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Map 13: A Plan of Boston and its environs, shewing the true Situation of His Majesty's Army, and also those of the Rebels

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Richard Williams and others
London, 1776

About this Map
Sometimes an historical event triggers a burst of mapmaking…[ more ] 

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A Plan of Boston: Section A

About this Map

Sometimes an historical event triggers a burst of mapmaking and this certainly was the case with the American Revolution and Boston, for in 1775 and 1776, when Boston was the theater of war, an enormous number of maps of the town were produced. Many of these maps traced the fortifications erected by both the British and the colonists. A good example is the map reproduced here, which was surveyed by British engineer Lt. Richard Williams and has later additions.

Williams' survey was made in October 1775, four months after the Battle of Bunker Hill in Charlestown. Williams shows the location of British forces in that town and labels the central hill where the battle had occurred "Bunkers Hill," thus perpetuating a mistake on earlier maps that had led to the mis-naming of the battle, for it had actually been fought on Breeds Hill. As the map shows, American fortifications almost surrounded Boston. Boston itself is depicted very similarly to the way it is on the Bellin map (see map 12), suggesting that the Williams map was also based on the 1760s British survey.