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.
Pegram, R.P.

Middle Initial:


Branch: Navy

Theater: Eastern

Related: VA

Bio: Robert Baker Pegram (1811-1894) held a long career in the U.S. Navy, but resigned on April 17, 1861 to join the newly formed Confederate Navy. Pegram was a native of Dinwiddie County, Virginia and became a midshipman in the navy when he was seventeen. He served in the Home Guard, Mediterranean Squadron, African Squadron, Brazil Squadron, Pacific Squadron, and East India Squadron. For a few months, he commanded the U.S. Coast Survey Steamer Bibb (from October 1, 1860 to April 17, 1861). He resigned after Fort Sumter to lend his services to his home state of Virginia. He commanded the CSS Nashville, which eluded the northern blockade to go to Southampton, England. On the way, he captured and destroyed the USS Harvey Birch. After the Nashville was decommissioned, Pegram continued to serve the state of Virginia in various capacities. He returned to England in 1864 to build a Virginian fleet; however, only one ship was ready at the time of Confederate surrender at Appomattox. Pegram settled in Norfolk after the war.


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