Rare separately issued example of the first edition of this detailed chart of the Lower Part of the Cape Fear River, from the Wilmington area to just south of the Ruins of Old Brunswick, first issued in 1856.
Includes a large inset of the area around Wilmington and the river to the north.
The map was first issued in a thin paper copy, which was included in the Coast Survey's Annual Report to the Superintendant. The present example is Electrotype Copy #2, printed on thick paper, which was separately issued only and was re-issued periodically, as late as 1888, published by the Coast & Geodetic Survey. However, all editions of the Electrotype #2 copy are very rare.
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.