LaFayette’s Cartographer

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I love maps, with nice details and colors. Surfing on the “France in America” site, I came across this nice map of Fort Ticonderoga in 1777, also showing Mount Defiance and Mount Independence which all played a role in that campaign. It has tons of details and nice colors! It also shows the famous bridge which had been built across Lake Champlain by the Americans. Interestingly, the legend is a strange mix of French and English words!

Detail of the map of Lake Champlain drawn by Lafayette cartographer

Fort Carillon – Detail of the map of Lake Champlain drawn by Lafayette’s cartographerCredit: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

Then it led me to want to learn more about the author of the map, Mr. Capitaine, the “aide de camp” of Marquis de La Fayette and I actually found a long and excellent article on this cartographer (and on de La Fayette’s participation in the American Revolution): Chesnoy: Michel Capitaine du Chesnoy, the Marquis de Lafayette’s cartographer – Paul E Cohen (Magazine Antiques, Jan. 1998) (the article used to be available on line, but is not anymore unfortunately. You can get a back issue by contacting the Magazine Antiques – or contact me, I have on extra copy of this issue). Additionally, some of these maps can be seen at the Library of Congress, as it received six of these rare maps as a gift in 2000. Just go to the Geography and Map division, basement floor and ask for it. The librarian will get it out of the vault for you. It is quite a treat! Iexperienced it myself.

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