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1851 U.S. Coast Survey Chart or Map of the Harbor of New London, Connecticut

The Harbor of New London. - Main View

1851 U.S. Coast Survey Chart or Map of the Harbor of New London, Connecticut


Beautiful separate issued nautical chart of New London Harbor, Connecticut.



The Harbor of New London.
  1851 (dated 1848)     18.5 x 15 in (46.99 x 38.1 cm)     1 : 20000


This is a beautiful and scarce 1851 electrotype map or nautical chart of the harbor of New London, Connecticut issued by the U.S. Coast Survey. The map, published separately as a presentation copy, covers the city and harbor along the mouth of the Thames River and includes parts of Groton. Extends from Winthrop’ Cove south to Goshen Point and east to Poquannock River and Bushy Point Beach. Features beautiful inland detail, with fields, forests, streets and buildings noted. The map offers copious notes and sailing directions including information on tides and dangers. Several lighthouses are also noted. Depth soundings are noted throughout in feet.

This map is accompanied by a manuscript note written in fine hand. It is dated July 23, 1853 and reads:
Capt. Benham (in charge of U.S. Office) has the pleasure of forwarding to Revd. R. N. Hallem a copy of the Coast Survey Reports of 1851 – with the volume of sketches – also a map of New London Harbor- which it is hoped may be found to contain useful and interesting information.
Originally published in 1848, on the basis of the note attached, this particular map was most likely issued in 1851. Trigonometrical survey for this chart was conducted under the direction of F. R. Hassler. Triangulation by E. Blunt and topography by F.H. Gerdes and J.B. Gluck. Hydrography was done by the party under the command of G.S. Blake. Electrotyped by S. Siebert. The whole was completed under the direction of A. D. Bache, one of the most influential and prolific 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. Learn More...

Alexander Dallas Bache (July 19, 1806 - February 17, 1867) was an American physicist, scientist and surveyor. Bache is best known in cartographic circles as the Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey from 1843 to 1865. Born in Philadelphia, Bache, a great grandson of the statesman and inventor Benjamin Franklin, had a varied career primarily focused on education. He toured Europe on behalf of Girard College and composed an important treatise on European Education. Later he served as president of Philadelphia's Central High School and was a professor of natural history and chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. On the death of Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler, Bache was appointed Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey. Picking up where Hassler left off Bache presided over the Survey during its most prolific period and oversaw the mapping of most of the United States coastline. To this day his name appears on countless marine pilot books and U.S. Coast Survey nautical charts. For his work he was elected Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society. Following the Civil War, Bache was elected a 3rd Class Companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. He died at Newport, Rhode Island and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC, where he is commemorated with a monument built by American architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Learn More...


Good. Some wear along original fold lines with minor loss near fold intersections. Originally issued on thick paper, backed with archival tissue. Minor toning and spotting. Accompanied by manuscript note.


Rumsey 2470.011.