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Following the political attack of 1849, Bache's Coast Survey settled down to over a decade of virtually uninterrupted progress in conducting the triangulation, topography, and hydrography of the recently increased coastline of the United States. Office work continued expanding to meet the demands of the increased field work with a growing force of computers, draughtsmen, and engravers. New techniques were developed to expedite the printing and distribution of nautical charts to meet an ever-increasing demand for Coast Survey products. New products such as tide tables and coast pilots were developed. Magnetic and meteorological observations became part of the regular regimen of observations conducted at many field sites. Gulf Stream studies were continued and increasingly sophisticated physical oceanography studies of major harbors were instituted. While maintaining his finger on the pulse of all these operations, Bache continued his partnership with the academic community and his role as a leader of the American physical science community. During the 1850's, he used this leadership to begin the movement of the scientific community towards assuming a more active social and political role within the American scene.



The area of Coast Survey responsibility spanned twenty degrees of latitude and thirty degrees of longitude on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts alone in the year 1850. On the West Coast, Bache sent survey crews from the tip of Baja California to Nootka Sound at the northern end of Vancouver Island ranging through 27 degrees of latitude and 20 degrees of longitude. In 1846 he divided the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts into nine sections in order to operate more effectively. Following the Mexican War he added two additional sections on the West Coast. Each of the eleven sections had approximately the same extent of shoreline given the variations in the indentations, irregularities, and offshore islands. These sections were:

Section I. Coast of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island

Section II. Coast of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware

Section III. Coast of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia

Section IV. Coast of Virginia and North Carolina

Section V. Coast of South Carolina and Georgia

Section VI. East coast of Florida and keys and reefs

Section VII. West Coast of Florida

Section VIII. Coast of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana

Section IX. Coast of Louisiana and Texas

Section X and XI. Coast of California and Oregon(1)

Such an arrangement allowed the expansion of Bache's political base as well as generating economies of scale in both the field and office work. An incidental advantage was that survey crews could work south in the winter and north in the summer extending the time available to continue the work of the Survey. Section VIII was commenced in 1844; Section IV in 1845 (not counting James Ferguson's reconnaissance of Bodie Island, North Carolina in 1843;) Sections V and IX in 1846; and Sections VI, X, and XI in 1849. Because of sparse population, Section VII, Florida's west coast and panhandle, was not begun until 1852. The reefs and keys of South Florida had higher priority than western Florida because of the huge volume of vessels that passed by there and the corresponding number of shipwrecks that occurred there.

To review the methodology followed in each section, first a reconnaissance was made to find an adequate site for a base line and related triangulation. The base line was then measured which established a known distance to which all subsequent triangulation was tied. Concurrent with baseline measurement, preliminary latitude, longitude, and azimuth were determined by astronomic observations for either a point at one end of the base line or in its general vicinity. By this means a local geodetic datum was established and all subsequent latitudes and longitudes determined in that section by triangulation were referred to this initial start point. Ultimately, the primary triangulation of all sections was tied together in one continuous triangulation that was adjusted and referred to the cardinal point for the United States. During the 1850's this point was being established at the Cambridge Observatory of Harvard University. Intermediate control points were established with secondary and tertiary triangulation and topographic mapping. Soundings taken during the hydrographic surveying were then located relative to these control points. In Bache's words, this system would "furnish data for the preliminary maps and charts of the sections, without waiting for the completion of the whole work; while the system provides for the joining of the parts and the verifications, which are necessary in all extended surveys, and without which the accuracy desirable and attainable would by no means be reached."(2) He also added as an admonition to those who had recently wished to see the demise of the Coast Survey: "To derive matured fruit from such a plan, it must be steadily prosecuted to its completion."

To manage the far-flung operations of the Coast Survey, Bache wrote detailed instructions to the chiefs of the various field parties prior to their taking the field. Once the parties were in the field, they were required to issue monthly progress reports. By this means Bache secured a systematic plan for the work while at the same time maintaining sufficient communication with the field parties to allow modification of the plans as various contingencies arose. The growth of the telegraph network throughout the country had markedly increased Bache's ability to communicate with the field parties by the early 1850's and "sensibly increased the directness of superintendence."(3) Concerning Bache's predilection for issuing instructions, George Davidson commented: "My instructions were in elaborate detail, through thirty or forty pages, with the last saving sentence that if none of the proposed schemes could be carried out I was to do the best that my judgment suggested."(4) Davidson, though, had the benefit of working on the West Coast in the early years, both out of letter and telegraph range.

