Personal Maps

"[Rough sketch map of Fredericksburg, accompanying letter from Henry Ropes to John C. Ropes, December 18, 1862], " 1862. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library Rare Books Department.

Among the most unique and interesting Civil War maps are relatively unknown manuscript maps drawn by individual soldiers during the war. Intended for a very limited and personal audience, such maps can be discovered in a variety of media, including daily journals, letters home, or even autograph books. Invaluable insights about military life and detailed eye witness accounts of individual battles can be gleaned from letters that soldiers sent to loved ones at home. Letters home could also include rough sketch maps of individual battles. A more unusual source for a manuscript map is an autograph book, which soldiers sometimes assembled as personal mementos of their fellow combatants.