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.
Key, John Ross

Middle Initial: R


Branch: Army

Theater: Eastern

Related: SC

Bio: John Ross Key (1837-1920), the grandson of Francis Scott Key, was an accomplished nineteenth century artist who started his career as a draftsman in the U.S. Coast Survey. While drawing maps with Coast Survey, he worked for a short of time with John Whistler. During the Civil War, Key served with the Federal Corp of Engineers in Charleston, South Carolina. There he documented the siege of the city in 1863. After the war, he moved to Southern California where he painted famous landscapes, including those of the Sierra Nevadas. He died in Baltimore.


Office of Coast Survey
Historical Map and Chart Collection
Web site owner: NOAA's Office of Coast Survey