SCARCE BATTLE PLAN OF CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
An Exact Plan of Charleston Bar and Harbour. From an Actual Survey. With the Attack on Fort Sulivan, on the 28th of June 1776, By His Majesty’s Squadron, Commanded by Sir Peter Parker. London, January 1, 1791.
20” x 27 3/4”. Uncolored copperplate engraving. Very good condition with minor signs of age.
This is the second state of a very scarce Revolutionary War battle plan that details the first British attack on Charleston. In the Spring of 1776, a large fleet under the command of Sir Henry Clinton appeared before the city, and on the 28th of June it launched a furious naval bombardment on Fort Sullivan. A force had already been placed on Long Island with the intention of crossing the channel to neighboring Sullivan’s Island to launch a simultaneous attack on the fort by land. The naval attack was a failure, and the land forces never crossed, discovering the depth of the channel to be seven feet rather than the eighteen inches they expected. The result was a major British defeat. Sayer’s map, which shows the town, the harbor, and their environs, is one of the most pictorial battle maps of the period. Charleston is shown in bird’s-eye view, and a number of plantation houses are shown in side view and named by owner. The whole of the map is dotted with miniature trees, sailing ships, and other appealing details. The map was the source for Le Rouge’s map, published in Paris, 1778 (see Nebenzahl, Bibliography, #69). Examples of the map in either state were included in some editions of the North American Pilot, one of the rarest of all atlases relating to the war. This second state has been heavily revised to show new information received after the publication of the first in August 1776. The entrance to Charleston Harbor is now labeled “Rebellion Road.” The bombarding British fleet before Fort Sullivan has been repositioned. The channel between Sullivan’s and Long Island has been redrawn in greater detail to give a better idea of the difficulties Clinton faced in his attempted crossing. The American entrenchments at the north end of Sullivan’s island have been added for the first time. The breakers before the entrance to the harbor have been extensively redrawn, with numerous new depth soundings added in.
Nebenzahl, Atlas of the American Revolution, #7; Bibliography of Printed Battle Plans, #65.
Inventory No. 7728