TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENL. WASHINGTON COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THIS PLAN OF THE INVESTMENT OF YORK AND GLOUCESTER HAS BEEN SURVEYED AND LAID DOWN, AND IS MOST HUMBLY DEDICATED BY HIS EXCELLENCY'S OBEDIENT AND VERY HUMBLE SERVANT, SEBASTN. BAUMAN, MAJOR OF THE NEW YORK OR 2nd REGT OF ARTILLERY.
Philadelphia. 1782. Copper engraving, with original hand-coloring. A "References to the British Lines" is set within a scroll in the upper right corner. At lower center is a Lengthy key or "Explanation" of the battlefield, which identifies and describes eighteen key locations on the battlefield. The explanation is set within a rococo frame, which in turn is enclosed by the flags of the United States and France, cannon, arms, and other spoils of battle. Image size (including text): 25 1/2 x 17 7/16 inches. Sheet size: 27 x 18 7/8 inches. Some minor creases on verso from previous folding, restoration to margins beyond plate mark. Else very good. Within three days of the British surrender on October 19, 1781, Major Sebastian Bauman, an American artillery officer, took the field and carefully surveyed the terrain and battle positions at Yorktown. A native of Germany, Bauman had emigrated to America after service in the Austrian army. During the Revolution he served in the campaigns in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and was in command of the artillery at West Point, before joining Washington at the siege of Yorktown. Bauman spent six days surveying the battlefield at Yorktown. His manuscript draft was quickly sent to Philadelphia, where it was engraved by Robert Scot to be sold by subscription. The map was advertised in THE NEW YORK PACKET and the AMERICAN ADVERTISER in March 1782: "Major Bauman of the New York, or Second Regiment of Artillery, Has Drawn a Map of the Investment of York and Gloucester, in Virginia. Shewing how those posts were besieged in form, by the Allied army of America and France; the British lines of defence, and the American and French lines of approach, with part of York River, and the British ships as they then appeared sunken in it before Yorktown; and the whole encampment in its vicinity. / This Map, by desire of many gentlemen, will shortly be published in Philadelphia, in order that the public may form an idea of that memorable siege. Those gentlemen who incline to become subscribers will apply to the printer hereof; where the conditions will be shewn, and subscription money be received." This was the only detailed battle plan of Yorktown published in America. As a participant for the winning side, Bauman was able to spend more time surveying the field than the British engineers who were bottled up in Yorktown. Thus he was able to include an extensive area to the south of the town that does not appear on the best British plans, such as those published by Faden and Des Barres. The location of the French and American positions is necessarily more detailed and informed. As it appeared in print before the British plans, it was the first survey of the Siege of Yorktown made available to the American public. Margaret Pritchard notes that the plan was also an effective piece of propaganda: "In addition to providing substantial detailed military information, this map is also interesting for its artistic composition. Yorktown, Gloucester Point, and troop positions are confined primarily to the top half of the map. The lower half is dominated by the explanation that is embellished with ornaments of war. The shape of the scrollwork cartouche surrounding the explanation, with flags and banners that thrust upward from both sides, force the eye to the center of the image. Here, in an open space, is the very heart of the map, 'The field where the British laid down their Arms.' It is this field that is omitted from all of the British battle plans of Yorktown." Bauman's plan is a legendary rarity which almost never appears on the market. Its scarcity is due to the fact that it was separately published by subscription only. Relatively few sheets were printed, and very few of those survived. Wheat & Brun locate eight institutional copies, but not one in Virginia. To these we can add four copies known to us in private American collections. Perhaps Nebenzahl best summarized the importance of the map: "Bauman's splendid map, dedicated to General Washington, reflects his formal European training in topographical engineering. It is the only American survey of the culmination of the great struggle for independence and a cornerstone document of our national heritage." Alexander O. Vietor, THE BAUMAN MAP OF THE SIEGE OF YORKTOWN. SCHWARTZ & EHRENBERG, p.199. DEGREES OF LATITUDE 68. NEBENZAHL, PRINTED BATTLE PLANS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 189. NEBENZAHL, ATLAS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 48. WHEAT & BRUN 541. FITE & FREEMAN, A BOOK OF OLD MAPS, pp.287-88. STOKES & HASKELL, AMERICAN HISTORICAL PRINTS, pp.57-58. VIRGINIA MAGAZINE OF HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY 39 (1931), reproduced opp. p.104.
(Item ID: WRCAM39545) $250,000.00