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Stock# 58035

Second State of Faden's Plan of the Battle of Valcour Island -- Captain Thomas Pringle Named As the Commanding Officer of the British Forces

Nice example of Faden's battle plan of the Battle of Valcour Island, one of the rarest of all printed battle plans for the American Revolution.

Faden's plan is the definitive 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, although he would later become the most famous traitor of the Revolution. Faden's plan, which was reportedly 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.

The map originally bore the name of Sir Guy Carleton, the commander of the British Forces at Valcour Island. However, once it became clear that the battle had been a failure for the British, Faden was ordered to remove Carleton's name most likely because the British viewed Valcour Island as a significant military failure, leading Carleton or his supporters to ask that Faden remove all evidence of Carleton's command. Nebenzahl notes that, "It is generally conceded that if the British had reached Albany that winter the American Revolution could have collapsed altogether."

Faden published a series of famous battle plans for the Revolution, of which this example is the rarest and is especially desirable with the additional text panels below the plan.

The second edition replaces Guy Carleton's name with Pringle's name in the title. This edition is known in 2 states, one with text, one without.

Condition Description
Minor repairs at folds and minor foxing and soiling.
Streeter #773; Stevens & Tree 24; Nebenzahl, Atlas, pp. 66-67; Nebenzahl, Bibliography of Printed Battle Plans, #47.
William Faden Biography

William Faden (1749-1836) was a prominent London mapmaker and publisher. He worked in close partnership with the prolific Thomas Jeffreys from 1773 to 1776. In 1783, Faden assumed ownership of the Jeffreys firm and was named Geographer to the King in the same year. Faden specialized in depictions of North America and also commanded a large stock of British county maps, which made him attractive as a partner to the Ordnance Survey; he published the first Ordnance map in 1801. The Admiralty also admired his work and acquired some of his plates which were re-issued as official naval charts. After retiring in 1823 the lucrative business passed to James Wyld, a former apprentice.