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Jedediah Hotchkiss Collection

Papers and Civil War maps of Major Hotchkiss

In 1948 an outstanding collection of American Civil War maps was purchased by the Library from Mrs. R. E. Christian, grandaughter of Major Jedediah Hotchkiss (1828-1899), a topographical engineer in the Confederate Army. Working principally in West Virginia and Virginia, areas he had toured during his earlier geological studies, Hotchkiss made detailed battle maps which were used, as annotations demonstrate, by Generals Lee and Jackson in planning their campaigns. He also filled several notebooks with topographic and strategic drawings. Hotchkiss's masterpiece, prepared at the request of Stonewall Jackson and presented to the Library by Mrs. Christian in 1964, shows the offensive and defensive points of the Shenandoah Valley from the Potomac to Lexington, Virginia. Many of the maps were used to compile the definitive Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington: Govt. Print. Off., 1891-95. 2 v.). The collection also includes maps made or used by Hotchkiss during his postwar career as a consulting engineer in Staunton, Virginia. The 341 sketchbooks, manuscripts, and annotated printed maps are described in the Hotchkiss catalog compiled by Clara Egli LeGear and will be listed in the second edition of Civil War Maps now being prepared by Richard W. Stephenson.

Also acquired through the 1948 purchase were Major Hotchkiss's diaries (1845-99), notebooks, correspondence, and related papers. The greater part of the 27,000-item collection in the Manuscript Division consists of business papers, research files, writings, lectures, and other material dating from after the Civil War. From the war years are diaries and letters including requests for position maps and occasional topographic sketches. Additional papers were acquired in 1958. The papers have been described in a finding aid and microfilmed.

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  October 14, 2010
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