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Civil War Map Collection

Identifier: SC-111

Scope and Contents

These maps area created in Washington, D.C. by the United States Government Printing Office [1891-1895] and collectively called the "Atlas to accompany the official records of the Union and the Confederate armies." The dimensions of each plate are approximately 29 1/2 in. x 18 1/2 in.

The collection is divided into four series:

Series I: Military Operations in the Field, 1861-1867, contains 131 plates. All field operations conducted by both the United States and the Confederacy. The field operations include a variety of different engagements ranging from full scale battles to minor skirmishes even including the sieges of forts and town as well as detailing their defenses. Also included are a series of photographs that bring greater detail in displaying the fortifications of various places or the setup of different military camps and Head Quarter's (HQ).

Series II: General Topographical Map, Undated, contains 21 plates. Series include general topographical maps of different sections of the United States. These maps are different sections that show the general topography of the United States such as the elevation, the marking of rivers and lakes, roads and rail roads, towns, and forests.

Series III: Military Divisions and Departments, 1860-1865, contains 9 plates. Maps that show the various borders of the military divisions and Departments over the course of the war from 1860 to 1865. These maps are a time line of Union gains as they push into the South showing the border changes for each nation as well as the zones of control given to each individual department or army.

Series IV: Miscellaneous, [1860-1865], contains 4 plates. This series contains various diagrams and images of uniforms, weapons, transportation, and flags. The showing to give representation to the uniforms on either side to provide as a proper identifier in the few photographs present. Diagrams of the different armaments of the two nations.


  • Created: [1891-1895]


Conditions Governing Access

The entire collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical or Historical Information

The Civil War would be the last war that the United States would fight on its own soil. So, it would then be strange to note that heading into the war both the Confederacy and the Union had no real maps, topographical maps, or an efficient way of producing such maps for military purposes. The United States at the outbreak of the war had very little in terms of topographical information regarding the south solely due to the fact that people had been more interested in the west resulting in many topographers to focus their efforts there. So, it would be safe to say or recognize that in the early stages of the war both sides fought the other practically blind having little to no information on the areas that they would engage leading to literal "battles in the wilderness" with intelligence purely based on what could be physically gathered by their own eyes. Both sides however quickly grew to understand of having proper information on there would be battlefields and began organizing new departments that would be dedicated to the production of such information. Through the Norths own ability and resources as well as the influx of outside professionals it quickly created over the course of the war a highly capable department solely responsible for the creation of maps of all kinds. By contrast the Confederacy had limited though skilled topographers; however, their few resources made them severely out classed by the Union resulting in fewer maps.

It was during the war the congress almost absently minded decided to authorize the army to preserve the records of the war. It was nine years after the war in 1874 that the decided on the creation of a publication of the documents collected to make it available to the public which included correspondences as well as formal reports due to the provision stating, "all official documents that appear to be of any historical value". This clever use of wording allowed the atlas to take refuge as well as extend itself using field reports to recreate maps that would have otherwise been lost. It was by 1887 that the total collection of all gathered information was to be processed under the supervision of one military officer and two civilians. It would not be until 1889 did official work on the Atlas began. The completion of the atlas can be attributed to the work of Captain Cowles who took to the task of organizing the sum thousand maps to remove any duplicates and through a constant stream of letters the correcting of spelling and the acquiring of any missing works. It was eventually through the firm of Julies Bien that the actual engraving and printing of the maps would be done with the completion of the maps being in 1895.

Julius Bien was an American Lithograph printer and cartographer who worked in New York after his emigration from his home in Naumburg Germany in 1849 due to his involvement in the 1848 revolution. Bien was educated in Germany at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kassel and at the St├Ądel Art Institute in Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt-on-the-Main) and is considered one of the greatest American lithographers during the Victorian era and became the first president of the National Lithographer's Association. He had created many different works over the course of his life such as illustrating for Annuals and children books with his more notable works being The Atlas of Colorado (1881) and the Atlas of the State of Pennsylvania (1901). Through this long career he had been given many awards some of which were received for his work for the Pacific Railway Company.


United States. 1891. Atlas to accompany the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Washington: Government Printing Office.UCF Main Library Atlas -- G1201.S5U6 1958

Rumsey, David. "David Rumsey Map Collection." Thailand, Lan-na / Seated Buddha Subduing Mara / 14th-15th Century. Accessed September 25, 2018. [url=][/url]


2.00 Linear Feet (11 Flat Files)


This collection has been rediscovered within the Special Collections after sitting idle for a period. The maps include historical civil war battles and plans as well as information on other minor operations and miscellaneous items. The dates of the maps and the battles that they accompany range from 1861 to 1865, some only reproductions from field reports and firsthand accounts in 1867. The collection is a proven testament to the extensive effort put into the preservation of this moment of United States history.

Method of Acquisition

Source of acquisition is unknown. Collection is found in the University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives in 2018 (CFM2018_12).

Processing Information

Processed by Kyle H. West; finding aid prepared by Kyle H. West. The collection has essentially no information on either who the benefactor was or even the date that it had come to be in the Special Collections & University Archives possession and only recently had been recovered. The collection itself is incomplete, a few plates are missing from the set. It is missing the first plate which we assume would have a date of production so unfortunately its age can only truly be speculated. The plates themselves for the most part vary in condition but a majority seem to only have some minor damage such as the edges beginning to break or slightly be torn. This is unfortunately not true for all as in the most extreme case of one has it being completely torn in half and missing a noticeable amount of its upper center. All of them also display signs of having been fold on themselves for an extended period of time causing a mirroring effect on the pages some only lightly and other on the heavier side.


Civil War Map Collection
Kyle H. West
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the UCF Special Collections Repository

Special Collections & University Archives
University of Central Florida Libraries
P.O. Box 162666
Orlando Florida 32816-2666 US
(407) 823-2576