1867 Weyss Map of the Civil War Battlefield of Cold Harbor, Virginia

Cold Harbor. - Main View

1867 Weyss Map of the Civil War Battlefield of Cold Harbor, Virginia


Lee's final victory.


Cold Harbor.
  1867 (dated)     21.75 x 33 in (55.245 x 83.82 cm)     1 : 21120


This is an 1867 John Weyss and Nathaniel Michler map of the battlefield of Cold Harbor, Virginia. The map depicts from the Virginia Central Railroad to Emanuel Church and Black Creek Church and from the Linney Farm to the Taylor Farm. The last battle of Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign, the Battle of Cold Harbor was a lopsided victory for General Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy, but it would prove to be his last. Grant had achieved the goal of the Overland Campaign and forced Lee into defending Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, and Petersburg behind a network of trenches and other fortifications. Soon after the Battle of Cold Harbor, the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, more popularly known as the Siege of Petersburg, began. This campaign was a nine-month saga of trench warfare and small battles, culminating in the capture of Petersburg and the evacuation of Richmond by the Confederate government.
The Battle of Cold Harbor
The Battle of Cold Harbor, which took place only ten miles from Richmond, is remembered as one of the bloodiest, most lopsided battles in American history. General Grant and the Union Army were trying to seize control of the crossroads at Cold Harbor, Virginia, which would have given them access to Richmond. After the initial success of the Union cavalry, Grant sent numerous infantry assaults against well entrenched Confederate lines. Lee's forces held off attacks by the numerically superior Federal army and inflicted egregious casualties, with some estimates calculating nearly 13,000 Union casualties compared with just over 5,000 Confederate losses. In his memoirs, General Grant stated that he had 'always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made…No advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained.'
Publication History and Census
This map was surveyed and drawn by Major John E. Weyss under the command of Nathaniel Michler, engraved by Julius Bien, and published by the War Department in Military Maps illustrating the Operations of the Armies of the Potomac and James in 1869. While this map is well represented in institutional collections, it is rare to the private market.


John E. Weyss (1820 - June 24, 1903) was an Austrian-American illustrator, cartographer, and engineer. Born in Vienna, Weyss immigrated to the United States in 1848 and settled in New York. He served as a member of the U.S. Government's Mexican Boundary Survey (1849 - 1855), led by Major William Hemsley Emory, because of his training as an illustrator. In the capacity of a civilian artist working for the army, Weyss contributed several illustrations for Emory's report, which was published in 1857-59. Weyss is also credited on eleven of the report's maps. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Weyss held a position as a civil engineer for the state of Kentucky. Weyss received a commission as a major from the Governor of Kentucky and, due to his professional experience, was assigned to the staff of Captain Nathaniel Michler, the chief topographical officer in the Army of the Ohio. In this role he did survey work for maps of the vicinity of Shiloh and Corinth, both sites of major Civil War battles. Weyss then joined Captain Michler when he moved to the staff of General Rosecrans in late 1862, for whom they made a series of maps of the Battle of Stones River. Weyss and Michler were then transferred to the Army of the Potomac in May, 1863. One of Weyss's first assignments for the Army of the Potomac was a map of the vicinity of Harper's Ferry, Virginia, for which he produced a highly detailed map of the very complex topography of the region. Soon, Weyss was made responsible for the day-to-day detailed mapping during the siege at Petersburg. After the war, Weyss served as the principal surveyor under the direction of Michler during the creation of the atlas Military maps illustrating the operations of the armies of the Potomac and James, May 4th 1864 to April 9th 1865, that was published in 1869. Weyss served the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for another twenty years, until he retired sometime in the 1880s. Weyss died on June 4, 1903, in Washington, D.C. More by this mapmaker...

Nathaniel Michler (September 13, 1827 - July 17, 1881) was an American military officer and mapmaker who served during the American Civil War. Born in Easton, Pennsylvania, Michler attended West Point, from which he graduated seventh in his class. Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Topographical Engineers, Michler participated in the Mexican Boundary Survey from 1851 until 1857, when he was transferred to serve as the chief topographical engineer in surveys for a proposed canal from the Gulf of Darien to the Pacific Ocean from 1858 until 1860. He held the rank of Captain at the outbreak of the American Civil War and served with the Army of the Cumberland from 1861 - 1863, then was transferred to the Army of the Potomac and built defensive works for the Union Army at the Battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. He was promoted to Colonel in August 1864 and brevetted Brigadier General in April 1865. After the war, Michler served as superintendent in the District of Columbia until 1871 and from 1872 to 1875 was chief engineer with the General Commanding Division of the Pacific. He acted as military attaché for the United States Legation in Vienna, Austria from 1878 to 1880. Learn More...