Although the Coast Survey followed prescribed routines, the methods used on the various operations were by no means static. Bache always pushed his organization to assure that it was developing and using the most up-to-date equipment and techniques. In his words: "The feature of the reorganization of the survey under the act of Congress of 1843, which secured a close connexion between the science of the country and the work, was most judicious. The tendency of such works is undoubtedly to adopt a routine and to adhere to it, so that sometimes they fall behind the progress of the science of the day. System is so very desirable that its excess, constituting a blind routine, is always a danger to be avoided. When closely in contact with the scientific movement of the country, this becomes impossible, the judgment of men of science being prompt to detect any faltering in the forward course of operations which they understand, and in every improvement which they fully appreciate...."(5)

Bache never lost an opportunity to demonstrate the merits of the methods used by the Coast Survey and blunt the criticisms of those opposed to his organization. In response to those who felt that triangulation was impractical on many sections of the coast, he eloquently defended the method and at the same time brushed aside questions of time to complete the Survey: "The time when the work is to be completed, I am aware, is of less consequence than the manner in which it is done. If executed by any but the best methods, it will undoubtedly be done over at some future day. We have not yet found a portion of the coast to which the geodetic method is inapplicable. There may be such, and then we shall not be without resource, but at present we are not compelled at any point to abandon the most exact methods. The mountains of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, and the hills from Maine to Maryland, afford every facility for triangulation; the wide expanse of Chesapeake bay in Maryland and Virginia, and of Albemarle and Pamplico sounds in North Carolina; the sea-islands and passages of South Carolina and Georgia; the keys and main of Florida, Mobile bay, and the islands off the coast of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana; the bays and prairies of Texas; the bare hills of California; the hills and sounds of Oregon, -- are all characteristic features of the several parts of the coast, requiring only to be recalled to the mind to indicate the easy application of the geodetic method to the survey of the coast. The points being well determined and marked on land, and the shore-line traced, the hydrography is readily executed with the requisite nicety...."(6)

By 1853, Bache was able to report that the triangulation extended from Cape Small, Maine, to Old Topsail Inlet, North Carolina, a distance of 1,450 miles as measured along the sides of the triangles with additional work extending outward from the original baselines in each section. On the eve of the Civil War, the triangulation network extended in an unbroken arc from the St. Croix River on the Maine-Canada boundary to the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, then a sixty mile break, and another continuous arc to Matanzas Inlet, Florida, south of St. Augustine.

Bache's view was that the "The true object of the survey is to furnish charts of the coast for the purposes of commerce."(7) All work accomplished by the Survey was ultimately related to that end. A corollary was expressed by Lieutenant Charles Henry Davis in a letter to Bache in 1855: "I have heard that some rocks not down on the chart have been found among the Cohasset group. I will inquire into this. In such a vast congeries of rocks, among which there are no channels suited for general use, the only important determination to the seaman is the outer limit of safety. One stone more or less is of no real consequence in a region which is wholly unapproachable. But I shall not fail, on this account to insure the minutest accuracy of definition, which is the ultimate aim of the Coast Survey."(8)

This statement of Davis cut to the heart of the philosophy with which Bache strove to imbue the Coast Survey. Bache, like Hassler before him, understood fully that confidence of the mariner and the scientific community in Coast Survey products was predicated on not failing "to insure the minutest accuracy of definition." Of him it was said: "Bache's rule in the Coast Survey was that all scientific work should be executed in the most thorough and accurate manner which the resources of science and art would permit. He never shunned a tenfold labor, if it was to be repaid by double precision...."(9)


To produce the charts by men and women imbued with his vision, Bache relied on a personnel system consisting of a nucleus of civilians supplemented by Army and Navy officers. He recognized "on the one hand that this branch of applied science was a profession requiring long and careful study, and on the other that the practical skill of the naval officer, or the West Point education of the army officer, might most usefully contribute to the progress of the survey." However, the Army and Navy officers were subject to recall to their respective services in time of need. This was pointedly brought home during the Mexican War when most Army officers and many Navy officers were detached from the Coast Survey. The nucleus of civilians, although Bache often described them as temporary employees(10) working on a project having finite limits, served as insurance against the withdrawal of the military in times of war and also assured that the Survey retained a solid foundation of professionalism and did not function merely as a training ground "by which all its operations would bear upon them the stamp of beginner." Bache's goal in personnel management was to combine "the knowledge and experience, wherever to be found, necessary to render its [the Survey of the Coast] execution creditable to the character of the country."(11)

