Portsmouth, New Hampshire


This manuscript map in pen-and-ink and watercolor made by engineers of the French Army shows the city and harbor of Portsmouth, New Hampshire as they appeared in the early 1780s. The map is oriented with north to the right. Relief is represented by hachures and shading. The map indicates three ships from the French fleet of Admiral Charles Louis de Ternay, the Pluton, Auguste, and Bourgogne, anchored to the right of Newcastle Island. The map centers on the Piscataqua River that flows through Portsmouth to the Atlantic Ocean. It charts fortifications, channels, ship anchorages, bridges, wharves, a hospital, and other sites of military significance. Downtown Portsmouth is indicated by the image of a church with a high-steeple, and Newcastle Island is prominently shown. It later became a suburb of Portsmouth and the site of the Wentworth Hotel where in 1905 the Russian and Japanese delegations negotiating to end the Russo-Japanese War stayed and ultimately signed an armistice. The map has watermarks, and scale is roughly indicated in toises, an old unit measuring almost two meters. The map is from the Rochambeau Collection at the Library of Congress, which consists of 40 manuscript maps, 26 printed maps, and a manuscript atlas that belonged to Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725‒1807), commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780‒82) during the American Revolution. Some of the maps were used by Rochambeau during the war. Dating from 1717 to 1795, the maps cover much of eastern North America, from Newfoundland and Labrador in the north to Haiti in the south. The collection includes maps of cities, maps showing Revolutionary War battles and military campaigns, and early state maps from the 1790s.

Last updated: November 4, 2015