Map of York, Virginia Showing the Attacks by the French and American Armies in October 1781


This pen-and-ink and watercolor manuscript map shows the movements of the French and American armies in the vicinity of York, Virginia, in October 1781, during the Battle of Yorktown. The map is by Querenet de la Combe, a cartographer and lieutenant colonel of engineers with the army of the French commander, General Rochambeau. York (more commonly known as Yorktown after the Revolutionary War) was founded in 1691 and became a major port for the export of tobacco. The map shows British defenses at Yorktown, as well as the parallel formations of the French and Americans. A legend with a lettered key is used to highlight military fortifications and ship positions. The map also shows ships in the York River, fortifications on Gloucester Point across the river, vegetation, and houses and roads. Relief is shown by hachures. Scale is given in toises, an old French unit measuring almost 1.95 meters. Yorktown was the last major land battle of the Revolutionary War. The defeat of the British and the surrender of the army under Lord Cornwallis led to peace negotiations and conclusion of the Treaty of Paris of September 3, 1783, which officially ended hostilities and brought international recognition of American independence. 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: January 8, 2018