Map of New York and Surrounding Islands
This hand-drawn map in pen-and-ink and watercolor, probably made in 1781, depicts New York City and its surrounding islands. The map covers the area from Blackwell’s Island in the northeast to Red Hook (in present-day Brooklyn) in the south, and includes a street plan of southern Manhattan. The map includes Fort George, towns such as Bedford on western Long Island, roads, ferries, redoubts, some vegetation, and relief. Islands include Bucking Island, Bedloes or Kennedy Island, and “the Governors Island.” Relief is shown by hachures. Soundings indicate water depth. The British captured New York in September 1776. In the summer of 1781, General George Washington, commander of the Continental Army, considered an attack on New York, but he and the Comte de Rochambeau instead feigned preparations for an attack on the city while stealthily moving their troops to Yorktown, Virginia. There, the British under General Charles Cornwallis (1738–1805) were forced to surrender in what proved to be the climactic battle of the Revolutionary War. The title is from a manuscript label, which was on the verso as originally mounted. 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.
Title in Original Language
Plan de New-York et des îles environnantes
Type of Item
1 map : color ; 100 x 87 centimeters
- Scale approximately 1:10,000
- John R. Sellers and Patricia Molen Van Ee, compilers, Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750‒1789: A Guide to the Collections in the Library of Congress (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1981).
Last updated: January 8, 2018