This is a monumental and rarely available three part 1857 nautical chart or maritime map of the Chesapeake Bay. Prepared for the 1857 edition of the U.S. Coast Survey's Superintendent's Report this giant map covers from the top of the Chesapeake Bay and the mouth of the Susquehanna River to the mouth of the Potomac River. The top or first chart covers from the head of the Bay to the Mouth of the Magothy River, inclusive of the Patapsco River and the city of Baltimore – which is detailed to the street level. The second or middle chart covers from the Magothy River to the mouth of the Hudson River and includes Annapolis, Cambridge, and Easton. This second chart also bears the title of the three map series in addition to its individual title. The bottom or third chart in this series covers from the mouth of the Hudson River to the mouth of the Potomac River.
The United States Coast Survey considered the construction of a detailed map of the Chesapeake Bay to be one of its top priorities. Various commands under Blunt, Maffit, Cutts, Hassler, Lee, Nelson, Gerdes, and others contributed extensive data to the multi-year effort. Careful observers will note that the upper sheets seem darker than the lower sheets. In the effort to map this region, the northern extremes of the Chesapeake Bay, long considered the most dangerous and poorly charted, where given precedence. Thus does a density of data, including countless depth soundings, topographical data, and sailing instructions, give evidence to the stately progress of the survey in the Chesapeake Bay.
Each sheet from this series measures some 30 x 37 inches for an overall dimension of roughly 93 x 38 inches. Though these maps do occasionally appear individually they are rarely available as a set and are exceptionally uncommon in such excellent condition. Published under the supervision of A. D. Bache, one of the most active and influential Superintendents 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.
Report of the Superintendant of the United States Coast Survey, Washington, (1857 edition).
Very good. Minor wear, toning, and verso reinforcement along original fold lines. Some margins narrow but all are intact.