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Notes on the Coast of the United States


The Notes on the Coast of the United States are a series of eight memoirs written in 1861 by the "Blockade Strategy Board." The Board included among its members the Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey, A.D. Bache. Superintendent Bache saw the Board as a means of continuing the important work of the Coast Survey in the midst of the Civil War. The surveys completed by Bache and his team include sailing directions and detailed geographic information for the Southeast and Gulf Coasts. The documents were instrumental to Union Army and Navy operations, as officers planned blockade strategy using field correspondence from the Board.

Files are in Adobe .PDF format, and download time may be significant due to file size.

Notes on the Coast:

  • Memoir I (25.8m) Delaware Bay; Coast of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia; Chesapeake Bay
  • Memoir II (12.9m) Patuxant, Potomac, Petapsco, Severn, and Susquehanna Rivers; Chesapeake Bay
  • Memoir III (8.5m) James, York, and Rappahannock Rivers
  • Memoir IV (26.1m) North Carolina
  • Memoir V (14.9m) South Carolina
  • Memoir V (15.2m) Georgia
  • Memoir VI & VII (36.3m) West Coast of Florida
  • Memoir VIII (10.2m) Mobile Bay; Mississippi Sound

Notes on the Coast were accompanied by charts spanning the coast from the Chesapeake Bay to New Orleans. Nearly 100 charts were used to draft the blockade strategy. Currently, nine of these charts, listed below, have been scanned and added to NOAA's Historical Chart Collection.

Charleston Harbor and Approaches
Chesapeake Bay Sheet 4
Mouth of Chester River
North Edisto River
North Edisto River
Pasquotank River
Savannah River
Sea Coast of Virginia and Entrance to Chesapeake Bay
St. Marys River and Fernandina Harbor
St. Simons Sound and Brunswick Harbor

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