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.
Whiting, Henry Laurens

Middle Initial: L


Branch: Army

Theater: Eastern

Related: VA, DC, PA

Bio: Henry Laurens Whiting (1821-1897) held a long and distinguished career as a topographer with the U.S. Coast Survey (1838-1897). He served under all three of the nineteenth century Coast Survey superintendents. He was a member of the Mississippi River Commission, Professor of Topographic Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an instructor in harbor surveying at the U.S. Naval Academy. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Whiting was out in the field. He returned to Washington and was the first to volunteer for service. He made topographical maps for the Union, including Manassas Junction.


Office of Coast Survey
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