Rare Key West Sailing Chart
Nice example of this rare separately issued variant edition of the US Coast Survey chart of Key West, Florida, and its approaches, first issued in 1855 and periodically revised during and after the Civil War.
Key West was a critically important fortification during the Civil War. Despite the prevailing Rebel sympathies of the local population, the heavily armed fort, controlled by Federal Troops, insured that Key West would remain in the hands of the Union during the entire conflict. Several versions of this map were issued during the war.
This important sea chart of Key West and environs includes a large inset map of Key West Harbor, a smaller inset of the Northwest Channel Bar and extensive sailing directions.
Printed on thick paper and never folded.
The United States Coast survey was responsible for several major printing innovations, including electrotyping and photography as applied to cartography. Neither of these technologies were invented within the Coast Survey. However, because of the electrical and mechanical genius of George Mathiot, both of these methods were improved and applied to the rapid production of charts and maps with great effect by the end of the 1850's.
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 influential Americans engaged in the production of maps for the Coast Survey from 1861 to 1865.