"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
William Byrd II
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Civil War maps

In 2001, the Virginia Historical Society partnered with the Library of Congress and the Library of Virginia to provide online access to Civil War maps. This collection is open to researchers through the Library of Congress's American Memory website. Featuring introductory text and detailed descriptions of each map, the site allows researchers from across the globe to study maps from the period of that great American conflict. Researchers can also purchase reproductions.

With generous support of former trustee Alan Voorhees, the VHS has provided images of 400 maps to the project.

Search either the American Memory website for Civil War maps from the VHS collections, or access records from the VHS Online Catalog.

Robert K. Sneden

Private Robert Knox Sneden was a mapmaker in the Union army in Virginia until his capture in 1863. He was in Confederate prison camps for thirteen months. After the war he wrote a lengthy memoir based on his wartime diaries. Sneden also painted hundreds of watercolors based on wartime sketches and paintings. Some of his artwork was published in two volumes: Eye of the Storm (2000) and Images from the Storm (2001).  Purchase Images from the Storm (2001) from our museum shop.

Illustrations from Sneden's diary (Mss5:1 Sn237:1) can be browsed using the online finding aid.

Sneden's life and work can be explored further in The Sneden Civil War Collection.

More than 300 maps, painted in watercolor by Union private Robert K. Sneden, are now available on the Library of Congress's American Memory web site. These maps provide extraordinary and detailed perspectives on battlefields in Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Maryland, and other states. View them here

"Gilmer Maps"

In 2005, we announced several new additions to American Memory's online Civil War map database. Among them is a collection of maps produced by the engineer bureau of the Confederate States War Department.

West Point graduate and engineer in the prewar U.S. Army, Jeremy Francis Gilmer was chief of the engineer bureau of the Confederate War Department in September 1862 and held the position through the end of the war, rising to the rank of major general.

In addition to the supervision of wartime construction projects, including bridge construction and harbor fortification, Gilmer oversaw the production of maps for use by the Confederate military.

Gilmer saved a number of the maps produced under his supervision from the flames that destroyed a large portion of Richmond in 1865. The bulk of the society's collection of sixty-seven of these so-called "Gilmer Maps" are among those salvaged by the general himself. His daughter, Louisa Porter (Gilmer) Minis donated sixty-three to the society in 1911, the other four came into the collection by other means.

Black and white reproductions of these maps are also available for purchase from the VHS Pusey Museum Shop.