background By mid-1778 the war in the Middle and Northern Colonies was going poorly for the British. Burgoyne’s army had surrendered at Saratoga, Commander-in-Chief Henry Clinton had felt compelled to evacuate Philadelphia to reinforce New York, and […]

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“The most detailed and informative” map of the Battle of Bunker Hill

A 1793 re-issue of William Faden’s important plan of the Battle of Bunker Hill, described by Nebenzahl as “the most detailed and informative delineation of this battle.” The battle was occasioned after the Americans fortified Breed’s Hill (here incorrectly labeled Bunker Hill on this map) in Charlestown early on the morning of June 17, 1775. The […]

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