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The Earliest Acquirable Plan of the Battle of Gettysburg

Battle of Gettyburg. DITTERLINE, T. [New York, 1863 but 1871]
Field Of Gettysburg …Prepared By T. Ditterline. 18 ½ x 14 ¾ inches
Lithograph with original hand color; reinforced at folds with slight losses at intersections, some marginal staining & mend, overall a very good, attractive example. [With pamphlet:] Sketch Of The Battles Of Gettysburg…New York…1871. 24 pp. in original silked paper covers; losses to cover & first 4 leaves but no missing printed surface.


This striking, oval-shaped plan provided the American public with its first detailed and accurate visual account of one of the most significant battles in American history. It is accompanied by a pamphlet that provides an in-depth, chronological account of the complex battle. Offered here is the very rare second edition of both works, which we have not previously encountered. Ditterline asserted that this work was based solely on eyewitness, first hand accounts. With its clear, color-coded presentation of the alignment of forces, his plan, in which the three-day battle has been compressed into a single image, still stands as one of the most accessible as well as attractive of the battle ever produced. Despite the limitations imposed by this format, the plan effectively captures both the enormous scale of the sweeping battle as well as the fundamental tactical positions, from the preliminary encounter on July 1 in the hills northwest of town to the climactic “Pickett’s Charge” against the Union center on the 3rd, along with intervening events. George W. Childs, founder and editor of the Philadelphia Public Ledger, said of this work: “I have examined the map and compared it with some others of the same locality, and think it much the best. My opinion is shared by several officers who were in the battle.”

Cf. Stephenson, R. Civil War Maps, no. 331; Nelson, C. Mapping the Civil War, pp. 96-97.

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