Julius (Julien) Bien (September 27, 1826 - December 21, 1909) was a German-Jewish lithographer and engraver based in New York City. Bien was born in Naumburg, Germany. He was educated at the Academy of Fine Arts, Cassell and at Städel's Institute, Frankfurt-am-Main. Following the suppression of the anti-autocratic German Revolutions of 1848, Bien, who participated in the pan-German movement, found himself out of favor in his home country and joined the mass German immigration to the United States. Bien can be found in New York as early as 1849. He established the New York Lithographing, Engraving & Printing Company in New York that focused on the emergent chromo-lithograph process - a method of printing color using lithographic plates. His work drew the attention of the U.S. Government Printing Office which contracted him to produce countless government maps and surveys, including the Pacific Railroad Surveys, the census, numerous coast surveys, and various maps relating to the American Civil War. Bien also issued several atlases both privately and in conjunction with a relation, Joseph Bien. At the height of his career Bien was elected president of the American Lithographers Association. After his death in 1909, Bien's firm was taken over by his son who promptly ran it into insolvency. The firm was sold to Sheldon Franklin, who, as part of the deal, retained the right to publish under the Julius Bien imprint. In addition to his work as a printer, Bien was active in the New York German Jewish community. He was director of the New York Hebrew Technical Institute, the New York Hebrew Orphan Asylum, and president of the B'nai B'rith Order. Learn More...

Andrew Atkinson Humphreys (November 2, 1810 - December 27, 1883) was a career U.S. Army officer. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Humphreys came from an illustrious family. His grandfather is remembered as the 'Father of the American Navy', because he served as the chief naval constructor from 1794 - 1801, and designed the first U.S. warships, including the USS Constitution. Samuel Humphreys, Andrew's father, designed the USS Pennsylvania, the largest and most heavily armed ship at the time. Humphreys graduated from Nazareth Hall (modern day Moravian College and Theological Seminary), then entered the United States Military Academy at West Point. Humphreys graduated on July 1, 1831, was commissioned as a second lieutenant, and joined the Second Artillery Regiment. in South Carolina. In the summer of 1836, Humphreys and his regiment went to Florida to fight in the Seminole Wars. Disgusted by the war's mismanagement, Humphreys resigned his commission on September 30, 1836, and became a civil engineer. Nearly two years later, on July 7, 1838, Humphreys rejoined the U.S. Army as a 1st lieutenant in the Corps of Topographical Engineers. In 1844, Humphreys was put in charge of the Central Office of the U.S. Coast Survey in Washington, D.C. He received a promotion to captain in 1848. Humphreys began an extensive survey of the Mississippi River Delta in 1850, a project that lasted ten years. He also worked on the Pacific Railroad Surveys from 1853 - 1857. During these years just before the American Civil War, Humphreys earned a glowing reputation as a scientist both nationally and abroad. Humphreys was promoted to major at the beginning of the American Civil War and became the Army of the Potomac's chief topographical engineer. During the war, Humphreys fought beside McClellan during the Peninsula Campaign, when he was prmoted to brigadier general, given command of a division, and saw combat at the Battle of Antietam, the Battle of Fredericksburg, and the battle of Chancellorsville. He was transferred to a different division just before the Battle of Gettysburg, where, because of poor command decisions by his immediate superior, his division was annihilated. Humphreys was promoted to major general after the Battle of Gettysburg and consented to becoming General Meade's chief of staff, a position he had been offered in the days before Gettysburg. He served in this position until November 1864, when he was given command of the II Corps during the Siege of Petersburg. He held this command until the end of the war and his corps played a part in the Appomattox Campaign. After the war, Humphreys became Chief of Engineers in 1866, a position he held until he retired on June 30, 1879. Learn More...


War Department, Military Maps illustrating the Operations of the Armies of the Potomac and James May 4th 1864 to April 9th 1865 including Battlefields of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Northanna, Totopotomoy, Cold Harbor, The Siege of Petersburg and Richmond Battlefields of Five Forks, Jetersville and Sailor's Creek, Highbridge, Farmville, and Appomattox Court-House. (Washington) 1869.     Military Maps Illustrating the Operations of the Armies of the Potomac and James, published in 1869, compiled all the maps created by Major Nathaniel Michler and Major John E. Weyss of all the major battlefields of the eastern theater of war during the American Civil War. These maps blended together surveys done by soldiers both before and during battles and work done by Weiss and his team of engineers after the war was over. Many of these maps were reduced in order to be republished in the Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, which has become the standard reference for Civil War military maps.


Very good. Verso repairs to centerfold separations. Exhibits light dampstaining in margins.


Rumsey 3881.008.