Coast Surveyors assumed important combat roles during the Civil War, serving as topographers, reconnaissance specialists, scouts, intelligence officers, and combat hydrographers.

For a contemporary record of combat mapping during the Civil War, see the war record of Frederick Dorr and John Donn.

Browse biographical vignettes of Coast Surveyors, listed below.
Oltmanns, John

Middle Initial: G

Rank: Major

Branch: Army, Navy

Theater: Western, Eastern

Related: LA, MS, VA, TX

Bio: John James Oltmanns was sent by the U.S. Coast Survey to assist Union field officers during the war. Oltmanns served under Admiral David Dixon Porter in the capture of New Orleans, General William B. Franklin during the Red River Campaign, with Philip Sheridan at Cedar Hill, and with David Dixon Porter on the Mississippi River. He eventually achieved the rank of major, but was wounded on a reconnaissance mission on the Pearl River. He died five years after the war from complications.


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