[Editor's note: Thanks Gene! Republished from the New York Times. Map from David Rumsey's collection.]
Virginia Goes to the Birds
In late July 1861, the noted lithographer John Bachmann published a captivating visual picture of Virginia, offering Northerners a powerful and intuitive way to follow the ongoing conflict. Of course, there were already lots of maps of the Old Dominion. What set this one apart? Perspective: looking westward with the Chesapeake Bay in the foreground, it offered a bird’s eye view, an intuitive but, for many, novel look at the unfolding conflict. His “wide angle lens” approach enabled viewers to follow not just the actual location of the battles, but the terrain of the conflict and a larger sense of the geography of the eastern theater.