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1846 Bruff Map of Florida during Seminole Wars

The State of Florida. - Main View

1846 Bruff Map of Florida during Seminole Wars


The most important map of Florida, issued 1 year after statehood at the end of the Second Seminole War.


The State of Florida.
  1846 (dated)     43.5 x 41.5 in (110.49 x 105.41 cm)     1 : 725000


The first official map of the State of Florida, this spectacular production was issued in 1846, on year after statehood and at the end of the Second Seminole War, by the Army Bureau of Topographical Engineers. The map was drawn by Joseph Goldsborough Bruff, an adventurer, playboy, and civilian contractor working with the Topographical Engineers. It illustrates the state of the Florida survey as of 1846, as well as major events, routes, and settlements associated with the First and Second Seminole Wars. Moreover, the map includes holdover grants from the Spanish era, including Arredondo's Grant and Forbes' Purchase. With unsurpassed detail and scale, this map became the foundational map for most subsequent maps of Florida through the end of the 19th century.
Second Seminole War (1835 - 1842)
The map offers significant annotation regarding the First and, in particular, Second Seminole War. The map has two annotations of exceptional interest regarding the Seminole Wars. The first is a note appearing just east of Ostego Bay reading,
District Assigned to the Seminoles by the arrangement of Gen. Macomb May 18th 1839.
The second is a conflicting adjacent note that reads,
20 miles around this District is reserved from Survey till the Seminoles are removed
Clearly, despite an informal end to hostilities in 1842, and the informal Seminole reservation in southwestern Florida, the U.S. Government had not yet given up their ambition to remove the Seminoles to the Indian Territory.

The Second Seminole War was fought as part of the U.S. Government effort to force the Seminole to adhere to the 1830 Indian Removal Act. The mostly guerilla campaign that followed was considered one of the most costly and ineffective wars in American domestic history. Although the overwhelming forces of the United States government took an extreme toll on the Seminole, it proved nearly impossible to fully force them out of their Everglade strongholds. An uneasy peace came to Florida for a time, with the Seminole mostly staying on their lands, and the settlers remaining on the coast. Nonetheless, the U.S. Government continued to push for full Seminole removal, leading to more and more conflict and, ultimately, the Third Seminole War (1855 - 1858).
Arredondo's Grant
The map identifies Arredondo's Grant, a holdover from Spanish Florida. Beginning in the 1790s, the Spanish crown offered land grants to people courageous enough to emigrate to Florida or for meritorious service to the crown. Arredondo's grant, named after Fernando de la Maza Arredondo, is located to the west of St. Augustine in Alachua county. It was granted to Arredondo in 1817 by Alexander Ramirez of Havana. After Florida became a possession of the United States in 1821, these grants became a point of contention between the United States government and the grantees. Initially, the U.S. government declared that it would honor the grants so long as the owner could prove legitimacy. Fernando de la Maza Arredondo took his case to the United States Supreme Court, where his rights to the land were affirmed. Eventually, nonetheless, the grant was dissolved by U.S. courts on the basis that it was not properly developed and therefore forfeited.
Forbes' Purchase
Forbes' Purchase appears here as a large tract of land in the Florida Panhandle. The lands were acquired from various Lower Creek and Seminole Indian groups in the early 19th century to pay off debt owed to Panton, Leslie and Company (later, the John Forbes company). Panton, Leslie and Company, 'company' being John Forbes (1767 - 1823), were Scottish merchants who actively traded with American Indians in Florida. Under both the British and Spanish, they were granted monopolies in East Florida, but also controlled most of the Indian trade in West Florida. As British Loyalists, they were vehemently against the United States, and actively encouraged their Indian contacts to war against the new nation. When William Paton and John Leslie died, c. 1803, the firm was reorganized around the surviving partner as John Forbes and Company. Over the years, the Lower Creek and Seminole groups accrued enormous debt to the firm. In order to pay the debt, they ceded sprawling tracts of land in the Florida Panhandle to the Spanish government, which intern passed the deeds to John Forbes, hence 'Forbes' Purchase.' Forbes sold most of the land to two merchants from Savannah and Cuba named Richard Carnochan and Colin Mitchel. After Florida became part of the United States, there was an attempt by the government to seize this land, but it was shot down by the Supreme Court. In time it became clear that Forbes Purchase was mostly uninhabitable swampland, near impossible to develop, and so was ultimately sold off in lots.
Publication History and Census
This map was compiled by Joseph Goldsborough Bruff and engraved by David McClelland. We are aware of only a single edition. This map is well represented institutionally, but uncommon on the market.