Bache was among the most accomplished and intelligent of administrators in Washington, D.C. It is improbable that he ever considered the Coast Survey a temporary function. However, during the 1850's he often referred to the work of the Coast Survey as a task that would be completed within 12 to 15 years on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts if allowed to continue with the same level of resources and funding. Because of the argument that the work was of a temporary nature, Bache firmly established promotion by merit as the over-riding principle of civilian personnel management within his organization. As opposed to the remainder of the civilian workforce of the Federal Government which basically operated under the "spoils system" and the military which promoted by seniority(12), the Coast Survey had "the advantage of adapting the number and qualities of its employees to the amount and kind of work, and is able to recognize the principle of promotion by merit, for which the quantity and quality of the work furnish a mathematical basis."(13) He also felt that "promotion by merit" was "one of the cardinal features of the work, and to which it owes much of its progress."(14)

Promotion was synonymous with increased pay in Bache's management system. There were no formal pay tables as in today's Government, no system of step increases or longevity increases, and few, if any, rules governing promotion. Increases in pay were negotiated between the interested individual and Bache. The individual concerned would usually initiate the action in concert with his immediate superior. However, there were many instances of individuals writing directly to Bache and asking for a raise. Aid James Gilliss, son of the naval astronomer, wrote Superintendent Bache requesting that his pay be increased from $15 per month "owing to my numerous expenses which that amount will barely cover."(15) Gilliss had been working for the Survey for two years at the time of this request. If Bache felt the individual had been performing at a sufficiently high level, the raise would be granted. If not, or if he felt that an individual had not proved himself by spending an unspecified required time at a higher level, Bache could be quite caustic in denying a raise and would occasionally remind the supplicant of past misdeeds for which he must redeem himself.

Job titles of civilian field officers in the Coast Survey were Assistant, Sub-Assistant, and Aid. Aids would start with a pay between $15 and $30 per month. In 1860 the senior assistant, Edmund Blunt, earned $3,500 per year; but there was a large drop down to $2,500 for the next-most senior assistant on the pay hierarchy. The lowest assistant, as also the senior sub-assistant, earned $1,000 per year; the senior Aid earned $519.60. The field officers received per diem allowances while in the field which further enhanced their incomes. In the office, the disbursing agent, Samuel Hein, earned $2,500 per year. The senior engraver, George McCoy, earned $2,000 per year as did George Mathiot, the head of the electrotype and photography division. A contract engraver, Joseph Enthoffer, received $2,773 from the Coast Survey during 1860. The senior draughtsman, W. M. C. Fairfax, made $1,800 per year while the two senior mathematical computers, Charles Schott and Louis F. Pourtales, were compensated $1,600 per annum for their services as was the former army officer, W.P. Trowbridge, who was senior civilian in Publications. Given the knowledge required by the mathematicians and the dependence of the Survey on their skills, it is surprising that their compensation was low relative to the other specialties.

Laborers attached to field parties were designated "hands." Hands were temporary and hired by the assistants in charge of the various field parties. They averaged about 6 per party and consisted of heliotropers, chainmen, drivers, common laborers, and cooks. Coast Survey regulations fixed their pay as follows: "heliotropers, $25 per month; drivers, chainmen, and cooks, 60 cents per day; hands [unskilled,] 50 cents per day." The Gulf Coast must have been considered arduous duty as heliotropers received $30 per month; drivers and cooks received $1 per day; and unskilled laborers received $25 per month. To enhance their pay all received a subsistence allowance. For those field parties that had vessels as means of transportation, mates and carpenters were employed at rates ranging from $20 to $50 per month.(16)

Bache's progressive, although somewhat tight-fisted, views on managing personnel led to the Coast Survey being the first Federal agency to hire women for professional work both within its ranks as permanent personnel and on a contract basis. The astronomer, Maria Mitchell of Nantucket, was the pioneer in this radical departure from custom. She and her father, William Mitchell, were hired by Bache in 1845 to assist in observations associated with the project to establish a cardinal point for latitude and longitude for the United States and North America. In 1848, Maria joined Superintendent Bache for a season of field observations with a primary triangulation party at Mt. Independence, Maine. In debating whether to publicize Maria Mitchell's association with the Coast Survey following her famous discovery of a comet on October 1, 1847, her father William Mitchell, wrote to Bache in 1848 expressing fear that some of the less enlightened members of Congress might note: "... why, he employs a woman what a waste of money."(17) (18)

