Colton’s 1863 Pocket Map of North Carolina
With Outstanding Provenance-Property of a Union Human Shield
138. [MAP]. COLTON, J. H. Colton's New Topographical Map of the Eastern Portion of the State of North Carolina with Part of Virginia & South Carolina from the Latest & Best Authorities. Published by J. H. Colton, No. 172 William St. N.Y. 1863 [copyright below and left of title] Entered according to Act of Congress in the Year 1860 by J. H. Colton in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York [imprint below and right of title] Printed by Lang & Cooper 117 Fulton St. N.Y. [inset between map proper and lower ornate border] Plan of the Sea Coast from Virginia to Florida [copyright notice for inset map, above lower neat line] Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1860 by J. H. Colton in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York [imprint below and right of title] Printed by Lang & Cooper 117 Fulton St. N.Y. (12 x 63.1 cm) [top left above border] No. 11. New York, 1863. Lithograph map on bank note paper, full original hand color, ornate border with botanical motif (sheaves of wheat and flowers), numerous types of ships at sea, border to border: 102 x 68.9 cm. Folded into pocket covers (16 x 10.5 cm), original brown cloth, lettered in gilt on upper cover (Colton's New Topographical Map of the Eastern Portion of the State of North Carolina. Published by J. H. Colton New York), both covers blind-embossed, printed yellow leaf (Colton’s ad and list of publications) affixed to verso of front board: Maps, Atlases, and Statistical Works, J. H. Colton.... Bookseller’s decorative white label printed in red (Geo. W. Hildreth, News Agent and Bookseller Pollock St. Four doors east of Middle St. Newbern N. Carolina. Signed in ink: “W. C. Maxwell Lt. Col. 103 P[ennsylvania] V[olunteers].” With Maxwell’s printed ownership label (W. C. Maxwell). Map with a few clean splits at folds with exceedingly minor loss at two or three splits) and some light foxing at lower part of map, overall the map is fine with brilliant coloring and incredible detail. Pocket folder shows signs of use (no surprise given the provenance of this copy; see next paragraph), waterstaining with slight buckling (affects lower cover more), extremities and corners frayed, interior endpaper separated at gutter and with some chipping.
Provenance: Lieutenant Colonel Wilson C. Maxwell. According to various sources, Maxwell, whose birth and death dates seem to be unknown, enlisted in the 103rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, Company I, at age 22 on November 16, 1861, in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. He was a native of Harrisville, Pennsylvania, just east of Youngstown. He was promoted to Captain on February 22, 1861, and to Lieutenant Colonel on March 1, 1862. His regiment was part of the Peninsular Campaign and often suffered disastrous reverses, leading at times to suspicions that its soldiers were unwilling to fight. They were eventually shipped to New Bern, North Carolina (where one may assume Maxwell bought this map, given the bookseller’s label in New Bern), to participate in the campaign to conquer North Carolina. At the first Battle of Kinston, North Carolina, they were instrumental in forcing their way through a swamp to carry a strategic Confederate position.
After their successes around the Kinston and Goldsboro areas, the regiment was sent to occupy what remained of Plymouth, North Carolina, in May, 1863, on the Roanoke River. They fortified the position. However, the CSS Albemarle, one of the two remaining Confederate ironclads in the state, sallied from upriver on April 19, 1864, sunk the USS Southfield and the USS Bombshell, and forced the remaining U.S. naval forces to retire, which basically left the Federal troops surrounded. The next day 2800 Federal troops were surrendered, among them Maxwell, who became a prisoner of war. He was sent to Macon, Georgia, where Federal officers were imprisoned. He was subsequently moved to Charleston, South Carolina, in June 1864, where he was one of the human shields Confederate forces used to try to prevent Federal shelling of the city. He was probably paroled in 1865 as the last Confederate resistance in North Carolina collapsed.
This map (first issued in 1861 <Phillips, p. 619>, and as late as 1864), exhibits the typical grandiose scale, exquisite detail, and splendid coloring of Colton’s series of Civil War maps. Rumsey 3044: “This map is a companion map to Colton's Topographical Map of the Seat of War in Virginia, Maryland, &c..., but on a larger scale (8 miles to an inch vs. 12 miles). It is both highly detailed (railroads, physical features, towns, counties, etc.) and highly decorative (many ships illustrated off the coasts). Map has outline color by state and water painted in blue; inset has full color by state.” Stephenson 304.85. ($1,500-3,000)
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