HOME | ABOUT US | CONTACT | REGIONAL MANAGERS
 
  Headlines  
 
  Jump to Current  
 
  Archive  
     •   Coast Survey Publishes New Editions of Eastern Long Island Sound Nautical Charts  
     •   NOAA Publishes Updated Cobscook Bay Area Chart  
     •   U.S. Chart No. 1 Moves into Electronic Age  
     •   New Mobile App Provides Free Nautical Charts for Recreational Boating  
     •   NOAA starts 2013 post-Sandy surveys at Statue of Liberty  
     •   Public Invited to Hydrographic Services Review Panel Webinar  
     •  

Coast Survey Plans for New Arctic Nautical Charts

 
     •   Cmdr. Shepard Smith is New Chief of Marine Chart Division  
     •   U.S. and Canada eliminate overlapping ENC coverage in the Great Lakes  
     •   NOAA's Navigation Services speed post-SANDY recovery  
     •   Will Boaters use QR Codes on Print-on-Demand Charts?  
     •   Happy Holidays from Coast Survey  
     •   NOAA names Glang nation's hydrographer, director of Coast Survey  
     •   NOAA Ship Fairweather Conducting Hydrographic
Reconnaissance Survey of the Arctic
 
     •   NOAA Commissions New Survey Vessel Ferdinand R. Hassler  
     •   Boston Survey for Harborfest and Hurricane Prep  
     •   Changes to US-Canada ENC coverage effective July 26  
     •   New Chart Inset Makes for Safer Sailing in Norfolk Inner Harbor  
     •   Upgraded NOAA Charts Help Mariners Avoid Right Whales  
     •   Is a Coast Survey Team Coming to Your Home Port?  
     •   Sea Floor Survey Support Texas Maritime Trade  
     •   New Edition of U.S. Chart No. 1 Available Now  
     •   Changes to US-Canada ENC Coverage - Effective Dec. 15  
     •   NOAA's Newest Chart Supports Puerto Rico Maritime Economy  
     •   Thomas Jefferson Surveys Block Island Sound  
     •   NOAA Charts Provide More Info, Faster  
     •   NOAA Responds to Irene in Hampton Roads  
     •   NOAA National Ocean Service Prepares for Hurricane Aftermath  
     •   NOAA Seeks Your Opinion on Navigation Services  
     •   Bay Hydro II Helps Boat in Distress  
     •   NOAA Ship Fairweather Sets Sail to Map Areas of the Arctic  
     •   New Leadership for Coast Survey's Navigation Services Division  
     •   New Report Tells of U.S. Coast Survey Scientific Role in the Civil War  
     •   June 21 is World Hydrography Day  
     •   NOAA Encourages Boaters to Get Up-to-Date Nautical Charts for Spring  
     •   NOAA Updates U.S. Virgin Islands Hydrographic Data in Protected Reef Areas  
     •   Civil War Maps and Charts are Available Free to the Public  
     •   Coast Survey Responds to March 11 Tsunami  
     •   U.S. Collaborates with Arctic Coastal States to Improve Nautical Charts  
     •   Map Innovation Aids Pro-Union Cause, 1861  
     •   Coast Survey Unveils Special Collection of Civil War Maps & Charts  
     •   Nautical Charts Come Alive with New Poster Series  
     •   Coast Survey Contracts for LIDAR Hydrograpic Data  
     •   NOAA Ship Fairweather Maps Aid Shipping Through Bering Straits  
     •   Coast Survey Ready to Assist with Hurricane Recovery  
     •   NOAA Coast Survey Updates Hydrographic Survey Priorities  
     •   NOAA Nautical Charts Display Deepwater BP Oil Spill Projections  
     •   Coast Survey Scientist Adds NOAA Vision to Marine Transportation Research Needs  
     •   June 21 is World Hydrography Day!  
     •   Thomas Jefferson Undertakes Research Mission in the Gulf  
     •   nowCOAST Information Now Easier to Access  
     •   NOAA Sponsors New Alliance to Promote Navigation Safety  
     •   NOAA Warns Mariners of Serious Display Issue with ECDIS  
     •   NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson to Map Ocean Floor in Gulf of Mexico  
     •   Removal of LORAN-C Features from Nautical Products  
     •   Captain John Lowell Named Director of OCS  
     •   Recovery Funds Help Maritime Navigation  
     •   Whale Struck by Mapping Vessel  
     •   New Survey Vessel Being Readied for Action  
     •   ’Hydropalooza’ Provides Deeper Understanding of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay  
     • OCS Ready for Hurricane Season  
     • NOAA and OSU Map Oregon’s Seafloor  
     •   Healy Returns from Mapping Expedition in the Arctic  
     •   Hydropalooza Kicks Off in Alaska's Kachemak Bay  
     •   OCS Dedicates R/V Bay Hydro II  
     •   Revised Reprint Nautical Charts  
     •   Removal of LORAN-C Lattices from Charts  
 