Bache was not swayed by such concerns. By the mid 1850's several women were on the payroll and a number of them were in professional positions, such as computers, as opposed to strictly clerical positions. Mary Thomas, a computer in the tides division, worked for the Coast Survey from 1854 till at least 1881 making her the second woman career professional in the United States Government behind Maria Mitchell who worked first for the Coast Survey and then the Nautical Almanac office from 1845 until 1868. Bache had no qualms about paying the women what he felt they were worth to the Survey as on at least one occasion a male computer complained that a woman computer was being paid more than he. Notably, he did not have as progressive of views concerning blacks. However, he did hire free blacks as messengers and laborers as early as 1846.(19) It is probable that many blacks signed on as sailors on the Coast Survey vessels operating on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. There are also indications that occasionally slaves would be taken on Coast Survey vessels to serve as personal servants or to be used as cooks.(20)

Benjamin Apthorpe Gould said of Bache: "... the greatest of all his mental gifts or attainments were his marvelous knowledge of human nature and his unrivaled skill in using it. He had studied men, as he once expressed it to me, as he would study physical phenomena."(21) He used this skill in recruiting able men and getting the most out of them by cajoling, bullying, or complimenting them as the situation demanded. He preferred the respect and affection of the Survey's employees, but he could do without and show a flinty side. When William B. McMurtrie, a nautical draughtsman and artist of some note, requested a raise prior to heading to the West Coast in 1849 with the EWING, Bache replied: "Considering that you joined the Coast Survey as a learner not a year since I do not think the application which you make is quite reasonable. The service to which you refer is coveted by others and if you do not desire it I would wish early notice so that I may provide for the contingency."(22) After McMurtrie had spent a relatively impecunious year on the West Coast, Bache relented and granted him a substantial raise to cover his additional expenses.

To some degree, Bache ran the Survey as an extended family and in many instances became involved in his underlings' personal affairs. This was perhaps only natural as he and his wife had an adopted child but none of their own. He advised Julius Hilgard to avoid "the evil consequences"(23) of marriage at an early stage of Hilgard's career. Hilgard ignored this particular bit of advice. In the case of George Davidson, Bache advised him in 1846 to use his time wisely: "writing, drawing, and mathematics should occupy you during the greater part of every day.... You should now lay up a capital upon which hereafter to draw, for if you are once actively employed in field duty there will be little or no time for study. I hope you intend also to make up your mind to do any and every duty assigned cheerfully...."(24) Bache made the employees of the Survey feel that their health was also his concern. Charles Sanders Peirce had no inhibitions about relating to Bache the results of a bout with neuralgia, a painful condition that chronically afflicted Peirce throughout his life: "I reached the house yesterday morning and last night came as close as possible to one of my attacks. But I escaped with a few hours of intense suffering & without being compelled to resort to opium or ether."(25)

Bache's paternal instincts were not appreciated by all. A.M. Harrison spoke of Bache as "the triangle'um magnum" and "full of soft soap - as a fatherly mate would pat a child on the head and put a sugar plum in his mouth!"(26) George Davidson, when a young man writing to his mentor Robert Fauntleroy, spoke of Bache as "my Lord and Master the Modern Pharaoh."(27) Four years later, he continued this theme in a letter to a friend: "Were I a Moses, I should delight to torture this arch-Egyptian taskmaster; - the plagues would not be a shadow to the exquisite torture I would purchase at the highest of all risk."(28) Perhaps he didn't always feel the need to be occupied in "writing, drawing, and mathematics" for the greater part of each day. But Davidson, 15 years later, showing his respect and love for a seriously ill and dying Bache, would travel to Europe at his own expense to take him home to America.

