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Map Reconnoissance, juillet 1781.

About this Item


  • Reconnoissance, juillet 1781.


  • "This manuscript map in pen-and-ink and watercolor was probably created in 1781 by a French military cartographer engaged in reconnaissance work during the final stages of the American Revolutionary War. The map is oriented with north to the right. The British captured New York in September 1776. In the summer of 1781, General George Washington, commander of the Continental Army, considered an attack on New York, but he and the Comte de Rochambeau instead feigned preparations for an attack on the city while stealthily moving their troops to Yorktown, Virginia. There, the British under General Charles Cornwallis (1738-1805) were forced to surrender in what proved to be the climactic battle of the Revolutionary War. The map depicts Hell Gate and its vicinity and covers parts of Manhattan Island, "Buchanan Island" (Ward's Island), "Montresor's Island" (Randall's Island), and "Morisana" (Morrisania, present-day South Bronx). It shows fortifications, troop positions, and relief. A legend on the left side indicates earthworks, a redoubt, a blockhouse, and a battery. The scale is in toises, an old French unit measuring about 1.95 meters. The map is from the Rochambeau Collection at the Library of Congress, which consists of 40 manuscript maps, 26 printed maps, and a manuscript atlas that belonged to Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807), commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780-82) during the American Revolution. Some of the maps were used by Rochambeau during the war. Dating from 1717 to 1795, the maps cover much of eastern North America, from Newfoundland and Labrador in the north to Haiti in the south. The collection includes maps of cities, maps showing Revolutionary War battles and military campaigns, and early state maps from the 1790s." World Digital Library.

Created / Published

  • [1781]


  • -  Hell Gate (New York, N.Y.)--Maps, Manuscript--Early works to 1800
  • -  New York (N.Y.)--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Maps, Manuscript--Early works to 1800
  • -  United States--New York (State)--Hell Gate (New York)
  • -  United States--New York (State)--New York


  • -  Alternate title from Philip Lee Phillips' A list of maps of America: Reconnoissance juillet 1781. Ouvrages et redoutes-Morisania [continent] îles de New York, Montresor et Buchanan.
  • -  Has watermarks.
  • -  Manuscript, pen-and-ink and watercolor.
  • -  Oriented with north to the right.
  • -  Relief shown by hachures.
  • -  Shows fortifications on "Isle de New York" in vicinity of Hell Gate.
  • -  Scale ca. 1:18,400; 700 t[oises] = 75 mm.
  • -  LC Maps of North America, 1750-1789, 1216
  • -  Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.
  • -  AACR2: 440; 651/1
  • -  Vault


  • col. map, on sheet 31 x 39 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • G3804.N4R4 1781 .R4


  • Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650 USA dcu

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • gm71000994

Online Format

  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The maps in the Map Collections materials were either published prior to 1922, produced by the United States government, or both (see catalogue records that accompany each map for information regarding date of publication and source). The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17 of the United States Code) or any other restrictions in the Map Collection materials.

Note that the written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Reconnoissance, Juillet. [1781] Map.

APA citation style:

(1781) Reconnoissance, Juillet. [Map] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Reconnoissance, Juillet. [1781] Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.