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  • Set of Three John B. Bachelder, 1876 Maps of the Battlefield of Gettysburg

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    Set of Three John B. Bachelder, 1876 Maps of the Battlefield of Gettysburg - These are the 1876, first edition of John B. Bachelder’s three-part set of Battlefield of Gettysburg maps, July 1st, 2nd, 3rd 1863.  This is one of the finest early depictions of the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil, believed by many to have marked the turning point of the Civil War.  This scarce and desirable set is the ultimate for students of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Of all the people who wrote about the Battle of Gettysburg in the years after the famous engagement, John B. Bachelder was by far the most important.

    The maps are subtitled First Day's Battle, Second Day's Battle, and Third Day's Battle. The 1876 versions were reduced from one drawn in 1863 that is in the Archives of the Chief of Engineers. The survey was ordered by Brevet Major General A. A. Humphreys, Chief of Engineers, and conducted under Brevet Major General G. K. Warren, Major of Engineers. The troop positions on the maps were compiled and added by John Badger Bachelder (Boston, MA) for the 1876 edition. These are extremely detailed topographic maps with spot elevations and contours for every change of 4 feet in elevation. Details drainage, vegetation, roads, railroads, fences, houses with names of residents, and a detailed plan of the town of Gettysburg.   Notes at upper right indicate that "Every object is represented here as near as possible as it was at the time of the battle."  Gives a detailed analysis of the deployment of the various units of both armies. Dotted lines and arrows indicate troop position and movement.  Great clarity and very legible. 

    Map 1: Map of the battle field of Gettysburg. July 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 1863.  Published by authority of the Hon. the Secretary of War, office of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1876.  Positions of troops compiled and added for the Government by John B. Bachelder. Bachelder, John B. (John Badger), 1825-1894. . CREATED/PUBLISHED Boston, John B. Bachelder, 1876. NOTES Scale 1:12,000. "Topography engraved by Julia Bien . . . N.Y. Positions & lettering by Louis E. Neuman . . . N.Y." "Printed by Endicott & Co. . . . N.Y."

    Map 2: Map of the battle field of Gettysburg. July 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 1863 Published by authority of the Hon. the Secretary of War, office of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1876. Positions of troops compiled and added for the Government by John B. Bachelder.  Bachelder, John B. (John Badger), 1825-1894. . CREATED/PUBLISHED Boston, John B. Bachelder, 1876. NOTES Scale 1:12,000. "Topography engraved by Julia Bien . . . N.Y. Positions & lettering by Louis E. Neuman . . . N.Y." "Printed by Endicott & Co. . . . N.Y."

    Map 3: Map of the battle field of Gettysburg. July 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 1863 Published by authority of the Hon. the Secretary of War, office of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1876. Positions of troops compiled and added for the Government by John B. Bachelder.  Bachelder, John B. (John Badger), 1825-1894. . CREATED/PUBLISHED Boston, John B. Bachelder, 1876. NOTES Scale 1:12,000. "Topography engraved by Julia Bien . . . N.Y. Positions & lettering by Louis E. Neuman . . . N.Y." "Printed by Endicott & Co. . . . N.Y."

    John Bachelder (1825-1894) was a painter, lithographer, photographer and historian. Early in his career he produced an important and appealing body of work depicting sites and cities in the northeastern United States. On his own initiative he traveled to Gettysburg immediately after the battle, where he spent no fewer than 84 days traversing the field, making sketches, and interviewing witnesses to the events. Later that year he published a spectacular and detailed bird’s-eye view of Gettysburg, his first published depiction of the battlefield. He went on to become the preeminent 19th-century historian of the battle and for years served as director of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association.

    John Badger Bachelder (September 29, 1825 – December 22, 1894) was a portrait and landscape painter, lithographer, and photographer, but best known as the preeminent 19th-century historian of the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War. He was a dominant factor in the preservation and memorialization of the Gettysburg Battlefield in the latter part of the century.

    Bachelder was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire.  He was educated at Captain Alden Partridge's Military School in Pembroke and then at an academy in Gilmanton. He eventually moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, to work at a school that would later become known as the Pennsylvania Military Institute, becoming its principal in 1851. He became involved with the Pennsylvania state militia and was appointed a colonel in 1852, a title that was associated with him the rest of his life.