Perhaps Bache's greatest strength as a leader was his ability to attract men having great potential to the Coast Survey. A prime example of this was the caliber of Army officer who volunteered to serve on the Survey. Although there were less than 50 Army officers (an average of 12 were on duty at any given time between 1850 and the beginning of the Civil War) who served on the Survey from the death of Hassler to the Civil War, twenty-five of these men rose to the rank of Brigadier General or higher during or immediately after the Civil War. Among these men were Major Generals Andrew Atkins Humphreys, Edward O.C. Ord, Isaac Ingalls Stevens, John G. Foster, John C. Tidball, Rufus Saxton, T. J. Cram, and Henry W. Benham, all of whom served for the Union. General Joseph Johnston, Lieutenant General Ambrose P. Hill, and Major Generals Martin Luther Smith and Roswell Ripley served with the Confederacy. Three graduates of West Point who stood at the head of their class and served with the Coast Survey were Isaac Ingalls Stevens, Henry W. Benham, and W.P. Trowbridge. (Bache also stood at the head of his West Point Class when he graduated in 1825.) Edward B. Hunt, who was perhaps the most scientifically inclined of all ante-bellum West Point Army officers, graduated second in the class of 1845 and served with the Coast Survey through most of the 1850's. He conducted many special studies for Bache and published a number of articles in the Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the annual reports of the Coast Survey. He strongly allied himself with Bache on most issues and served as a spokesman for the Survey on many occasions.

Army officers served in the office and in the field. Humphreys, Stevens, Benham, Smith, and William R. Palmer served successively as Assistant-in-Charge-of-the-Office. Between 1855 and 1860, Lt. Ambrose P. Hill served as the Assistant-in-Charge-of-the-Office when the incumbent was sick or on travel. This particular position was the second highest position in the Survey and the officers serving in that capacity acted effectively as Bache's executive officer. In particular, they served as his eyes and ears during the periods that he spent in the field each year. Other positions that Army officers filled in the office were Chief of the Drawing Division, Chief of the Engraving Division, and Chief of the Miscellaneous Division. However, the majority of Army officers attached to the Survey served primarily in field assignments. A few of these officers would rise to party chief, but most Army officers on field duty served as junior officers in training and were detached after relatively short periods.

Naval officers served with the Survey primarily on the hydrographic ships and in conducting blue-water oceanography. The smaller Coast Survey vessels, such as the many schooners which were used to transport and house geodetic and topographic crews, were usually commanded by either the civilian chief of the survey crew or by civilian mariners hired specifically for ship operations. Command of Coast Survey hydrographic vessels was coveted by the more ambitious of the young naval officers for both the experience gained and for the additional money earned while attached to the Survey as opposed to awaiting orders for scarce Navy billets. The experience of working off the harbor entrances and in the sounds, bayous, and rivers of the South gave these young officers a great tactical advantage in fighting predominantly brown-water actions during the Civil War. A subsidiary benefit to the Navy, at least in the late 1840's and early 1850's, was the opportunity for both naval engineers and deck officers to acquire experience on steam propelled vessels. For instance, the Civil War Navy hero John Rodgers received his first experience with a side-wheel steamer (the USCS Ship HETZEL) and a screw steamer (the USCS Ship LEGARE) while assigned to the Coast Survey. The LEGARE was also Rodgers' first experience with an iron vessel.(29)

During the 1850's the naval presence on the Survey was eroding in spite of the advantages that accrued to the Navy from its association with the Coast Survey. Yearly turnover rates for officers sometimes exceeded 50 per cent in the early 1850's and by the end of the decade officers were being withdrawn from Coast Survey service and not replaced. An additional problem was the undesirability for seamen of serving under naval orders on Coast Survey vessels. Each command was responsible for recruiting its own seamen. Coast Survey and Navy vessels paid wages of $12.00 per month versus $16.00 per month for merchant ships. As an added inducement, the Coast Survey gave a $12.00 pay advance to new recruits; but naval men-of-war offered pay advances of $36.00.(30)

Under these circumstances, it is easy to see why the quality of sailor on Coast Survey vessels was sometimes quite low and also why they often sailed short-handed. Occasionally they were not able to sail at all. Even when on the working grounds, the vessels under naval command were subjected to desertions while those under civilian masters occasionally experienced drunken and unruly crews. During the mid-1850's, laws were passed which somewhat mitigated the recruiting problem for Coast Survey vessels and "secured to us, also, a better class of men, as a general rule, than we had before their passage."(31) Marine engineers were also a problem, particularly while the Survey was dependent upon the Navy to provide engineers to operate the machinery of Survey steamers. In 1854 Bache reported: "In the details of naval engineers there has also been an improvement in the increased number of more experienced engineers allowed to us. Some of the facts relating to this branch of service in former years were quite of a startling character in reference to the want of experience of the engineers sent to us. On the first of September there were three first assistant engineers in coast survey service, the lowest grade of which, in my judgment, should be sent to have control of the engines and boilers of a vessel, containing so many officers and men whose lives are valuable to the country and engaged in a work the expenditure for which may be so much increased or diminished, according to the skill and knowledge of the engineers...."(32)

