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The Best Pre-Civil War Map of Virginia
A Beautiful Example of the First Edition
Virginia/ Railroad History.
BUCHOLTZ, Ludwig von [Richmond, 1858]
Map of the State of Virginia Containing The Counties, Principal Towns, Railroads, Rivers, Canals & All Other Internal Improvements. Published by Ritchie & Dunnavant. Richmond Va. 1858 . . . .
37 x 26 inches
Lithographed folding map with vibrant original color, flattened & removed from original covers, which are somewhat worn; reinforced at few folds, mended tear slightly into printed surface; few small holes filled, stamps on verso from a defunct Mexican library; overall near excellent of this type.
First edition. A brilliant example of this very rare and important map, which was without question the most detailed and up-to-date map of Virginia published prior to the Civil War. It was compiled, printed and published in Virginia, and was one of very few antebellum state maps produced in the South.
Ludwig von Bucholtz was commissioned by the Virginia State Legislature to prepare the revisions to the 1826 Hermann Boye 9-sheet map of Virginia, which was then the most detailed and important map of Virginia. While von Bucholtz’s work was exhaustive, to reduce costs he was required to revise the existing copperplates, which limited the extent of the changes he could make, leaving him unsatisfied with the result. Therefore, at some point in his work on the Boye map, Bucholtz created this remarkable work, an entirely fresh production, unencumbered by a decades-old prototype. It was published by Ritchie & Dunnavant in Richmond in 1858. Bucholtz' lithographic stone was acquired by West and Johnston in 1862, who produced an edition little changed from the original to meet the demand for maps once the Civil War was underway.
At upper left on the present work is a detailed bird’s-eye view of Capitol Square in Richmond, and a chart below the view lists all the railroads with the lengths of each line. A reference key notes principal cities, state and county lines, railroads (completed, in progress, and proposed), canals, rivers, plank roads, and court houses.
The history of this work is described by William Wooldridge in his comprehensive study of the Bucholtz map and its three derivates, published in the Spring 2007 edition of The Portolan. As noted by Wooldridge, the map was also used by Matthew Fontaine Maury, with additions, in 1868 and also by a map commonly referred to as the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) map.
Ludwig von Bucholtz was a German emigrant hired by Claudius Crozet, Chief Engineer of the Virginia Board of Public Works, in 1852. After successfully supervising the publication of an internal improvements map of the state in 1855, Bucholtz was, as mentioned, appointed the task of revising Boye's 1826 map, issued in 1859 both in its original, nine-sheet format as well as in a reduced four-sheet version.
Phillips (Maps) p. 988; Rumsey 4905; cf. Stephenson (Civil War) 475.5; cf. Wooldridge 254.