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Rare separately issued example of this important chart of Charleston Harbor, first issued in 1858 and revised and updated in 1862 for use during the Civil War.

The present map is an exceptional example of the United States Coast Survey's adaptation of an earlier printed sea chart for use by during the Civil War. Tasked with creating maps to aid the Union Army and Navy at the outset of the war, the USCS modified and updated many of its most important maps, as well as compiling information to create new maps. The only other recorded example of this map is in the Library of Congress is a heavily damaged copy that and bears the inscription: " Transferred from Office of Chf. Engr., Defenses of Washington, to Engr. Dept., Jany. 1866.".

The Chart shows the entrance to the harbor from offshore and locates Folly Island, Light House Inlet, Sullivan's Island, James Island, Hog Island, with Charleston depicted between the Ashley & Cooper Rivers. The revised edition shows fortifications.

The Chart depicts a street block plan of Charleston with wharves and commercial buildings. At base of chart are two long horizontal landfall approach view of 1.) View of the Main Ship Channel and 2.) View of North Channel with Fort Sumter. The chart includes very detailed sailing directions for mariners entering the harbor, plus notes on buoys and beacons, tides, currents and soundings.

The earlier edition of the map was considerably smaller and lacked much of the internal details added to this newly revised and updated chart. The original 1858 chart can be seen here: /gallery/detail/15753. The Library of Congress also has a very different version, dated 1858, which is similar in detail to the present chart, but has been extensively annotated by General S.W. Crawford, a Union officer at Fort Sumter, dated July 10, 1869, which appears to be a combination of manuscript and printed work.

During the Civil War, the trained engineers and hydrographers of the United States Coast Survey played an important role in the production of field maps. While established for hydrographical mapping, at the outset of the War, it became quickly apparent that infrastructure at the Coast Survey office was best suited to the rapid compilation and assimilation of best cartographic sources to produce maps and sea charts in aid of the Union Army and Navy. During this time period, the Coast Survey mapmakers were also responsible for a number of printing innovations that allowed for faster and more accurate printing methods, both at home and in the field. A number of important mapmakers and other historically infuential Americans engaged in the production of maps for the Coast Survey from 1861 to 1865.

Condition Description
Expert repairs to marginal tear at lower centerfold, extending into printed image.
Stephenson 383.2.
United States Coast Survey Biography

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.