May 23, 1861
Readily available, yet inexpensive sources for maps related to the Civil War were the major newspapers and pictorial journals of the day. Maps had occasionally appeared in journals or newspapers since the seventeenth century, but in North America it was not until the American Civil War that they were published with any regularity. At that time, all types of illustrations had reached a new level of popularity.
Most newspaper and journal illustrations were printed from woodcuts. This form of reproduction, albeit crude, was inexpensive, reasonably quick to execute, and the woodblocks could be inserted into pages of text and printed on newspaper presses without difficulty. A close-grained hardwood, usually boxwood, cut against the grain, was employed to make the wood engraving. Usually the blocks consisted of several parts tightly bolted together from the rear, a technique invented in England and pioneered in this country by Frank Leslie. After the image was drawn on the block, the parts were separated and distributed among several wood engravers to be worked on simultaneously. Once the carving was completed, place names cast in type metal from a mold (stereotype) were cemented into place, the parts bolted together again, and the whole retouched to insure uniformity. An electrotype metal copy of the woodcut was made and the illustration was ready for printing on the rotary press. The entire process required approximately two weeks to complete from the time the sketch was received by the publisher.
Colton, G. Woolworth. The Tribune war maps. New York, New-York Daily Tribune, 1861. 17 maps on 4 p., each p. 59 x 42 cm. (Front page - p. 4)
Catalog record: http://lccn.loc.gov/99447010
Stephenson, Richard. Civil War maps : an annotated list of maps and atlases in the Library of Congress / compiled by Richard W. Stephenson. Washington: Library of Congress, 1989.
Catalog record: http://lccn.loc.gov/88600031