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Collection Hotchkiss Map Collection

The Hotchkiss Collection of Confederate Maps

by Clara LeGear

Jedediah Hotchkiss was born at Windsor, Broome County, N. Y., November 30, 1828. He was graduated from the Windsor Academy and early showed great interest in botany and in geology. In the winter of 1846-47, he taught school in Lykens Valley near Harrisburg, Pa., in a community where coal mines were being opened. In his spare time, he studied the geology of the anthracite region. The following summer, in company with another teacher, he made a walking tour of the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania, the Piedmont region of Maryland, and the Valley of Virginia, as well as the Blue Ridge, little realizing how well he was preparing himself for his life's work. About this time he made the acquaintance of Henry Forrer, owner and operator of one of the large iron smelters near Luray, whose interest in mining and mineral resources awakened the enthusiasm that later absorbed so much of Hotchkiss's energy. That fall he tutored in the family of Daniel Forrer at Mossy Creek, Va., and for the next ten years was principal of the Mossy Creek Academy. In 1858 he resigned to organize the Loch Willow School for Boys at Churchville, Augusta County, which flourished until the outbreak of the war. For two years after the war, Major Hotchkiss kept a school at Staunton and thereafter opened an office as topographical and mining engineer, which he continued until his death in 1899.

Major Hotchkiss's postwar activities and interests, too numerous to record here, are reflected in his voluminous correspondence, diaries, and papers. He wrote The Battlefields of Virginia-Chancellorsville with William Allen in 1867; The Geography of Virginia in 1876, published in many subsequent editions; and “Virginia”, volume 3 of the Confederate Military History, edited by C. A. Evans, in 1899. He edited The Virginias, a Mining, Industrial and Scientific Journal from 1880 to 1885. He compiled an Historical Atlas of Augusta County, Virginia, 1885, made many surveys, compiled and published maps, and wrote papers and pamphlets in the interest of developing the resources of the Virginias. In 1872 and again in 1874 he visited Great Britain and was influential in getting millions of northern and foreign capital invested in the development of his beloved State. He lectured on many occasions, organized the Stonewall Jackson Camp of Confederate Veterans, and was an ardent supporter of the Second Presbyterian Church and the Young Men's Christian Association in Staunton. His whole life merits the words of commendation General Jackson said to him on occasion, "Good, very good."

The Hotchkiss collection contains some 600 maps, of which 340 are manuscript, relating principally to Virginia and West Virginia between 1861 and 1865. Many of them also reflect the postwar activities of Hotchkiss in the development of mines, railroads, and towns in both of these states. A number of the manuscript maps are annotated to show that they were actually used by Generals Lee and Jackson in planning their campaigns.

In addition to maps made by or under the direction of Hotchkiss, the collection includes a number of manuscript copies of Virginia county maps made under the direction of Maj. Albert H. Campbell, who was in charge of the Topographical Department, Confederate States Army. These maps are copies of some of the "Lost War Maps of the Confederates" about which Major Campbell wrote in the Century Magazine (vol. 35, 1888, p. 479-481) in protest against the many published criticisms that suitable maps had not been available to Confederate commanders. Major Campbell conceded that there was a lack. of maps at the start of the war but explained that General Lee, upon taking command of the army, took steps to organize a topographical bureau for procuring accurate maps for his own use and that of his commanders. Major Campbell, being placed in charge, organized the work of surveying each county in detail and of preparing maps on comparatively large scales, giving due credit to the heads of field corps in the titles of the maps. When Richmond was evacuated on the night of April 2, 1865, Major Campbell packed up the master maps of the Engineer Office and placed them on an archive train bound for Raleigh, N. C., in the charge of an engineer officer and a draughtsman. He never thereafter learned of their whereabouts. It is particularly gratifying that the Hotchkiss collection contains copies of a number of these official Confederate maps not hitherto represented among "The Gilmer-Campbell Maps" described by Lawrence Martin in Noteworthy Maps . . . Accessions (of the Library of Congress) for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1926 (Washington, 1927, p. 7-17). Many of the Hotchkiss manuscripts are so finely drawn as to give the appearance of printed maps. Much of the coloring was done with pencils, red being used for roads, blue for water, green for wooded areas, and brown for hachures indicating topography. On the larger-scale maps, dwellings and the names of their occupants are shown, as well as churches, mills, blacksmith shops, stores, railroad stations, courthouses, and post offices.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Jedediah Hotchkiss offered his services to Gen. Richard S. Garnett as topographical engineer and on July 2, 1861, was assigned to duty under Col. M. M. Heck on Rich Mountain. Immediately, he began a survey of Camp Garnett and vicinity. A copy of the resulting map, in this collection, may be his first war map. The position was attacked by McClellan's troops and evacuated on a rainy night. Hotchkiss, serving as adjutant on the retreat, led the troops over mountains and through swamps When General Lee reorganized the army in the following month, Hotchkiss joined him at Valley Mountain and worked feverishly on a map of Tygart Valley for Lee's campaign. Although confined by an attack of typhoid fever for some weeks, he made maps while convalescing for the reports of the officers who conducted the Rich Mountain and Tygart Valley campaigns. In March 1862 he was assigned to the staff of Gen. T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson, as topographical engineer of the Valley District, Department of Virginia, with the rank of captain. His map of the Battle of Kernstown (March 23, 1862), made shortly after his arrival, has been preserved.

