Rare separately issued example the region centered on the area around Hilton Head, South Carolina and including Savannah, Port Royal Island, etc.
The map includes the most detailed surveys, soundings and sailing instructions on the region. The map appeared in the Official Report of the United States Coast Survey for the year. It is unquestionably the finest and most detailed map of the period and the only obtainable map of the region which reflects this level of detail.
While Coast survey maps from the 1850s are relatively common, these oversized surveys from the 1870s rarely appear on the market and are frequently in poor condition when they do. The present example was never folded and was apparently a working sea chart, rolled and stored in a chart chest. Accordingly, it has remained in an unusually nice state of conservation.
While the lack of a neatline on the right side of the map makes it appear to be a two sheet map, it was in fact issued only as a single sheet.
The United States Office of the Coast Survey began in 1807, when Thomas Jefferson founded the Survey of the Coast. However, the fledgling office was plagued by the War of 1812 and disagreements over whether it should be civilian or military controlled. The entity was re-founded in 1832 with Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler as its superintendent. Although a civilian agency, many military officers served the office; army officers tended to perform the topographic surveys, while naval officers conducted the hydrographic work.
The Survey’s history was greatly affected by larger events in American history. During the Civil War, while the agency was led by Alexander Dallas Bache (Benjamin Franklin’s grandson), the Survey provided the Union army with charts. Survey personnel accompanied blockading squadrons in the field, making new charts in the process.
After the Civil War, as the country was settled, the Coast Survey sent parties to make new maps, employing scientists and naturalists like John Muir and Louis Agassiz in the process. By 1926, the Survey expanded their purview further to include aeronautical charts. During the Great Depression, the Coast Survey employed over 10,000 people and in the Second World War the office oversaw the production of 100 million maps for the Allies. Since 1970, the Coastal and Geodetic Survey has formed part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and it is still producing navigational products and services today.