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.
Dahlgren, John

Middle Initial:

Rank: Rear Admiral

Branch: Navy

Theater: Eastern

Related: DC,SC,GA

Bio: Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren (1809-1870), known as the father of American naval ordnance, commanded the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. Dahlgren worked with the U.S. Coast Survey from 1834-1837. In 1847, Lieutenant Dahlgren was assigned to ordnance duty at the Washington Navy Yard. Over the next 15 years, he invented and developed bronze boat guns, heavy smoothbore shell guns, and rifled ordnance. He also created the first sustained weapons research and development program and organization in U.S. naval history. In 1861, he was the commandant of the Washington Navy Yard and became chief of the Bureau of Ordnance the next year. With Lincoln's support, Dahlgren took command of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron in July 1863, and led naval forces besieging Charleston for the next two years.


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