General Grant Looked at It

Published:October 4, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe

The above map, published in July 1863 and certainly one of the first to show West Virginia as a separate state, is beautiful all by itself, but Harvard Law School Library ups the cool factor even more. It has a fragment of a copy that once belonged to Oliver Wendell Holmes, who owned the map while fighting in Virginia during the Civil War.

The inscription in the bottom-right corner, in Holmes’s hand, reads: “I carried this in the spring campaign 1864 from Brandy Sta. to PetersburgGen. Grant took it for a moment at Spotsylvania & looked at it”

IMAGES: Map of the State of Virginia, July 1863, by A. D. Bache and W. L. Nicholson (David Rumsey Map Collection); bottom-right corner of map fragment, inscribed by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (Harvard Law School Library); Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., ca. 1930 (Library of Congress)