Rare & Extraordinarily Detailed Map of the Lower Mississippi River in the Civil War

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

321. [MAP]. LLOYD, J[ames] T., Bart[holomew] Bowen & William Bowen. Lloyd’s Map of the Lower Mississippi River from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico. Compiled from Government Surveys in the Topographical Bureau, Washington, D.C. Revised and Corrected to the Present Time, by Captains Bart. and William Bowen, Pilots of Twenty Years’ Experience on that River. Exhibiting the Sugar and Cotton Plantations, Cities, Towns, Landings, Sand Bars, Islands, Bluffs, Bayous, Cut-offs, the Steamboat Channel, Mileage, Fortifications, Railroads, &c. along the River. Price, in Sheets, Colored, 50 Cents per Copy. Pocket Edition, $1.00. Mounted on Rollers and Varnished, $1.00. Pocket Sheet Edition sent by Mail on Receipt of Price. Mounted Edition sent by Express. J.T. Lloyd, Publisher. 1863. 164 Broadway, New York... [above lower neat line at center] Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by J.T. Lloyd. in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York. New York, 1863. Steel-engraved map with transfer lithography, outline of county and parish lines in original bright hand coloring, waterways shaded in blue, mounted on original linen, the lower course of the River shown in five columns (with names of lot owners adjoining the Mississippi and the borders of their lots shown in detail); neat line to neat line: 94.3 x 129.8 cm; overall 95.9 x 131 cm, verso of map with original white and blue decorated wall paper at lower right panel, folded into original brown cloth covers (25 x 15.5 cm) with white label printed in red (upper cover: Lloyd’s Map of the Lower Mississippi River... J.T. Lloyd: 1, Strand, W.C.), (lower cover with ads for publisher’s maps with prices: Lloyd’s Handsome Steel- Plate Map of the United States & Canada...). A few short, clean splits to margins of map (no losses to map or borders), several splits at folds affecting paper, but not the linen backing, with a few minimal losses, otherwise very fine with excellent color retention and unobtrusive blind-stamp of Sondley Library. Upper cover detached and with old cloth library tape still at hinge, labels of both covers darkened and rubbed.  Upper cover and pastedown with withdrawn library stamp, ink stamp and call number. This grand production is a rare map from the Civil War period.

     Second edition; the first edition was 1862 (the second edition is more rare than the first). Modelski, Railroad Maps of the United States 139 (listing the 1862 edition and mentioning this second edition). Phillips, America, p. 441 (1862 edition). Rumsey 4842 (first edition). Stephenson, Civil War Maps 41. The map was available in various formats. This 1863 edition is what the publisher terms “The Pocket Edition” (the map was available as a sheet map, wall map on rollers, or “The Pocket Edition,” as here).

     The present 1863 edition of the map has changes from the first edition. In the text below the title, the following changes appear in the 1863 edition: The prices in the present edition have been lowered. The warranty statement that was in the 1862 edition has been omitted (“Warranted correct, or the money refunded”). The following cautionary note has been added to the 1863 edition: “The public are cautioned against another ‘Lloyd,’ by which name he hopes to deceive the public with spurious ‘Lloyd’s Maps.’ This man’s maps are engraved coarsely on wood and very erroneous. He follows us with an imitation of every map we issue....” Also added to this 1863 edition is the Explanation, with symbols of railroads, forts, wagon roads, mines, etc. The list of available maps differs in the 1862 and 1863 editions. The 1863 edition adds below the title in the third column a notice that Lloyd’s New P.O. Directory of the U.S. and Canada up to March 4, 1863, will be available to subscribers. A formal statement dated February 10, 1863, is included, wherein the U.S. Post Office grants permission for the directory to be published.

     Some changes have been made to the map proper. For example, of particular interest for the Civil War is the addition of “Grants Vicksburg Cut-Off” [better known as Grant’s Canal], a failed attempt by General Grant to widen the Williams Canal across the De Soto Peninsula in order to bypass the Confederate batteries guarding the river at Walnut Hills and Vicksburg proper. The project was abandoned in March 1863. Both editions of the map show 1862 Civil War actions along the Mississippi, including Warrenton “Destroyed by Gun Boats June 1862,” Grand Gulf “Shelled by Gun Boats May 18, 1862,” the Confederate batteries defending Vicksburg and Walnut Hill (where Sherman was repulsed in 1862), “Johnsons [i.e. Johnson] killed 1862,” etc.
     Babinski remarks that the map “is quite possibly the most detailed map of the Mississippi from the 1860s [and] was republished in 1875 in a long strip form” (The Mark Babinski Collection of Maps & Atlases, Swann Sale 2060:142, December 8, 2005, an uncolored version of the 1863 map mounted on cloth, with another map mounted on verso, varnished and on wooden dowels). The Babinksi copy is the only other auction record we find for any edition of the map. The only other offering on the open market we find is Goodspeed’s listing of a water-stained copy of the 1863 map in 1946 at $5.00.

     In 1856 and 1862 Lloyd compiled directories of steamboats in the U.S. which included a history of steamboating in the United States (Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, and Disasters on the Western Waters; Containing the History of the First Application of Steam as a Motive Power, the Lives of J. Fitch and R. Fulton...). Lloyd describes the hazards of early steamboating but assures the reader that travel by that mode is much safer now. Among the register of pilots in the 1856 directory is William Bowen, who is credited on the present map as a co-creator, along with Bartholomew Bowen. See Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers (revised edition) Vol. I, p. 177 (Bowens) & III, p. 145 (Lloyd, with mention of many of Lloyd’s maps of various parts of the United States, but the present map is not noted). The Bowens worked with Lloyd to compile and update the steamboat directory and this map. Map publisher Lloyd had offices in London and New York.

     The publisher was able to use a fairly new technology to produce this map. Although lithography had been discovered at the turn of the century, transfer lithography from engraved plates really came into its own in the second half of the nineteenth century, when steam power was adapted to lithographic printing. A printer could produce about twelve prints an hour from an intaglio plate, perhaps fifty an hour using a manual lithographic press, but about a thousand or more using a steam press, which enabled prints to be produced cheaply and rapidly by simply printing from an intaglio plate onto lithographic transfer paper and then placing the same image on stone.

     According to the Bancroft project on the definitive scholarly edition of Samuel L. Clemens’ complete works, one of Twain’s sources for Huckleberry Finn was Lloyd’s Map of the Lower Mississippi. An exhibit on Huckleberry Finn at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco included Lloyd’s map of the Lower Mississippi. As is well known,Clemens was a successful steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River from 1857 until the beginning of the Civil War in 1861.


Auction 23 Abstracts

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

DSRB Home | e-mail: