Cartographic materials can tell compelling narratives, and the three manuscript maps that the Clements has loaned to the exhibit certainly speak volumes. The first item, a colored map entitled "Cantonment of the forces in N. America, 1766," shows the distribution of British forces in the North American colonies.
|Cantonment of the forces in N. America, 1766." From the William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of Shelburne Papers, William L. Clements Library.|
The two other maps on loan from the Clements Library were created by Alexandre d'Ethy, a French commander that fought in the Battle of the Saintes in April 1782, an Anglo-French naval engagement that took place in the passage between Dominica and Guadeloupe. The definitive British victory ensured their continued control of their West Indian colonies and bolstered their reputation of naval dominance. The Clements holds a series of eight manuscript maps documenting the shifting course of the Battle of the Saintes, believed to have been used in the 1784 trial of Admiral François Joseph Paul de Grasse to determine blame for the resounding French defeat.
|Plan du Combat du 12 Avril 1782 présenté par le chr. Dethy capne. du vass. de roy le Citoyen: Neuvième et dernière position des deux armées…" From the Charles-Eugène-Gabriel Castries Papers, William L. Clements Library. The other d'Ethy map in the exhibit features the two fleets' third position.|
We Are One: Mapping America's Road from Revolution to Independence promises to be an extraordinary exhibit, bringing together invaluable maps, prints, and artifacts from world-renowned collectors and institutions to provide new insights into the American Revolution. If you are unable to make the trip to the East Coast while the exhibit is on display, a number of the items will be available online through the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center's American Revolution Portal [http://maps.bpl.org/highlights/ar/american-revolutionary-war-era], including the Clements Library's contributions. And, of course, while these three maps are on loan the rest of the William L. Clements Library's extensive map collection remains open to researchers, with a wonderful array of Revolutionary-era maps available to be studied and cherished year-round.