Goldthwait’s Map of the United States & Canada


Scarce wall map showing the United States at the outbreak of the Civil War.

1 in stock

A high-resolution image is available for purchase. Email me for inquiries.

At first glance, this map of the United States simply shows the extent of the growing network of railroads across the country. Detailed information like gauge width, single and double track lines, and distance indicators are presented along each route. Inset maps of the Midwest and New England states allow for further detail in areas of particularly heavy railway concentration.

Elsewhere, the tracks are shown growing steadily westward, with the Hannibal & St. Joseph leading the way in Missouri. It was here that the railroad would transfer mail to the short lived Pony Express for final delivery west. Telegraph service which opened in October of 1861 led to its bankruptcy, but the mail service remains enshrined in the mystique of the American West.

Almost no railroads can be found in the western region, with the exception of the Houston area, but it does show an interesting transitional territorial configuration. Notable among these is Confederate Arizona – one of the few clues within the image that points to the ongoing Civil War between North and South (note the different font used for its label).

Tables around the map provide further clues; listing dates of secession, the location of military fortifications, and population statistics related to persons both free and enslaved. Taken as a whole, the map presents a compelling argument of two incredible advantages enjoyed by the North throughout the duration of the war; far greater railroad coverage (especially double tracks) and a much higher civilian population.

Less obvious, but also visible, are those advantages enjoyed by the South, which included a number of navigable rivers and harbors (making blockades exceedingly difficult) and the benefit of fighting on home soil.

The map was designed by J.H. Goldthwait, who also issued a more common pocket map version, and published in New York by G.Q. Colton. Printing by Lang & Laing.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1861

Author: J.H. Goldthwait

Sheet Width (in): 

Sheet Height (in): 29.50

Condition: B

Condition Description: 


1 in stock