Jedediah Hotchkiss: Mapmaker of the Confederacy

The Cartographic Branch holds numerous maps created by noted Civil War mapmaker Jedediah Hotchkiss. Born in Windsor, New York, Hotchkiss moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia prior to the Civil War. He worked as a tutor and eventually founded and opened two schools. Although not professionally trained in geography or cartography, Hotchkiss studied map-making in his spare time and taught himself the skills necessary to create maps.

When the Civil War broke out in the spring of 1861, Hotchkiss’ students left his school to enlist. Hotchkiss, although not in favor of southern secession, eventually volunteered his services to the Confederacy. In the spring of 1862, Hotchkiss’ mapping skills were noticed by army commanders, and he was assigned as a topographic officer to General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s corps. Jackson famously asked him “to make me a map of the Valley, from Harpers Ferry to Lexington, showing all the points of offense and defense in those places.” Over the next several months, Hotchkiss completed the map of the Shenandoah Valley, which ended up being over eight feet long. His knowledge of the Shenandoah Valley also made him a valuable resource during Jackson’s Valley Campaign, during which he provided information and reconnaissance about the terrain and roads.

The Cartographic Branch holds two maps by Hotchkiss showing troop movements and battles lines in the Shenandoah Valley during Jackson’s Valley Campaign in the spring and early summer of 1862. One of the maps shows the route of Jackson’s troops from May 15, 1862 until the battle of Winchester on June 25, 1862. This map covers a large portion of the Shenandoah Valley and shows towns, along with topography, roads, waterways, and the army’s marching route.

RG 109 VA-10 (NAID 70653182), Hotchkiss Map of the Route of the Army of the Valley from Pendleton County to the Battle of Winchester.

A second map illustrates the battle of Winchester, Virginia on May 25, 1862 and shows battle lines and topography of the area around the town.

RG 109, VA-9 (NAID 70653180),  Hotchkiss Sketch Map of the Battle of Winchester, Virginia

Hotchkiss continued to serve with Jackson’s Corps.The Cartographic Branch holds two maps created by Hotchkiss for Jackson showing the battle lines for the December 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg. The maps show the entire Confederate line of battle, but provides the most details of Jackson’s troops, who made up the right wing of the Confederate line. One of the Fredericksburg maps is a manuscript map and another is a cleaner, printed version of the same map.

RG 77, Civil Works Map File, G 131 (NAID 109182787) – Hotchkiss manuscript map of Fredericksburg Battlefield.
RG 77, Civil Works Map File, G 131 (NAID 109182789)  – Hotckiss map of Battle of Fredericksburg

Following Jackson’s death, Hotchkiss continued to serve with the Confederate Army through the end of the war, providing maps and reconnaissance Jackson’s successors and others in the Army of Northern Virginia.  After the Civil War, Hotchkiss taught school for a while, but eventually became an engineer full time. He also published a number of articles and items relating to natural history and the Civil War.

Many of his maps were featured in post-war publications. He supplied 123 maps for inclusion in the Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, which was published in the 1890s. The Cartographic Branch holds a number of manuscript maps associated with the work, including one by Hotchkiss of the Battle of Cross Keys, which was fought June 8, 1862. It includes a label that states it should be returned to “Jed. Hotchkiss, Consulting Mining Engineer, “The Oaks,” 346 East Beverly Street, Staunton, Va.”

RG 94, Civil War Atlas Manuscript Maps, Plate 111, Map 2 (NAID 305833) – Battle of Cross Keys, Virginia

Hotchkiss’ map was refined and published in the atlas as Plate 111, Map 2. The Cartographic Branch holds a copy of the published version of the map and the atlas page on which is appeared.

RG94_PublishedAtlas_Plate111 - cropped
RG 94, Civil War Atlas Published Maps, Plate 111, Map 2 (NAID 109183008). Map of the Battle of Cross Keys, VA, by Jedediah Hotchkiss. (Cropped image)
RG 94, Civil War Atlas Published Maps, Plate 111 (NAID 109183008). The Hotchkiss map of Cross Keys appears in the top row of maps, near the center. (Note: This file is very large.)

The National Archives also holds a number of other maps by Jedediah Hotchkiss, including a number of Virginia county maps within the RG 77, Civil Works Map File, including the following manuscript maps: G 180 (Augusta County), G 189 (Greene County), G 188 (Shenandoah, Page and Part of Warren Counties), G 187 (Rockingham County), G 190 (Rappahannock County), and the following photo-processed copies of maps: Published Maps, 1867, No. 21 (part of James City, York, Warwick and Elizabeth City Counties), and Published Maps, 1867, No. 22 (parts of Rappahannock, Madison, Greene, and Nelson Counties). Additionally, many more of Hotchkiss’ maps are scattered throughout the Civil War Atlas Published Maps and Manuscript Maps series. We invite you to visit the Cartographic Research room to view these maps!


Civil War Trust.  “Jedediah Hotchkiss.” Biography.

Library of Congress. “Postwar Mapping.” History of Civil War Mapping.

Woodworth, Steven E. “Jedediah Hotchkiss.” Encylopedia Virginia.

For additional information on Civil War Maps in the Cartographic Branch see:
A Guide to Civil War Maps in the National Archives, 1986.

Note: The Library of Congress also holds many of Hotchkiss’ maps, including his famous map of the Shenandoah Valley created for General Jackson. For additional information on the maps and to view them online, see the following link:



4 thoughts on “Jedediah Hotchkiss: Mapmaker of the Confederacy

  1. Outstanding! Very informative. Very enjoyable read. I would like to look at some of those maps.

  2. A visual to be treasured if one is a student of the great General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Thank you for all your effort!

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