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Library of Congress American Memory Digital Map Collection Free Downloads

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The maps in this collection may be downloaded in sizes from very low to very high resolution in MrSid and Jpeg2000 formats. For more on these formats and to obtain the appropriate free viewer, click here.

Civil War Maps, 1861 -1865. Civil War Maps brings together materials from three premier collections: the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Library of Virginia. Among the reconnaissance, sketch, and theater-of-war maps are the detailed battle maps made by Major Jedediah Hotchkiss for Generals Lee and Jackson, General Sherman’s Southern military campaigns, and maps taken from diaries, scrapbooks, and manuscripts—all available for the first time in one place.

Most of the items presented here are documented in Civil War Maps: An Annotated List of Maps and Atlases in the Library of Congress, compiled by Richard W. Stephenson in 1989. New selections from 2,240 maps and 76 atlases held by the Library will be added monthly.

The Hotchkiss Map Collection, Confederate Army Maps. The Hotchkiss Map Collection contains cartographic items made by Major Jedediah Hotchkiss (1828-1899), a topographic engineer in the Confederate Army. Hotchkiss made detailed battle maps primarily of the Shenandoah Valley, some of which were used by the Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson for their combat planning and strategy. Several of the maps have annotations of various military officers, demonstrating their importance in the military campaigns. The collection also includes maps made or used by Hotchkiss during his post-war years, including maps with information about railroads, minerals and mining, geology and history, most of which focus on Virginia and West Virginia, but also cover other states and even the world.

The collection consists of 341 sketchbooks, manuscripts, and annotated printed maps, the originals of which reside in the Library of Congress' Geography and Map Division.

Maps of Liberia 1830-1870. This collection of Liberia maps includes twenty examples from the American Colonization Society (ACS), organized in 1817 to resettle free black Americans in West Africa. These maps show early settlements in Liberia, indigenous political subdivisions, and some of the building lots that were assigned to settlers. This on-line presentation also includes other nineteenth-century maps of Liberia: a map prepared for a book first published in the 1820's by ACS agent Jehudi Ashmun, a map showing the areas in Liberia that were ceded to the society by indigenous chiefs, and a detailed map dated 1869 by a man thought to be the black American explorer Benjamin Anderson.

Louisiana: European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase. The Louisiana Purchase is a landmark event in American history, one that had a lasting impact not only on the size of the United States, but also on its economic, cultural, and political makeup. Before President Thomas Jefferson's administration purchased the territory in 1803, parts or all of the territory had been under the control of various Native American nations. From the 16th century onwards the Spanish and later the French controlled the territory.

This presentation focuses on the various documents—from maps to newspapers to cultural artifact—that help to describe the region of North America that stretched from as far east as Alabama into what is now the state of Montana. The 119 items presented here come from the various special and general collections of the Library of Congress.

Cities and Towns. The Cities and Towns category includes maps that depict individual buildings to panoramic views of large urban areas. These maps record the evolution of cities illustrating the development and nature of economic activities, educational and religious facilities, parks, street patterns and widths, and transportation systems.

Conservation and Environment. The historic and more recent maps contained in this category show early exploration and subsequent land use in various areas of the United States. These maps show the changes in the landscape, including natural and man-made features, recreational and wilderness areas, geology, topography, wetland area, vegetation, and wildlife. Specific conservation projects such as the growth and development of U.S. National Parks are included in this category.

Discovery and Exploration. This category documents the discovery and exploration with both manuscripts and published maps. Many of these maps reflect the European Age of Discoveries, dating from the late 15th century to the 17th century when Europeans were concerned primarily with determining the outline of the continents as they explored and mapped the coastal areas and the major waterways. Also included are 18th and 19th century maps documenting the exploration and mapping of the interior parts of the continents, reflecting the work of Lewis and Clark and subsequent government explorers and surveyors.

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General Atlases. This category includes maps that typically portray the physical environment and a variety of cultural elements for a geographic area at a particular point in time. The maps in this category show a geographic area larger than a city or town and do not display a subject that is part of one of the thematic categories.

Transportation and Communication. These maps document the development and status of transportation and communication systems on the national, state, and local level. Transportation maps can depict canal and river systems, cycling routes, railway lines and systems, roads and road networks, and traffic patterns. Communication maps illustrate the location and distribution of telegraph routes, telephone systems and radio coverage.

Military Battles and Campaigns. This category contains maps showing campaigns of major military conflicts including troop movements, defensive structures and groundworks, roads to and from sites of military engagements, campsites, and local buildings, topography and vegetation. Some of the maps are manuscripts drawn on the field of battle, while others are engraved including some that have manuscript annotations reflecting the history of the battle or campaign. A significant number of battle maps provide information about the locality that is not available elsewhere such as the location of plantations, the names of landowners in the area, the configuration of small towns and villages, and indications of prior settlement by native Americans.

Cultural Landscapes of the World. Cultural Landscapes geography is documented in this category by large-scale maps such as individual land surveys, county land ownership maps and atlases, large-scale topographic maps, and thematic maps showing economic activity. These maps show the cultural modification of a physical landscape as settlers established their farmsteads and villages, constructed the connecting transportation systems, and named their surroundings. Some maps show areas occupied by Native Americans, especially after their resettlement by the United States government.

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