Complying with General Jackson's comprehensive instructions to "Prepare a map showing all points of offense and defense in the Shenandoah Valley from the Potomac to Lexington" he produced a masterpiece, performing this difficult task in record time. His familiarity with the region and his great facility in sketching were contributory factors in this notable accomplishment, for which he received high praise from General Jackson. The map is drawn on tracing linen, on the scale of 1:80,000, measuring 7 1/2 x 3 feet, and is in an excellent state of preservation. Showing an infinite: amount of detail useful for military tactics, it was frequently laid before Confederate commanders who were planning troop movements. When the Hotchkiss Collection was acquired in 1948, the original manuscript drawing of the Shenandoah Valley map was on loan to the Handley Library of Winchester, Va. Following the death in October 1963 of Mr. Eddy, librarian, Mrs. Christian recalled the map from the Handley Library. In fulfillment of her wish that the Shenandoah map be reunited with the other Hotchkiss maps, she presented this historic and cartographic treasure to the Library of Congress in 1964.

Another remarkable item in the collection is Hotchkiss's field sketchbook. The cover bears this annotation over his signature: "This volume is my field sketch book that I used during the Civil War. Most of the sketches were made on horseback just as they now appear. The colored pencils used were kept in the places fixed for them on the outside of the cover. These topographical sketches were often used in conferences with Generals Jackson, Ewell and Early . . . ." The more than 100 pages of delicately executed sketches reveal an extraordinary ability and an artistic hand. How such fine work could be done in the saddle remains a marvel to everyone who examines it. The flyleaf and the first pages show positions on the Cedar Run Battlefield, dated March 23, 1862. The majority of the maps relate. to various sections of the Valley of Virginia, centering on the Valley turnpike. Others show sections of the Blue Ridge, Massanutten, Powell's Fort Valley, and the road between Dawsonville and Darnestown in Montgomery County, Md., as well as regions in Virginia around Chancellorsville, Winchester, Orange County, Bristoe Station, and Warrenton.

Hotchkiss was directed on numerous occasions to choose lines of defense, to select troop positions for important engagements, and to. perform other arduous and often extremely dangerous duties, all of which were faithfully executed. He was constantly on the move and more than once narrowly escaped capture. One night he rode 60 miles to block a mountain pass and at another time he rode 46 miles to report the progress of battle. He took an active part in the Battle of Winchester, May 25, 1862, riding with Jackson at the head of his troops and rallying the citizens to put out the fires started during the battle. His original map of troop movements on this day is preserved at the Handley Library. Several days later, he plotted troop position around Richmond, as shown on a captured Federal map. On June 9, he led General Taylor's brigade in a flank movement at Port Republic and also in the attack that decided the battle. His map of the battlefield showing troop positions is in the collection.

When General Jackson went to Richmond, Hotchkiss went to Staunton to prepare a map of the Piedmont region for the Pope campaign. The collection includes several undated maps which may have been made at this time. Hotchkiss rejoined the army at Gordonsville, which he subsequently mapped; he was also at Cedar Mountain, in the Rappahannock operations, and at Chantilly, maps of which are represented in the collection. Later he was in the first Maryland campaign with General Jackson, blew up the Monocacy River bridge, and guided Gen. J. E. B. Stuart by concealed roads from Sharpsburg to Shepherdstown, for which General Jackson commended him to the Secretary of War for promotion.

Continual sketching, note-taking, and map-drawing filled the days of Captain Hotchkiss. While serving on Jackson's staff at the time of the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 12, 1862, he aided in planning troop positions. During the winter of 1862-63 at Moss Neck, he made numerous reports and maps to accompany them, including a large map of the lower Rappahannock showing the lines of the Second Corps.

