UNITED STATES COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY
Chesapeake Bay, York River Hampton's Roads Chesapeake Entrance
Washington D.C. Published by the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, Sept. 1899. Engraving. Printed on wove paper. In excellent condition with the exception of a large in filled tear in the upper margin. Another expertly mended tear on the bottom margin. Image size: 37 3/4 x 27 1/4 inches. Sheet size: 29 7/8 x 42 inches.
A fascinating sea chart of the Chesapeake Bay, produced by the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey.
In response to the growing need for accurate coastal charts of America, Thomas Jefferson signed a bill creating the United States Coast Survey. Founded in 1807, the agency was responsible for conducting detailed surveys of the coastal areas, which were then carefully recorded in large navigational charts. These charts included information on shoals, reefs, and other navigational hazards that plagued American vessels. Ferdinand Hassler, a young Swiss engineer, was selected to establish the new agency, but various obstacles meant that the actual surveying did not commence until 1816, when Hassler began work on New York Bay.
Hassler was succeeded by Alexander Dallas Bache who dedicated himself to surveying the country's extended coastline. Under Bache the quality of the engraving and lettering in the charts achieved a high standard and the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey became a permanent, and heartily supported government function. The work of the Coast Survey not only resulted in the most accurate charts of America's coastal waters, but pioneered the techniques and equipment used by later surveyors in mapping the interior of the country.
Conducted under S. Pritchett, who ran the Survey office for only three years before becoming president of M.I.T, this detailed chart covers the Chesapeake Bay including the York River, and the Hampton Roads waterway. Water depths and sand bars are all carefully recorded, as are the various lighthouses along the coastline. Tides, soundings and buoys are also noted as well as weather signal stations and life saving stations. This is an important sea chart of this area and wonderful example of the maps produced by the United States Coast Survey.