This improved state of affairs was short-lived. In 1858, many naval officers were withdrawn from the Coast Survey which resulted in the delay of at least one survey party on the Gulf Coast.(33) At the same time, all naval marine engineers were detached from the Survey. This resulted in the Coast Survey hiring all civilian engineers to operate its vessels' steam-plants. In 1858 the policy was for one engineer to remain with each steam vessel during periods of inactivity to maintain the equipment. Perhaps because of budgetary problems, Bache reported the following year that engineers were hired in the field and were employed only during the time of actual operation of the vessel and not during annual lay-ups. At this time the Navy also instituted new rules concerning the command structure of Coast Survey vessels which resulted in only one lieutenant being assigned to each ship. Bache felt that the resulting low experience level on the hydrographic ships would effect a radical change for the worse in the hydrographic parties' production and quality of work. Master's mates were assigned to the survey parties in lieu of a second lieutenant and civilian merchant marine officers were recruited as watch-standers, but "the difficulties have been much increased by the want of experienced officers."(34)

This situation remained static until the beginning of the Civil War. At the end of 1860, there were only 11 naval officers on duty with the Coast Survey. Three of those were engaged in office work, while Lieutenant David Dixon Porter who had been assigned to command the ACTIVE on the West Coast never proceeded west. At the outbreak of the Civil War all naval officers with the exception of two(35) were either withdrawn from Coast Survey duty or resigned their commissions to join the Confederacy.

On the eve of the Civil War, the Naval presence on the Survey was minimal and the relatively minuscule Army presence remained static up until the opening days of the war. Then all Army officers were either detached from the Survey or resigned their commissions and never again served with the Survey. It took a number of years after the war for the level of Navy officers assigned to the Survey to reach the level of the early 1850's. Bache's Coast Survey had evolved to a predominantly civilian organization.



Although the Coast Survey had weathered the attacks of the late 1840's, there were persistent attempts to eliminate funding for the Coast Survey or to turn over the hydrographic and oceanographic functions of the work to the Navy. Major Isaac Ingalls Stevens, designated Assistant-in-Charge of the Office following Andrew Humphreys who had resigned that position because of sickness, wrote to his wife in late September, 1850, concerning an attempt to reduce funding for the Survey:

"... Our appropriations were in danger, and Professor Bache and myself have been hard at work to save them. We have carried everything, - secured no less than one hundred and ninety thousand dollars for the Western coast.

"A portion of this appropriation we carried in the House in the teeth of the Committee of Ways and Means. They opposed it vehemently, yet we went to work on Friday, worked hard all day, and carried it two to one nearly against them."(36)

Following this budget and political victory, there was little time for Bache and Stevens to rest on their laurels. In early 1851, the Senate passed a resolution requiring that the Secretary of the Navy be required to report "what advantages to the public service would be derived from transferring the survey of the coast from the Treasury to the Navy Department...." This resolution was not spontaneous but was passed in response to the Secretary of the Navy, William A. Graham, recommending that the Coast Survey be turned over to the Navy in his report accompanying the President's annual message to Congress. The Secretary of the Navy had stated that an annual increase of $150,000 in the Navy appropriation "would be sufficient for its [the Coast Survey's] effectual prosecution."(37) Graham was undoubtedly influenced by a report written for him by Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury dated October 7, 1850, detailing Maury's views as to the proper place for the Survey. Other arguments advanced by the Secretary of the Navy included: use of naval ships and cheaper ship maintenance in Navy Yards; use of British naval officers to conduct all English Admiralty hydrography; bad effect on morale of U.S. naval officers as commanders of Coast Survey vessels not chosen by seniority but "by name, without reference to any views this department may entertain of assigning other duties to the particular officer in question, or of the fitness or justice of ordering another to this especial service...."; the Coast Survey should no longer be considered a temporary organization; naval officers could be employed on much of the land work eliminating many of the civil positions; and under the Navy Department "there could be established stricter accountability for expense, progress, and results, tending to the promotion of economy and the acceleration of the work."

