The Corps of Topographical Engineers. 1831-1863.
Captain John Mackay & Lieutenant Jacob Blake.
The independent Topographical Engineering Bureau was established
The smallest branch in the Army, it was first led by Colonel
John Abert till 1861, then by Colonel Stephen Long. It was
absorbed by the Army Engineering Corps, by an Act of Congress
In spite of its low headcount (some 44 officers on the eve
of the Civil War), the Corps amassed an impressive cartographic
knowledge. It was instrumental in facilitating:
- the taming of the Western and Southern Territories,
- the conduct of operations during the second Seminole War
between 1835 and 1842,
- the prosecution of the war with Mexico between 1846 and
- the strategic and tactical moves during the Civil War, between
1861 and its demise in march 1863.
Map of East Florida,..
This map (10 ½" X 15 ¾") is a reduction of the much larger
work (30 ½" X 41") prepared by the same two officers of the
Topographical Engineering Bureau in 1839 on the order of General
Zachary Taylor. Taylor was heading the operations of the US
Army during the 1838 till 1841 part of the second Seminole
War (1835 till 1842).
The map depicts the infrastructure already in place in the
Florida Territory: military roads, some ninety forts, bridges,
ferries, depots, trading houses, and Indian encampments and
It also pinpoints the location of earlier battles. Notice
in particular, south west of the Wahoo swamp, the site of
the December 28th 1835 ambush where Colonel Dade and some
one hundred of his men were massacred. This event is generally
credited for triggering the second Seminole War.
Note: A few military leaders involved in the first two Seminole
Wars, acceded to the US presidency: Ulysses Grant, Andrew
Jackson and Zachary Taylor.
Note: this map served as the basis for the 1954 "Mikasuki"
land claim (the so-called Buckskin Declaration of Independence).
No text on verso.