1871 Admiralty Nautical Chart of the Chesapeake Bay

North America East Coast. Great Egg Harbor to Albemarle Sound. Including Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. Form The United States Coast Survey. 1859 - 70. - Main View

1871 Admiralty Nautical Chart of the Chesapeake Bay


Meticulously detailed chart - includes depth soundings to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.!


North America East Coast. Great Egg Harbor to Albemarle Sound. Including Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. Form The United States Coast Survey. 1859 - 70.
  1871 (dated)     39 x 25.5 in (99.06 x 64.77 cm)     1 : 437500


This is an 1871 British Admiralty nautical chart or maritime map of the Chesapeake Bay and Middle Atlantic Coast. The map depicts the east coast of the United States from Great Egg Harbor, New Jersey and up the Delaware River to Philadelphia to the northern reaches of Albemarle Sound in North Carolina. Incredibly detailed, individual buildings are illustrated in towns and cities (which are labeled), in order to impart an idea of relative size. Philadelphia, Baltimore, Wilmington, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Frederiksburg (Frederickburg), and Petersburg are among the cities labeled. Myriad roads are rendered, along with numerous rail lines, such as Baltimore and Ohio, the Washington and Baltimore, and the Richmond Frederick and Potomac Railways. Several rivers are illustrated, some of which are included in detail with depth soundings extending up Delaware Bay and the Delaware River past Philadelphia and up Chesapeake Bay past Baltimore to the mouth of the Susquehanna River. Myriad depth soundings populate the map, with soundings included up the Potomac River to Washington, D.C., and up the Rappahannock, York, and James Rivers. Along the coastline, depth soundings are densely rendered. Below the title, in the upper-right corner, two tables contain information about the tides in Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay.

Based upon United States Coast Survey information, this map was originally published by the British Admiralty in May 1862 and subsequently updated four times to arrive at this 1871 edition. It was drawn by Robert C. Carrington and engraved by J. and C. Walker.


The British Admiralty Office (1795 - Present) or the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office refers to the Branch of the English government that is responsible for the command of the British Navy. In 1795 King George III created the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, known in short as the U.K.H.O., to provide top notch nautical charts to the vast Royal Navy. Prior the founding of the Admiralty the surveying and creation of nautical charts was primarily a commercial venture wherein the cartographer himself, more of than not, actually financed the printing of his own material. The great navigator Cook himself is known to have scrambled for funds to publish his own seminal charts - the most important and advanced of the period. The system of privately funded nautical mapping and publishing left vast portions of the world uncharted and many excellent charts unpublished. King George III, responding significant loss in trade revenue related to shipwrecks and delay due to poor charts, recognized the need for an institutionalized government sponsored cartographic agency - the Admiralty. The first head of the Admiralty, a position known as Hydrographer, was the important cartographer Alexander Dalrymple. Dalrymple started by organizing and cataloging obtainable charts before initiating the laborious process of updating them and filling in the blanks. The first official Admiralty Chart appeared in 1800 and detailed Quiberon Bay in Brittany. By 1808 the position of Hydrographer fell to Captain Thomas Hurd. Hurd advocated the sale of Admiralty charts to the general public and, by the time he retired in 1829, had issued and published some 736 charts. Stewardship of the organization then passed to Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort. It was under Beaufort's administration that the Admiralty truly developed as a "chart making" as opposed to a "chart cataloging" institution. Beaufort held his post from 1829 to 1854. In his 25 years at the Admiralty Beaufort created nearly 1500 new charts and sponsored countless surveying and scientific expeditions - including the 1831 to 1836 voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle. By 1855 the Admiralty's chart catalog listed some 1,981 charts.

The Office of the Coast Survey (1807 - present) 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 devised a labor intensive triangulation system whereby the entire coast was divided into a series of enormous triangles. These were in turn 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 losing congressional funding for the Coast Survey. Nonetheless, Hassler led 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 to 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) to accommodate topographic as well as nautical surveys. Today the Coast Survey is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA as the National Geodetic Survey.


Good. Even overall toning. Light soiling. Patch repair to upper left corner. Blank on verso.


OCLC 497777307.