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March 11, 1861

The Washington map of the United States, 1860

The Washington map of the United States, 1860

The War of the Rebellion (atlas); Pl.CLXII: U.S., Union and Confederate geographic divisions

The War of the Rebellion (atlas); Pl.CLXII: U.S., Union and Confederate geographic divisions

The War of the Rebellion (atlas); Pl.CLXIII: U.S., Union and Confederate geographic divisions

The War of the Rebellion (atlas); Pl.CLXIII: U.S., Union and Confederate geographic divisions

In 1860, Matthew Fontaine Maury, then Superintendant of the United States National Observatory in Washington, DC, prepared “The Washington Map of the United States”. The large wall map was dedicated to George Washington and features an elaborate decorative border and is lavishly illustrated with views of Mount Vernon, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and a silhouette of George Washington.

Matthew Fontaine Maury, noted naval officer geographer and scientist, was born in Virginia and had deep southern ties. In late April 1861 following the state of Virginia’s decision to secede from the United States, Maury resigned his commission in the United States Navy and moved from Washington, DC to Fredericksburg, Virginia where he later served In the newly formed Navy of Virginia.

Shortly after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, but before his inauguration in March 1861, the United States changed dramatically. The political and economic tensions between the northern industrialized states and the southern agrarian states reached a fever pitch as states previously leaning towards secession held formal votes and left the Union in order to form what would become the “Confederate States of America”. On December 20, 1860, the state of South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union as shown on the accompanying map entitled “Map of the United States of America showing the Boundaries of the Union and Confederate Geographical Divisions and Departments as of Dec, 31, 1860” published in the 1891 Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Civil War.

Six months later the states of Missouri (January 9, 1861), Florida (January 10, 1861), Alabama (January 11, 1861), Georgia (January 19, 1861), Louisiana (January 26, 1861), Texas (February 1, 1861), Virginia (April 17, 1861), Arkansas (May 6, 1861), North Carolina (May 20, 1861), and Tennessee (June 8, 1861) formally seceded from the United States. This map, also appearing in the Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Civil War, shows the status of seceded states as of June 30, 1861.

Map Citations

Maury, Matthew Fontaine.The Washington map of the United States / by M.F. Maury, L.L.D., Commander ; U.S. Navy ; Superintendent, U.S. National Observatory. Washington, D.C., H.G. Bond, Pub., 1860. 1 map on 2 sheets: hand col. 78 x 172 cm.
Catalog record: http://lccn.loc.gov/98685242

United States, War Dept.The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Pub. under the direction of the ... Secretary of War. Washington, Govt. Print. Off., 1880-1901. 70 v. in 128. 24 cm. Plates CLXII and CLXIII.
Catalog record: http://lccn.loc.gov/03003452