The Attack and Defeat of the American Fleet under Benedict Arnold, by the Kings Fleet Commanded by Sir Guy Carleton, upon Lake Champlain, the 11th of October 1776
by FADEN, William (1750-1836)
London: William Faden, 1776. Engraved map, with the course of the British Fleet coloured in red, letterpress text below the image. Sheet size: 19 x 24 1/4 inches. Minor restoration to centerfold. The exceedingly rare, and perhaps suppressed, first edition of Faden's battle plan of the Battle of Valcour Island, one of the rarest of all printed battle plans for the American Revolution: this an unrecorded issue with explanatory text giving an account of the battle. Faden's plan is the definitive cartographic record for Benedict Arnold's engagement with the British fleet at Valcour Island on Lake Champlain. The engagement was the high point in Benedict Arnold's military career, later becoming the most famous traitor of the Revolution. Faden's plan, which was derived from "a sketch taken by an Officer on the Spot," accurately depicts the movements of the two naval squadrons, as well as the tracks of the retreat of the American survivors back to Fort Ticonderoga on the evening following the initial action. While the British had technically defeated the Americans at Valcour Island, Arnold's delaying tactics forced the British to return to Canada for the winter, thereby delaying the British plan to march these forces south to join General Howe on the Hudson River. If the British had reached Albany that winter, the American Revolution likely would have collapsed altogether. Thus the British viewed Valcour Island as a significant military failure. The present first state of the map includes Sir Guy Carleton's name within the title, as the Commander of the British fleet. Following this edition, Carleton's name would be removed from the title of the map and replaced with Captain Thomas Pringle, thus passing the blame for the perceived failure. The Pringle, second state of the map is known to have been issued both with and without explanatory text; the present first issue, with Carleton's name, is unrecorded with the explanatory text, as here. Streeter sale 773 (Pringle issue); Stevens & Tree 24 (Pringle issue); Nebenzahl, Atlas, pp. 66-67 (Pringle issue); Nebenzahl, Bibliography of Printed Battle Plans, 47 (first issue, but without text); Guthorn 145:13 (Pringle issue). (Inventory #: 31702)
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