Paris: George Louis Le Rouge, 1778. Copper-engraved map. Sheet size: 2 sheets 21 x 55 inches each. 4 sheets intended to be joined. Very good. Item #WRCAM40117
The first French edition of Chesapeake pilot Anthony Smith's highly detailed chart of Chesapeake Bay and the rivers that converge in it. As Pritchard points out, pilots were offering themselves for hire to visiting merchant ships from the 1640s onward, so hazardous are sand spits, currents, and shoals. Given the critical need, it is surprising how few charts were made in the 18th century. In making his chart, Anthony Smith of St. Mary's County in Maryland, took the most important cartographical works on the region: Walter Hoxton's 1735 chart, and Fry and Jefferson's map of Virginia, and added to this information many soundings in the mouths of Western shore rivers, making it the best chart of the Bay. As such it was published by George Louis Le Rouge in the PILOTE AMERICAIN SEPTENTRIONALE in 1778, the year in which the French formally allied with the Americans. The LeRouge is undoubtedly based on the second English edition of 1777. The first two editions of Smith's chart are virtually unobtainable, so the LeRouge edition (the third) in a large, wall map scale, represents an opportunity for collectors to see in detail the places where on sea and land the British endured their final defeat. Three years after it was issued, the French fleet, having driven off the British, blockaded the Bay and surrounded the Yorktown peninsula, which, in concert with Washington's siege, forced the British to surrender. DEGREES OF LATITUDE 48. SELLERS & VAN EE 1496.