1863 Gettysburg Battlefield Bird's Eye View by Jonathan Badger Bachelder, with Field Officer's Sword

This is one of the finest early depictions of the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil, believed by many to have marked the turning point of the Civil War. This large lithograph bird’s-eye plan shows a panoramic view of the Gettysburg battlefield, illustrating the distribution of Confederate and Union forces, as well as the topography of the battlefield. The view is accompanied by an original M1860 Staff and Field Officer's sword from the mid-19th century.

The lithograph was designed and drawn by John B. Bachelder and published by Endicott & Co, a New York-based lithographic company, in 1863.

From July 1 through July 3, 1863, Union and Confederate forces fought in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. General Robert E. Lee led the Confederate forces; the Union’s Army of the Potomac was under the command of General George G. Meade. Each day of battle saw heavier fighting and dramatically higher casualties, all of which culminated with a Confederate assault at Cemetery Ridge, known as Picket’s Charge. Although Confederates were able to pierce the Union lines, they eventually failed and Lee and his men were forced to retreat back towards Virginia, with thousands of casualties. 

This extremely detailed topographic view uses shading and coloring to describe to geography of the battlefield. Drainage, vegetation, roads and streets, railroads, bridges, houses, and the names of residents are all indicated. Bachelder also includes the location of the corps, divisions, and brigades of both armies, with names of their respective commanding officers. Badge symbols are used to identify Federal Corps.

In the lower border are facsimile signatures of the various Union high-ranking officers, which include General Mead, Newton, Hancock, Birney, and others, all of which attest to the accuracy of Bachelder’s presentation of the battle. A smaller plan of the Soldier’s National Cemetery at bottom shows arrangement of graves. The plan has the caption “I am perfectly satisfied with the accuracy with which the topography is delineated and the position of the troops laid down. Geo. G. Meade, Major Gen. of the Grand A.P.”

John Bachelder (1825-1894) was a painter, lithographer, photographer and historian. Early in his career he produced an important and appealing body of work depicting sites and cities in the northeastern United States. On his own initiative he traveled to Gettysburg immediately after the battle, where he spent no fewer than 84 days traversing the field, making sketches, and interviewing witnesses to the events. Later that year he published this spectacular and detailed bird’s-eye view of Gettysburg, his first published depiction of the battlefield. He went on to become the preeminent 19th-century historian of the battle and for years served as director of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association.


This lithographic view is in good condition overall, with original coloring still intact. Some stains to the lower margin and map key and cemetery plan. Sheet size is 28 1/4" H x 39 3/4" W.

The M1860 Staff and Field Officer's sword has a blade length of 29" and overall length of 36". Sword has leather wire-wrapped grips. The blade is free of ornamentation. The nickel plated scabbard has three brass rings. Very little play on handle and in very good condition, considering age and past use.

The print  and sword are archivally presented with acid-free top mats, wooden decorative spandrels, UV conservation Plexiglas, and a custom-built black wooden frame. Framed dimensions: 55" H x 55 1/2" W x 6" D.

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