1866 U. S. Coast Survey Map of Portsmouth Harbor, New Hampshire
Description: This is a beautiful example of the U.S. Coast Survey's 1866 nautical chart or maritime map of Portsmouth Harbor, New Hampshire. It covers the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and its vicinity from Odiornes Point and Sagamore Creek to Chauncy's Creek and Spruce Creek. It includes Great Island, the Navy Year, Kittery Maine, and countless smaller islands. This 1866 map represents the culmination of the Coast Survey's work in the vicinity of Portsmouth. Unlike earlier issues, this example presents rich topographical detail as well as hydrographical data. There are countless depth soundings throughout and the right-hand quadrants feature sailing instructions, notes on tides and light houses, and a wealth of other practical information for the mariner. The city of Portsmouth itself is beautifully illustrated with numerous individual buildings and all major streets rendered.
The triangulation for this map is the work of T. J. Cram. The Topography was completed by H. Stansbury. The hydrography was accomplished by parties under the command of M. Woodhull. Stansbury, it should be noted, had previously completed the first accurate survey of Great Salt Lake in anticipation of a transcontinental railroad and is one of the most important cartographers in American history. Though this chart is a minor production compared to his other pieces, his association with it bears note. This chart was published three years after Stansbury's death, so we can assume that it must have been one of his final projects for the Army Corps of Engineers. The whole was compiled under the supervision of A. D. Bache, one of the most influential American cartographers of the 19th century.
Date: 1866 (dated)
Source: Bache, A. D., Report of the Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey, (Washington) 1866.
Cartographer: 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. Click here for a list of rare maps from the U. S. Coast Survey.
Cartographer: Howard Stansbury (1806 - April 13, 1863) was an important surveyor, cartographer, and explorer who did his most important work in Utah during the middle part of the 19th century. Born in New York City, Stansbury trained to be a Civil Engineer. Shorty after getting married to Helen Moody of Detroit in 1827, Stansbury took a position with the United States Topographical Bureau. In this position Stansbury traveled widely, leading survey teams in the Great Lakes Region, in New England, and in the Gulf of Mexico. Upon achieving the rank of Captain, Stansbury received was commissioned to head a survey of the Great Basin that would ultimately become the crowning achievement of his career. His assignment was to survey the emigrant trails to California, including the Oregon Trail, as well as the Great Salt Lake, and report on the status of the growing Mormon Community in Salt Lake City. Working with J. W. Gunnison and Alfred Carrington, a Mormon scout, Stansbury produced a masterful survey of the region that had a lasting effect not only on the development of the Great Basin, but on the development of the west in general. Upon completion of his survey, Stansbury set out on the road to Washington, completing another important survey in the process. On the way, a fall from his horse injured Stansbury to the point where he never fully recovered. Following the presentation of his report to Congress, Stansbury was assigned to additional survey work around the Great Lakes. Upon the outbreak of the American Civil War, he was assigned to recruitment duties in Ohio and later Wisconsin. Shortly after starting work at this post he suffered an abrupt heart attack and passed away. He is buried in St. Paul, Minnesota. Click here for a list of rare maps from H. Stansbury.
Size: Printed area measures 27 x 19.5 inches (68.58 x 49.53 centimeters)
Scale: 1 : 20000
Condition: Very good. Some damage and toning along original fold lines. Backed on archival tissue.
Code: PortsmouthHarbor-uscs-1866 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)
Tags: U.S. Government Map