Printed at the height of the American Civil War, this is a fine example of Johnson's 1863 Military Map of the United States. Johnson issued three editions of his Military Map, this being the scarcest and most historically significant due to is rendering of the ephemeral Confederate state of Arizona.
In 1861 ‘Arrizona' was an alternate name for the lands added to the New Mexico territory by the 1854 Gadsden Purchase. With only a small population and minimal political influence this region was largely ignored by the New Mexico territorial government in distant Santa Fe. Arizona applied several times to be granted independent territorial status, but its low population caused the request to be repeatedly denied. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Arizonans recognized an opportunity to appeal to an alternate body for the political needs of the region and threw in their lot with the secessionist southern states. Around this time the Union began to withdraw troops from the region in fear that Santa Fe would be attacked by Confederate soldiers operating out of Texas. In Texas itself the Confederate Col. John Robert Baylor, recognizing just such a strategic opportunity, led his troops into Southern Arizona. In a series of brilliant tactical maneuvers, Baylor defeated the much larger Union garrison and seized Fort Fillmore and Messilla. Shortly thereafter Baylor declared himself Territorial Governor of the Confederate Territory of Arizona including 'all that portion of New Mexico lying south of the thirty-fourth parallel of north latitude.' The Confederate Territory of Arizona lasted less than a year before it was seized by the Union Army and dismantled in favor of the current configuration with the Arizona – New Mexico border situated along a north-south axis. Some have suggested that the current border between Arizona and New Mexico was chosen for no other reason than that it differed from the Confederate border. However, it is far more likely that this border was influenced by the prospect of a Southern Pacific railroad route. If the Confederate boundaries had remained the railroad would have would have run only through Arizona, thus denying New Mexico the political and business opportunities that would have inevitably followed. A longitudinal border, however, allowed both territories to be enriched by the Southern Pacific Railroad. This is one of the two or three maps issued during this short and politically volatile period to specifically depict the Confederate Territory of Arizona.
Otherwise, Johnson's map depicts the entire United States with the territorial configuration of the period in which Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, have yet to appear and Dakota and Virginia remain singular. Utah has more territory with its territorial border extending three degrees of longitude westward into modern day Nevada. Nebraska extends westward as far as Utah and Washington Territory wraps around Oregon to reach south as far as Utah and Nevada. New Mexico controls the southern tip of modern day Nevada. Major fortifications are noted throughout. The map is surrounded on the bottom and right by views of important southern harbors, including Baltimore, Washington D.C., Hampton Roads and Norfolk Harbor, Charleston Harbor, the Savannah River, Key West, Pensacola Bay, Mobile Bay, and New Orleans with the Delta of the Mississippi.
Features the strapwork style border common to Johnson's atlas work issued from 1860 – 1863. This map was printed by Johnson and Ward as plate nos. 20-21 in the scarce 1863 Civil War edition of Johnson's Family Atlas. Though the map is copyrighted to Johnson and Browning in 1861, it is a complete re-engraving of the previous edition. Johnson, mostly likely due to the fiscal and administrative stresses of the Civil War, simply failed to update the copyright.
Alvin Jewett Johnson (September 23, 1827 - April 22, 1884) was a prolific American map publisher active from 1856 to the mid-1880s. Johnson was born into a poor family in Wallingford, Vermont where he received only a based public education. He is known to have worked as school teacher for several years before moving to Richmond, Virginia. Johnson got his first taste of the map business and a salesman and book canvasser for J. H. Colton and company. The earliest Johnson maps were published with D. Griffing Johnson (no clear relation) and date to the mid-1850s, however it was not until 1860 that the Johnson firm published its first significant work, the Johnson's New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas. The publication of the Family Atlas followed a somewhat mysterious 1859 deal with the well-established but financially strapped J. H. Colton cartographic publishing firm. Although map historian Water Ristow speculates that Colton sold his copyrights to Johnson and his business partner, another Vermonter named Ross C. Browning (1832 - 1899), a more likely theory is that Johnson and Browning financially supported the Colton firm in exchange for the right to use Colton's existing copyrighted map plates. Regardless of which scenario actually occurred it is indisputable that the first Johnson atlas maps were mostly reissues of earlier Colton maps. Early on Johnson described his firm as the "Successors to J. H. Colton and Company". Johnson's business strategy involved transferring the original Colton steel plate engravings to cheaper lithographic stones, allowing his firm to produce more maps at a lower price point. In 1861, following the outbreak of the American Civil War the Johnson and Browning firm moved their office from Richmond, Virginia to New York City. Johnson and Browning published two editions of the Johnson Atlas in 1860 and 1861. Sometime in 1861 Browning's portion of the firm was purchased by Benjamin P. Ward, whose name subsequently replaced Browning's on the imprint. The 1863 issue of the Family Atlas was one of the most unusual, it being a compilation of older Johnson and Browning maps, updated 1862 Johnson and Ward map issues, and newer 1863 maps with a revised border design. The 1864 issue of the Family Atlas is the first true Johnson and Ward atlas. Johnson published one more edition of the atlas in partnership with Ward in 1865, after which Johnson seems to have bought out Ward's share the firm. The next issue of the Atlas, 1866, is the first purely "Johnson" atlas with all new map plates, updated imprints, and copyrights. The Family Atlas went through roughly 27 years of publication, from 1860 to 1887, outliving Johnson himself who died in 1884. Johnson maps from the Family Atlas are notable for their unique borders, of which there are four different designs, the "strapwork border" from 1860 to 1863, the "fretwork border" from 1863 to 1869 and the "spirograph border" in 1870 – 1882, and a more elaborate version of the same from 1880-1887. In addition to the Family Atlas Johnson issued numerous wall maps, pocket maps, and in the 1880s the Cyclopedia. Johnson maps are known for their size, accuracy, detail, and stunning, vivid hand coloring. Johnson maps, purely American in their style and execution, chronicle some of the most important and periods in American history including the Civil War, the Westward Expansion, and the Indian Wars. Today Johnson's maps, especially those of the American west, are highly sought after by map collectors and historians.
Johnson, A. J., Johnson's New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas with Descriptions, Geographical, Statistical, and Historical
, (Johnson and Ward, New York) 1863.
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Very good condition. Original centerfold. Text on verso.
Phillips (Atlases) 837:20-21.