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Posts Tagged ‘maps’

This is a large file at a low resolution. Click on the links below for much sharper images.

Fort Powhatan situated on the James River is highlighted with a “star (a blue square with spokes) on the upper portion of this map. The Library of Virginia has the original map in its collection and a digital version on its website. There’s another digital image of the map on the Library of Congress website.

The catalog record at the Library of Congress includes these notes:
“-  “May 26th 1862.”
–  Shows roads, railroads, towns and rivers.
–  This item is in the Map Collection of the Library of Virginia; please contact the Library’s Archives Research Services department for more information.
–  Title from accompanying envelope.
–  Available also through the Library of Congress web site as raster image.
–  Source unknown; April 2004, Map Cataloging Team.
–  Civil War project no.: lva00202.
–  Conservation: Etherington Conservation Center, April 2004.
–  Digital image available: 17 x 9.5 in.
–  Map accession no. 5274.”

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The original map is at the Library of Virginia and a digital image is available at the Library of Congress website.


The catalog record on the website explains that the map was created by Charles E. Cassell and published in 1861. It depicts landowners in Norfolk and Portsmouth. It also shows “public property, landowners, vegetation, streets, railroads, and includes Fort Norfolk.”


Note also that the wharves are named.

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The African American Experience of Northeastern North Carolina (AAENENC) is “a collaborative project between six counties NC counties that include: Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Pasquotank, Perquimans.” The website includes links to an interactive map of historic sites in the region, county tourism websites, news and events, and the opportunity to submit an historic site for inclusion.

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The African American Heritage & Culture of North Carolina Digital Asset Map “identifies locations of significant natural and cultural value to Black and African American people across North Carolina’s history.”
— “Mapping Black History and Heritage in North Carolina,” North Carolina African American Heritage Commission




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This landownership map of Norfolk County was published in 1887. The former County’s origins and development is described in the Library of Congress catalog record:
“Norfolk County was a county of the South Hampton Roads in eastern Virginia, created in 1691. After the Civil War, portions of Norfolk County were lost and the territory became parts of the cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth and South Norfolk. In 1963, the remaining portions of Norfolk County were consolidated with the much smaller city of South Norfolk to form Chesapeake, Virginia.”

For more information check out the Norfolk County Historical Society of Chesapeake, Virginia.

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The text in the catalog record states that this map shows “fortifications, settlements, roads, railroads, canals, streams, swamps, and distances.”

The text in the collar states “Military Considerations — The N’th Carolina inland waters being in our possession, and NORFOLK deprived of the use of the Canals and her dependence now being upon the two rail roads for connection with the south, via Petersburg and Richmond and Weldon, it is a once seen from the map, that Suffolk on the Nansemond becomes the Strategic point for reducing Norfolk. There are two ways for military operations upon Suffolk which I will briefly notice; first let Fort Monroe & New Ports News be the Base of Operations, with Gunboats destroy the few batteries on the Nansemond, and land two divisions – one on either siede [sic] of the Nansemond where the turnpike is seen to come to both banks, about 8 miles up from its mouth: each division then marching by land directly upon Suffolk, one fighting its ways against the forces coming down from Petersburg or from those coming by way of James River; and the other division fighting its way against all forces coming from the direction of Norfolk: Out two divisions would then be able to occupy and hold Suffolk and we should have the Nansemond which carries 8 feet of water quite up to Suffolk for the furnishing of supplies by steamboats to our army at Suffolk.”

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I’m from the area. I’ve examined a lot of maps of Hampton Roads. Nothing prepared me for this 1780s map. This map is upside-down!

Maps typically place the north compass point at “the top of the page.” When that’s the case, the coastline of Virginia Beach is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on the right. You’d find Portsmouth on the west side of the Elizabeth River and you’d find Norfolk on the east side of the Elizabeth River. But in this map Norfolk and Portsmouth have switched places and the Atlantic Ocean is depicted on the left

When you link to this map at the Library of Congress website, use the rotational arrows to orient yourself i.e. place north at “the top of the page.” You might also want to download the TIFF file for a clear view of the details.

Text from the catalog record indicates that this map is actually two sheets pasted together. Another digital image of the original is in the William Clements Library at the University of Michigan where it’s described as “Finished, topographical, pen and ink map showing the primary roads, rivers, and towns, with the namse (sic) of some plantation owners.”

Accessed July 12, 2021

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The Isle of Wight County, Virginia website hosts this map and several others. You have the option to click on this image.


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I wanted to emphasize the degree of detail in Gilmer maps so I linked this image to the TIFF file on the Library of Congress website. Smaller files are available on the map’s main page. Text from the catalog record indicates that it shows “roads, waterwys, structures, towns and land owners, railroads and geographic features.”

The Gilmer Civil War Maps Collections at the University at North Carolina includes “161 maps representative of the entire southern region, with particularly large groupings of North Carolina and Virginia maps. Most of the maps are dated 1861-1865.”

The same map can also be viewed with other digitized maps in the USMA [United States Military Academy] Library Digital Collection that come from the USMA Library Special Collections. The digital image (color) is displayed upside-down — probably a human error. Just use the rotation areas to correct it.

All websites were accessed July 5, 2021.

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dismalswamp-1

Written in 1886 by Edward Pollock, this volume is a example of the municipal boosterism popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The Sketch Book has an illustrated cover and a map of Suffolk. It was the author’s hope that it would “accomplish its desired purpose and prove abundantly instrumental in furthering the commercial and social interests of Suffolk and her enterprising citizens.”

Pollock wrote “[t]he Town of Suffolk lies in Nansemond County, Virginia of which it is the County Seat. It enjoys exceptional advantages as a business centre and distributing point, being situated on the main lines of the Seaboard & Roanoke and the Norfolk & Western Railroads, and being itself the northern terminus of the Suffolk & Carolina and the Suffolk Lumber Company’s narrow gauge lines, both of which penetrate the rich agricultural and timber lands for which this portion of Eastern Virginia and the adjoining counties in North Carolina have long been famous. Suffolk, moreover, is situated at the head of navigation on the Nansemond River, which is sufficiently deep at this point to admit vessels drawing fourteen feet of water.”

Some of Pollock’s subjects were “Nat Turner’s Insurrection,” “Fatal Railroad Accidents,” “The Late Unpleasantness,” “The Shingle Trade,” and “Oyster Packing.” Biographical tidbits appear throughout the book and brief profiles of prominent men are gathered at the end.

See “Map of Nansemond County and Adjoining Counties Virginia” (posted March 22, 2021) for a sidebar about similar promotional literature.

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