De La Fayette’s Cartographer

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

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!

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! I experienced it myself.

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2 comments Add yours
  1. Hello Christine,

    I love your site! It is a treasure of information….a rara avis.

    I am very interested in the maps of Michel Capitaine du Chesnoy, as I am in the process of moving to Philadelphia and have researched many of the Lafayette sites there. Do you still have the Magazine Antiques back issue that you mentioned, and would you part with it?

    With highest regards,

    Dave Grossfeld
    dave.grossfeld@gmail.com
    216-904-8650

    1. Thanks Dave!
      I actually still have one extra back issue.
      I emailed you directly. I also asked you in my email if you would know where I could buy a copy of a book written by Lafayette in camps during the American Revolution which I have been looking for: http://books.google.fr/books/about/Lettres_in%C3%A9dites_du_g%C3%A9n%C3%A9ral_de_La_Fay.html?id=77PmtgAACAAJ&redir_esc=y
      Finally, I should add a post to my blog, because we visited the Hermione in France in September (the fregate Lafayette was on to cross the Altantic and announce to George Washington that France was going to support the Americans, and this full size replica will actually sell to the USA in 2015 (a couple of years later than what they originally planned.

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