General Chart of Delaware and Chesapeake Bays and the Sea Coast from Cape May to Cape Henry.
1882 (dated) 31.5 x 25 in (80.01 x 63.5 cm)
1 : 400000
An extraordinary 1882 U.S. Coast Survey nautical chart or maritime map of the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay. This is one of the rarest and most desirable charts issued by the U.S. Coast Survey. Centered in the Chesapeake Bay this ma covers from Norfolk Virginia and Cape Henry north to Cape Map and Charlestown. The map includes the cities of Washington D.C., Baltimore, Richmond, Fredericksburg and Petersburg, among lesser centers. While this map offers only minimal inland detail, the maritime detail is extraordinary. Offers thousands of depth soundingx throughout and identifies various important bays, sounds, islands, shoals and other undersea dangers, lighthouses, beacons, rivers, etc. Detailed sailing instructions for the Chesapeake Bay appear in the lower left quadrant. Sailing instructions for the Delaware Bay appear in the upper right. Notes on lighthouses in the lower left quadrant and on tides in the upper right.
This chart originally prepared in 1855 under the supervision of F.R. Hassler and A. D. Bache, two of the most influential Superintendents in the history of the Coast Survey. The present example has been updated to 1882. It is noteworthy that this chart is a standalone issue on thick stock, not the more common folding variant issued with the annual Superintendent's Report
The Office of the Coast Survey, founded in 1807 by President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of Commerce Albert Gallatin, is the oldest scientific organization in the U.S. Federal Government. Jefferson created the "Survey of the Coast," as it was then called, in response to a need for accurate navigational charts of the new nation's coasts and harbors. The spirit of the Coast Survey was defined by its first two superintendents. The first superintendent of the Coast Survey was Swiss immigrant and West Point mathematics professor Ferdinand Hassler. Under the direction of Hassler, from 1816 to 1843, the ideological and scientific foundations for the Coast Survey were established. These included using the most advanced techniques and most sophisticated equipment as well as an unstinting attention to detail. Hassler's devised a labor intensive triangulation system whereby the entire coast was divided into a series of enormous triangles. These were intern subdivided into smaller triangulation units that were then individually surveyed. Employing this exacting technique on such a massive scale had never before been attempted. Consequently Hassler and the Coast Survey under him developed a reputation for uncompromising dedication to the principles of accuracy and excellence. Unfortunately, despite being a masterful surveyor, Hassler was abrasive and politically unpopular, twice loosing congressional funding for the Coast Survey. Nonethelss, Hassler lead the Coast Survey until his death in 1843, at which time Alexander Dallas Bache, a great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin, took the helm. Bache was fully dedicated to the principles established by Hassler, but proved more politically astute and successfully lobbied Congress liberally fund the endeavor. Under the leadership of A. D. Bache, the Coast Survey completed its most important work. Moreover, during his long tenure with the Coast Survey, from 1843 to 1865, Bache was a steadfast advocate of American science and navigation and in fact founded the American Academy of Sciences. Bache was succeeded by Benjamin Pierce who ran the Survey from 1867 to 1874. Pierce was in turn succeeded by Carlile Pollock Patterson who was Superintendent from 1874 to 1881. In 1878, under Patterson's superintendence, the U.S. Coast Survey was reorganized as the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (C & GS or USGS) to accommodate topographic as well as nautical surveys. Today the Coast Survey is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA.
Very good condition.
Swem, E. G., Maps Relating to Virginia, no. 1212.