Fort Ligonier Sign

School of Instruction March 23-24, 2019

12th Annual 18th Century Surveying, Cartography & Engineering School of Instruction at Fort Ligonier, Ligonier, PA



Museum of the American Revolution

The Department of the Geographer was invited to set up a display and talk to the patrons of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia pm February 3-4, 2018.

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The Department of the Geographer aims to accurately portray a working interpretation of the Department during the period from 1777 to 1783.

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History of the Unit

By the summer of 1777, George Washington had identified a definite weakness in the Army’s ability to produce adequate topographical data in order to plan and execute theater operations. In July of that year, Washington wrote to Congress, “A good geographer to Survey the Roads and take Sketches of the Country where the Army is to Act would be extremely useful… …I would beg leave to recommend Mr. Robt. Erskine…”

“Young gentlemen of Mathematical genius, who are acquainted with the principles of Geometry, and who have a taste for drawing, would be the most proper assistants for a Geographer. Such, in a few days practice, may be made expert surveyors. The instrument best adapted for accuracy and dispatch is the Plain-Table; by this, the Surveyor plans as he proceeds, and not having his work to protract in the evening may attend the longer to it in the day. One of these instruments, with a chain and ten iron-shod arrows, should be provided for each of the Surveyors it may be thought proper to employ.”  Robert Erskine to George Washington, August 1, 1777

18thC Surveyor Painting

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The Department of the Geographer is a military living history unit of the Brigade of the American Revolution, and is seeking recruits.

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