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1855 U.S. Coast Survey Map of Cape Fear, North Carolina

Preliminary Chart of lower part of Cape Fear River North Carolina from a Trigonometrical Survey. - Main View

1855 U.S. Coast Survey Map of Cape Fear, North Carolina


A preliminary chart of the U.S. Coast Survey's work around Cape Fear.


Preliminary Chart of lower part of Cape Fear River North Carolina from a Trigonometrical Survey.
  1855 (dated)     32 x 26.5 in (81.28 x 67.31 cm)


One of the largest and most striking U.S.C.S. Map of North Carolina's Cape Fear. extends from Federal Point south to the tip of Cape Fear and then west past Smithville and Fort Caswell to Oak Island (roughly 78.04 Longitude). Offers superb coastal detail of the North Carolina mainland as well as Smith's Island and Federal Point. From a nautical perspective the map offers a wealth of depths soundings and sailing instructions, as well as information on shoals, light houses, and tides. Produced on a scale of 1:30,000. Represents the early work of the Coast Survey in this region. The triangulation for this chart was calculated by C. P. Bolles. The topography was completed by C. P. Bolles and J. S Bradford. Hydrography was accomplished by T. A. Jenkins and J. N . Maffitt. Prepared under the supervision of A. D. Bache for the 1855 Report of the Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey.


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. More by this mapmaker...


Report of the Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey, Washington, 1855.    


Very good. Minor toning on folds. Original fold lines. Closed verso repair on folds. Blank on verso.


University of North Carolina, North Carolina Collection, Cm912m U58cf1.