Highlights from the War Department Map Collection

The Cartographic Branch is digitizing the Record Group 77, War Department Map Collection (NAID 305808), which consists of maps of both the United States and foreign areas. At this time, only the maps relating to the United States have been digitized, although we hope to digitized the foreign maps in the future. The United States maps are mostly arranged by state; each state has a file unit in the catalog. There is also a file unit that covers general maps of the United States (NAID 77312743). Maps within the collection typically date to the late 19th century and early 20th century, although some maps are copies of earlier maps or depict earlier military history events, such as battles.

Many of the items found within the War Department Map Collection focus on military reservations or forts, and can include plans for forts, military maneuver maps, route maps, rifle ranges, and others. The plans for forts and military reservations typically show topography of the surrounding area, the location of facilities and structures within the fort, or other interesting features.

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Blueprint showing Fort Morgan, Alabama.  RG 77, War Department Map Collection (WDMC), 25-Alabama (NAID 103396344).
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Maneuver Map of Camp Meade and Vicinity. RG 77, WDMC, 064 – Maryland (NAID 137929277).

The series also contains maps showing historic battles and military actions, including those from the Mexican American War, Civil War, and Revolutionary War.

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Sketch of the Battle of Los Angeles, Upper California fought between the Americans and Mexicans, January 9th, 1847. RG 77, WDMC, 138-2-California (NAID 103396484).
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Yorktown, Virginia and the Ground Occupied in the Siege of 1781. RG 77, WDMC, 028-Virginia (NAID 137930512). 

Within the United States File Unit, the series also contains many general maps of the United States. The maps cover a range of subjects, including but not limited to, Native American reservations, frontier outposts in the western United States, military posts and forts, training camps, rivers, boundaries, public lands, railroads, defenses, military surveys, and military departments. Again, these mainly date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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Map Showing Indian Reservations in the United States West of the 84th Meridian and Number of Indians belonging thereto, 1882. RG 77, WDMC, 7-US (NAID 77452203).
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Outline Military Map of the United States. RG 77, WDMC, 72-US (NAID 77452229).

We encourage you to visit the National Archives Catalog online and browse through the newly digitized maps and plans found within the War Department Map Collection. To browse maps and drawings for a specific state, click on the file unit for that state and then, under the details section, click the blue hyperlink next to “includes.” Also, be sure to check back, as more scans are added to the catalog all the time!

View WDMC Items -- final

 

 

 

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