Constructing the military landscape: the Board of Ordnance maps and plans of Scotland, 1689–1815
Anderson, Carolyn J.
This thesis examines the mapping of eighteenth-century Scotland in relation to the British state’s imperatives to know the spaces of the nation. It examines the idea of the ‘military landscape’—that conjunction of forts, roads, and barracks—represented and constructed by the military engineers, surveyors, and draughtsmen of the Board of Ordnance between 1689 and 1815. In total, 940 maps constitute the Board of Ordnance ‘archive’ housed mainly in the National Library of Scotland, the British Library, the National Archives (Kew), and the Royal Library at Windsor. The study of the Board of Ordnance military maps of Scotland is considered in relation to the epistemological foundations of map making in the Enlightenment, particular focus being paid to the relations between government institutions and military cartography. The thesis considers how political and military power was embodied in the engineers’ maps and plans. It explores the extent to which the Scottish landscape—especially the Highlands—was an unknown territory demanding intellectual and material civilisation in cartographic form. In its main chapters on forts, movement, and battles, the thesis is organised to reflect the purpose behind the creation of military maps. It includes representations of military activities that consistently had recourse to mapping—fortifying, intelligence, reconnaissance, marching, encamping, and battle—and explains why military maps were conceived thus and how they were used. Fortification cartography dominates the representation of Scottish military landscapes: 73% of the archive constitutes maps, plans, sections, and views of forts, barracks, and coastal batteries; 22% maps associated with military movement; and 5% battle maps. By examining the different genres of military mapping, the thesis offers an evaluation of the Board’s endeavours to rationalise and to codify military cartography in order to bring it in line with wider European practices. This review of the nature and extent of military mapping of eighteenth-century Scotland reveals the practice to be a result of institutional imperatives to assert territorial control rather than simply a cartographic enterprise. In (re)constructing the military landscape, the thesis extends current knowledge of military mapping in eighteenth-century Scotland and provides for the first time a substantive examination of the Board of Ordnance as an agency of state and cartographic authority.