    In 1853 Bachelder returned to New Hampshire, where he married Elizabeth Barber Stevens, and began his career as an artist. Elizabeth was a niece to Gen. Benjamin Butler. From his brief association with military topics, he retained a lifelong interest in them, and when the Civil War began in 1861, he was already collecting notes on Bunker Hill, planning to paint an accurate rendition of the battle. When he realized that reliable materials were hard to locate, he decided to accompany the Union Army of the Potomac in hopes of being present at a decisive battle. There, he would be able to examine the topography of the battlefield, interview participants, and publish a written and illustrated history of the battle.

    Bachelder was a welcome accompaniment to the Army, as evidenced by a number of letters in his personal papers from prominent generals who complimented him on his work. For example, Brig. Gen. John C. Caldwell wrote in early 1863, "At Fair Oaks, Virginia, I frequently met Mr. Bachelder, at that time making sketches of various phases of the Battle of Seven Pines and Fair Oaks. Several of the sketches were shown to me, and I think them by far the most accurate of any I have ever seen."

    Bachelder's most noted work, which would occupy a good portion of the remainder of his life, was after the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1–3, 1863. He studied the terrain via horseback and drew an isometric map of the battlefield. He visited field hospitals, interviewed wounded soldiers of both armies, and determined the position on his map of every unit engaged in the battle. That fall he published a panoramic view of Gettysburg. During visits to the Army's winter quarters, he claims to have interviewed the commanders of every regiment and battery in the Army of the Potomac. He later organized reunions on the field and accompanied veterans over the terrain and placed wooden stakes into the ground to identify important points of the battle.

    In 1870, noted artist James Walker was commissioned by Bachelder to paint an account of Pickett's Charge, entitled "The Repulse of Longstreet's Assault at the Battle of Gettysburg," a massive work that measured 7.5 by 20 feet. Bachelder wrote an accompanying guidebook and toured widely with the canvas, lecturing across the United States. In 1873, he published a guidebook to the battle, which was well received by the public.

    Bachelder's contribution to Gettysburg was more than artistic. From 1883 to 1887, he served in the position as Superintendent of Tablets and Legends for the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, and is probably responsible more than any man for the placement of monuments and battlefield markers, both Union and Confederate. He coined the phrase "Copse of Trees" and invented the concept of a "High Water Mark of the Confederacy" at which the famous Pickett's Charge peaked. All but a few monuments on the battlefield bear some of his influence.

    In 1880, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed into law a bill that provided $50,000 to Bachelder to write a detailed history of the battle of Gettysburg. Bachelder based his manuscript on the Official Records and the interviews he had done, but he has been criticized by some historians because his personal interviews, which would be considered more accurate than reports compiled years after the event, affected only about 10% of the 2,550 pages that he sent to Washington in October 1886. Southern historians also complained that he chose to interview very few Confederate officers.

    Bachelder's activities at Gettysburg were described in detail by Senator Wade Hampton of South Carolina on March 17, 1880, in a report to the Senate from its Military Affairs Committee:

    It appears that Mr. Bachelder, having the advantage of a military education, and love of history, went to the front early in 1862, more than a year before the battle of Gettysburg, to be in a position to collect data when the most important battle of the War was fought. After working up the details of several engagements, he reached the battlefield of Gettysburg before the dead were buried, remaining for eighty-four days, making plans of the field, visiting the wounded in hospital, and by permission taking the convalescent officers over the field, by whom their positions and movements were pointed out and established. During this period books full of notes from these actors were secured within a few weeks of the battle. With this information and sketches thus secured, he visited the Army of the Potomac, spending the winter of 1863–64 in consultation with the officers of every regiment and battery, whose conversations and explanations were carefully noted and preserved. At the close of the war, Mr. Bachelder issued an invitation to the many officers whose acquaintance he had made to visit Gettysburg with him for historical purposes, which was accepted by over one thousand; forty-nine of them generals commanding. From the acquaintance thus secured has resulted, during the past sixteen years, a most valuable correspondence regarding the battle of Gettysburg.

    — Senator Wade Hampton, March 17, 1880, Report of U.S. Senate Military Affairs Committee

    Bachelder died of pneumonia in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, in 1894. His body was then transported the 79 miles to be buried alongside his only child, Charlotte who had died at age 13. Their graves are located in a small family cemetery on Stevens Hill Road in Nottingham, New Hampshire, close to the family home. His widow, Elizabeth, died in 1914 and was interred alongside her husband and daughter.

    Each map is professionally framed with archival material and ready for display.  Each frame measures 44" x 36". 


    Inventory Number: GRO 002