Coast Survey Unveils Special Collection of Civil War Maps & Charts

Cartographers and surveyors performed in the heat of battle

bache in the fieldAs the nation prepares to observe the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in 2011, NOAA has assembled a special historical collection of maps, charts, and documents prepared by the U.S. Coast Survey during the war years. The collection, “Charting a More Perfect Union,” contains over 400 documents, available free to the public.

In the nation's early years, the U.S. lost more ships to accidents than to war. In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson established the Survey of the Coast to produce the nautical charts necessary for maritime safety, defense, and the establishment of national boundaries. By 1860, the United States Coast Survey was the government’s leading scientific agency. Teams of men were surveying coastlines, determining land elevations, and producing maps and nautical charts for an expanding nation experiencing growing trade relationships between states and with other countries.

U.S. Coast Survey goes on a war footing

Under Coast Survey Superintendent Alexander Bache, the agency was quick to apply its resources to the war effort. In addition to setting up additional lithographic presses to produce the thousands of charts required by the Navy and other vessels in government service, Bache made a critical decision to send Coast Survey parties to work with blockading squadrons and Armies in the field. Bache detailed these activities in his annual reports to Congress.

Bache was also one of four members of the Union’s blockade board, planning strategy to essentially strangle the South, economically and militarily. On April 16, 1861, President Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring the blockade of ports from South Carolina to Texas. Bache’s Notes on the Coast provided valuable information for Union naval forces.

In the centuries before Google Earth, maps in wartime had special military significance. As Superintendent Alexander Bache pointed out in his annual report, on Nov 7, 1862:

“It is certain that accurate maps must form the basis of well-conducted military operations, and that the best time to procure them is not when an attack is impending, or when the army waits, but when there is no hindrance to, or pressure upon, the surveyors. That no coast can be effectively attacked, defended, or blockaded without accurate maps and charts, has been fully proved by the events of the last two years, if, indeed, such a proposition required practical proof.”

Today’s Coast Survey honors its forebears

Today, the Office of Coast Survey still meets its maritime responsibilities as a part of NOAA, surveying America’s coast and producing the nation’s nautical charts. To honor its legacy and to inform the public, Coast Survey maintains a digital Historical Map & Chart Collection, with over 21,000 maps and charts from 1747 to 2001. The collection also maintains historical Coast Pilots.

Coast Survey’s collection includes 394 Civil War-era maps, including nautical charts used for naval campaigns, and maps of troop movements and battlefields. Rarely seen publications include “Notes on the Coast,” prepared by Coast Survey to help Union forces plan naval blockades against the Confederacy, and the annual report summaries by Superintendent Bache as he detailed the trials and tribulations of producing the maps and charts needed to meet growing military demands.

The Civil War special collection is accessible through a searchable database at http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/history/CivilWar.

This project was supported by the NOAA Preserve America Initiative, part of Preserve America, a federal initiative to preserve, protect and promote our nation's rich heritage.

User Survey  | Privacy Policy  |  Disclaimer  |  NOAA's National Ocean Service  |  NOAA  |  U.S. Department of Commerce 
Web site owner: NOAA Office of Coast Survey