In the spring of 1863, at the request of General Jackson, Hotchkiss secretly made a map extending "from the Rappahannock to Philadelphia." Attached to it are two labels: "Map made by Capt. Jed. Hotchkiss at Moss Neck-by order of Gen. T. J. Jackson," and "Used by Gen. R. E. Lee in the famous Gettysburg campaign." It is probably the most beautifully executed map in the entire collection, measuring 52 by 32 inches and containing a great amount of detail, so finely drawn as to be remarkably clear. It is represented in the Library of Congress collection by a photostat, the original being in the Handley Library.

Captain Hotchkiss reported to General Lee that General Jackson had been wounded at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. Two days later he escorted the ambulance carrying General Jackson to Guiney's Station (Guinea), Va. At General Lee's request Captain Hotchkiss prepared complete maps of the Chancellorsville campaign, on which all subsequent maps have been based. The collection contains several maps made on this occasion.

While serving on General Ewell's staff, Hotchkiss prepared maps of the Second Battle of Winchester, June 13-15, 1863. He was in the first day's Battle of Gettysburg and then was ordered to watch and report from Seminary Ridge. A copy of the map of Gettysburg he made to accompany General Ewell's report is. in the collection. A little later he prepared a "Sketch of Routes of the 2nd Corps A. N. Virginia, from Fredericksburg, Va., to Gettysburg, Pa., and return to Orange C. H., Va. June 4th, to August 1st, 1863," on the scale of 1 inch to 10 miles; this is likewise preserved in the collection. His map of the engagement at Bristoe Station was made after. that action on October 14, 1863.

General Lee frequently required maps of Captain Hotchkiss and expressed great confidence in them. In the spring of 1864 he ordered Hotchkiss to select a line of defense and, in carrying this out, Hotchkiss rode hundreds of miles. The resulting report was specially complimented by General Lee and was adopted in large part. One of Hotchkiss's most strenuous feats was to sketch under heavy fire, in one day, the 10-mile long line held by General Lee from the Chickahominy to the Totopotomoy and to deliver. the map to the general that evening. A map answering this description is contained in the collection.

Captain Hotchkiss remained with the Second Corps when General Early took command and served on his staff in the Lynchburg-Monocacy-Washington and the Valley campaigns. A number of the maps in the collection reflect these activities.

During the winter of 1864-65, Hotchkiss prepared beautifully illustrated reports of the operationsof the Second Corps and made more than 100 maps for General Lee and other officers. The collection contains a manuscript report illustrated by an atlas of 63 plates of finely drawn maps of the Second Corps's camps, marches, and engagements during the campaign of 1864.

Major Hotchkiss was on the staff of General Early when General Sheridan attacked at Waynesboro and had to flee over the Blue Ridge, barely escaping capture. He was with General Rosser at Lynchburg when General Lee surrendered. Having sent his maps to a hiding place, he went home at once and was paroled on May 1, 1865 at Staunton, where he moved his family shortly thereafter. Later that year he was arrested and his maps were demanded by order of General Grant. He hurried to Washington and, in an interview with General Grant, protested against the confiscation of his maps, offering to make copies of any that were needed. General Grant ordered the maps returned and paid for copying all he desired to use in illustrating his reports. When the official documents of the Civil War were being prepared for publication, Major Hotchkiss supplied a number of the maps which were included in the atlas accompanying the Official Records o f the Rebellion.

The Library of Congress acquired in 1948 the maps, diaries, correspondence, and private papers of Maj. Jedediah Hotchkiss. A topographical engineer in the Confederate States Army attached to Gen. Stonewall Jackson's staff, Hotchkiss was also an educator and a promoter of Virginia's natural resources. The late C. Vernon Eddy, then librarian of the Handley Library at Winchester, Va., learned of the existence of this collection some years ago, and, after a number of visits to Staunton and extended negotiations, was instrumental in having it listed and removed to fireproof quarters. Subsequently, it was placed at the disposal of the late Douglas S. Freeman, who made numerous references to the Hotchkiss papers in his Lee's Lieutenants. The collection was acquired by the Library, of Congress from Mrs. R. E. Christian, of Deerfield, Va., Major Hotchkiss's last surviving descendant.

A catalog of The Hotchkiss Map Collection, compiled by Mrs. LeGear, was published by the Library of Congress in 1951. It is out of print, but copies may be examined in many large reference libraries.

A comprehensive list of Civil War Maps, compiled by Richard W. Stephenson, is a 1961 publication of the Library's Geography and Map Division. Both Union and Confederate maps are described.

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LeGear, Clara."The Hotchkiss Collection of Confederate Maps." Reproduced from Library of Congress Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions 6 (November 1948): 16-20