Joseph Goldsborough Bruff (October 2, 1804 - April 14, 1889) was an American artist, adventurer, surveyor, and cartographer active in the mid to late 19th century. Bruff was born in Washington D.C., the son of a wealthy physician, dentist, and inventor (coffee grinder). At 16 he was sent to West Point, but shortly afterwards dismissed for dueling. He subsequently signed on a merchant ship as cabin boy, initiating a five-year career as an itinerant seaman. In 1927 he returned to Washington, taking a position as a draughtsman at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Shortly thereafter he transitioned to a higher paid position at Fort Monroe, where he remained for 2 years. Gruff had an arrogant entitled character, but his work was exacting and much admired, enough so that in 1839, he was hired as a draftsman for the Army Bureau of Topographical Engineers. There he compiled and published numerous maps from hand-drawn field maps prepared by explorers. His work from this period includes drafting the important exploration maps of John C. Frémont (who became a personal friend), and the first map of Florida after statehood. In 1849, Bruff, like many Americans caught gold fever. He leveraged his connections in Washington to finance the Washington City and California Mining Association. The well-funded expedition traveled overland in a caravan of sixty-six men and 14 wagons. While Bruff did not discover gold in California, he did travel extensively throughout he gold region producing numerous important maps and diagrams. He returned to Washington via ship, landing in New York in July of 1851. Back in Washington he took work with the Treasury department in the Office of the Supervising Architect. He helped in the design and construction of the DC Treasury Building as well as Treasury offices around the country. Bruff continued his position with the treasury until his death in 1889, at which time he was the oldest active U.S. Government employee. Bruff is interred at the National Congressional Cemetery in Washington. D.C. Learn More...

David McClelland (1820 - 1899) was a Washington D.C. based copper plate engraver and publisher active from at least 1840 to about 1876. His work mainly consists of maps and other engraved documents for government publications, including maps for the Army Bureau of Topographical Engineers, Senate Reports, and General Land Office. In 1840, when he was just 19, McClelland was partnered with William Smith under the imprint of 'Smith and McClelland' with offices on Pennsylvania Avenue between 2nd and 3rd. The ordering of names in the imprint suggests that Smith was the senior partner, possibly the person who trained McClelland in engraving. While there is little evidence of Smith, there was an engraver of this name in Washington D.C. doing government engraving in the 1850s, and another living in Philadelphia. It is unclear if they are the same or different individuals. The partnership eventually dissolved, at which point Smith moved to Pennsylvania Avenue near 11h Street and McClellend to the Old Medical Collage at 10th and East Streets. McClelland is best known for his engraving of the important 1861 Albert Boschke map of Washington D.C. and the 1846 Topographical Engineers map of Florida. In 1863, during the American Civil War, McClelland had an altercation with the Federal Government War Department over the plates for the Boschke Map, which he owed in partnership with several others. The plates were ultimately seized without compensation for war use. After the war, McClelland appealed to Congress for restitution, which was finally granted in the 1890s. In the 1860s, McClelland published under the imprint of 'D. McClelland, Blanchard and Mohun' and 'D. McClelland, Blanchard and Mohun, Hugh b. Sweeny and Thomas Blagdon.' McClelland lived in Le Droit Park and is possibly responsible for that neighborhood being named as such. Learn More...

Army Corps of Topographical Engineers (fl.1838 - 1863) refers to the an elite branch of the U.S. Army created on July 4, 1838 to perform civil mapping and survey work throughout the United States. The origins of the Corps of Topographical Engineers can be traced back to the American Revolutionary War, where General George Washington recognized the need for accurate surveys pursuant to military action. Shortly following the war, in 1779, a civilian engineering corps was created by act of Congress. Identified in 1802 by Thomas Jefferson, the "Corps of Engineers," which was based at West Point, the group participated in the War of 1812 and in later in the fortification of New Orleans. It was not until 1838, however, that a separate group of "Topographical Engineers" was formally recognized. This elite group, consisting only of officers, most of whom were trained in surveying and engineering by the esteemed Andrew Ellicott at West Point, never numbered more than 36 individuals - the best and brightest. This small but determined group played a central role in the mapping and exploration of the American West. Few branches of the military can boast such a distinguished alumni. Their names resonate throughout the map of the west and include John Charles Fremont, Zebulon Pike, George Meade, Kemble Warren, William Amiel Weeks, A. B. Gray, Randolph B. Marcy, James H. Simpson, Howard Stansbury, John W. Gunnison, William Ludlow, and Robert S. Williamson. The onset of the American Civil War brought an abrupt end to the surveying activity of the Topographical Engineers. Many of the most prominent engineers went on to distinguished military careers on both sides of the War Between the States. The Army Corps of Topographical Engineers itself was folded into the Corps of Engineers on March 31, 1863. Though the Army Corps of Engineers continues to do military and civil survey work to this day, the elite club of adventures that formed the Topographical Engineers were no more. Learn More...


U.S. Senate Executive Document v.2 No. 2-5, in 30th Cong., 1st Sess., 1847-48, serial set #504.    


Good. Some wear on old folds. Laid down on archival tissue. Some buckling and creasing, as is common with this map due to size and paper thickness.


OCLC 38568742. New York Public Library, Map Div. 15-5703. Tampa Bay History Center, Touchton Map Library, 2004.069.001.