1902 "Topographical Map of the Original District of Columbia and Environs: Showing the Fortifications around the City of Washington" Re-Strike Map after Arnold

This is a handsome example of 1902 restrike of E.G. Arnold's map of the District of Columbia, one of the rarest and most sought after Civil War period maps of the District of Columbia.

Drawn on a large scale, the Arnold map of the District of Columbia was one of the most up to date and detailed maps of the period, providing both topographical detail and details regarding the physical features of the District at a level which surpassed all other commercial maps of the period. The map shows all of the roads and railroads in and out of the District, along with a detailed plan of the City. Most notably, each of the forts in and around the District is identified with a large red dot, a feature which caused problems for the map's publishers.

As noted in Civil War Washington: Rare Images from the Albert H. Small Collection, "Arnold published this three-foot-square folding map without the knowledge or consent of the government. Two days after Arnold placed copies of his map in Washington bookstores and retail shops, the War Department seized most copies in stock to prevent the vital military intelligence from reaching Confederate forces. The War Department obtained the names of many purchasers of the map and seized their copies from their homes. The War Department also confiscated the copper plate in New York from which the map was printed. In compensation, Arnold received $8,000 for his loss by the U.S. government."(James Goode, Washington History, Vol 15, No. 1, 2003, pp 62-79).

As a result of the Government's actions, the Arnold map has become virtually unobtainable for modern collectors. We are aware of only three other examples of the original 1862 edition of the map appearing on the market in dealers' catalogues and no copies at auction in the past 30 years. This 1902 reprint appears only periodically on the market, with recent sales for the 1902 edition to include Alex Cooper on October 12, 2012 and Cowan's Auction several years later. 

With its pastel shades highlighting the several wards of Washington DC, water courses, and the original boundary of the District of Columbia, including the 30 square miles of Northern Virginia that was ceded back to the Commonwealth in 1846, the map is also one of the most decorative maps of the District of Columbia from the period.


Good condition overall, considering age. Map is trimmed to border; laid on period linen.  Old folds are visible, and several small edge chips or repairs.  Original hand coloring, still bright and attractive. Map is presented unframed. Sheet size dimensions: 29 3/4" x 32 1/2".

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