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1861 Johnson Military Map of the United States

Johnson's New Military Map of the United States Showing the Forts, Military Posts & C. with Enlarged Plans of Southern Harbors from Authentic Data Obtained at the War Department Washington, Johnson and Browning. - Main View

1861 Johnson Military Map of the United States


First edition of Johnson's fascinating pre-Civil War Military Map of the United States.


Johnson's New Military Map of the United States Showing the Forts, Military Posts & C. with Enlarged Plans of Southern Harbors from Authentic Data Obtained at the War Department Washington, Johnson and Browning.
  1861 (dated)     17.5 x 24 in (44.45 x 60.96 cm)


This is the 1861 first edition of Johnson's Military Map of the United States. Johnson's map covers the entire United States and is divided into seven Military Departments: the Department of the east, the Department of the West, the Department of Texas, the Department of New Mexico, the Department of Utah, the Department of Oregon, and the Department of California. To the right of and below main map nine insets detail southern harbors, clockwise from top right: Baltimore, Washington, 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. Important fortifications are noted throughout.

This is one of the most misunderstood of all Johnson maps. Unlike most Johnson maps, this map is a fully independent production and was not inherited from the earlier work of Colton, nor was it included in the first edition (1860) of Johnson's Family Atlas. The map appeared in the second Johnson and Browning edition, 1861; though it is not assigned a page number nor does it appear in the general index of the Atlas. Most likely Johnson ordered this map drawn to capitalize on increased interest in the military deportment of the United States on the eve of the Civil War. In April of the same year this map was published Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter initiating the hostilities of the American Civil War. Following the American Civil War, the military department system was reorganized with eighteen new military departments replacing the seven shown here.

Features the strapwork style border common to Johnson atlas maps issued between 1860 and 1863. Dated and copyrighted 1861. Issued for the 1861 edition of Johnson's Illustrated Family Atlas.


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 (1822 - 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 split their firm between two offices. Johnson moved from Richmond, Virginia to New York City. Browning remained in Richmond, where he published at least one more edition of the atlas after the war began, in 1862. Johnson and Browning published two editions of the Johnson Atlas: 1860 (Richmond and New York) and 1861 (Richmond and New York). Sometime in 1861 Browning's portion of the firm (or perhaps the New York portion?) 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, and updated 1862 'Johnson and Ward' maps, and newer 1863 maps with a revised border design. The 1864 issue of the Family Atlas is the first fully '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. More by this mapmaker...


Johnson, A. J., Johnson's New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas with Descriptions, Geographical, Statistical, and Historical, (Johnson and Browning, New York) 1861.     404 Not Found

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Very good condition. Original centerfold. Blank on verso.