The response of the Secretary of the Treasury, Thomas Corwin, to this attack by another department reads almost like a point-counterpoint debate.(38) From the level of detail in Corwin's response, it is apparent that it was written by Superintendent Bache with probable assistance from Major Stevens. Graham's overriding argument was that the Navy could conduct the work cheaper and with stricter accountability. Concerning the ability of the Navy to perform cheaper surveys, Corwin's report points out that the cost of seven detached surveys conducted by the Navy in prior years was $146,233, an amount equal to the cost of all hydrographic surveys conducted by the Coast Survey between Maine and Texas for a period exceeding a year and a half. The cost per survey for comparable Coast Survey work was between $4,000 and $5,000. Of this Corwin said, "The question is not of a small difference, depending upon a nice calculation, but of four and six-fold economy in favor of the execution of the work by this department. No question is made either of the relative value of the results of a mere nautical survey and of a geodetic work, with all its accuracy and refinements." Corwin also questioned the Navy's stricter accountability as the $146,233 did not include the cost of vessels, outfits, supplies, and transportation; but it did include the leave of absence pay of the officers which he maintained should not have been charged to the survey accounts.

One point that the Navy brought into this discussion was the manner of conducting the British hydrographic surveys. These were under the management of the British Navy while the topographic and geodetic surveys, termed the Ordnance Survey, were under the control of the British Army. Using this as a model, Graham argued that U.S. naval officers were certainly capable of managing the Coast Survey of the United States. Corwin countered that the British hydrographic survey, which had begun in the Eighteenth Century, had expended the equivalent of $5,000,000 in the past ten years alone; and, although it had done much good work in the oceans of the world, it had yet to complete the surveys of the British Isles. The Ordnance Survey of Great Britain and Ireland had begun in 1791 and had spent the equivalent of over $11,000,000 and would require another $9,000,000 to complete.(39) Moreover, "The want of connexion between the two works [naval hydrographic work and army triangulation and topographic surveys were not coordinated in Great Britain] produces delay, a repetition of work, a want of system and of minute accuracy." Worse yet, Corwin lays the blame for inferior charting work on the British policy of using primarily military officers to conduct the surveys:

"Science is progressive, and the tendency of works executed by permanent corps, not partaking of the general movement of the day, is to become stationary. To confine a work to a particular class of men, to a caste, instead of looking for the best ability for its execution, is to insure that it shall be behind the times. We want no greater proof of this than is presented by recent charts of Great Britain. The absence of the latitude and longitude of the leading points, of the corrected establishment of the port [related to tidal predictions,] are scientific defects; while the absence on most of them of sailing lines and ranges, and of indications of currents, and on all of sailing directions, show, as contrasted with our charts, glaring practical deficiencies...."

The Coast Survey weathered this attack by the Navy Department with hardly a ruffled feather. Budgets continued at high levels and various additional functions were absorbed by the Survey, in particular the selection and surveying of sites for lighthouses and other aids to navigation over much of the coast of the United States. Bache was phenomenally successful in dealing with Congress. His budgets before 1851 had been $100,000; $80,000; $100,000; $111,000; $146,000; $165,000; $251,000; and $406,000 (40) for the fiscal years 1843-1844 to 1850-1851 inclusive. (Fiscal years began July 1 and ended June 30.) 1851 to 1860 Coast Survey budgets ran from a low of $310,000 for 1851-1852 to a high of $546,000 in 1857-1858. Following the Financial Panic of 1857 the budgets for the Survey averaged a little over $400,000 until the beginning of the Civil War. By modern standards, these are small values. In the context of the time, Bache's appropriations represented close to ½ to 1 per cent of the total Federal budget.

After beating back the Navy attack of 1851, the Coast Survey had relatively smooth sailing through the middle years of the 1850's. However, an inflationary episode beset the country in these years and in 1854 Bache reported: "... the parties in the field, afloat, and in the office, have each, in turn, felt the pressure of the extraordinary increase of cost of every article which it was necessary to be supplied with...." Not surprisingly to anyone who has ever had to deal with boat or ship repairs, "This has been most remarkable in reference to the repairs of our steamers and other vessels, instances occurring of a great excess in cost of repairs over the estimates made by officers of good judgment, thus crippling other parties of the work by absorbing the means intended for their purposes." Bache suggested two possible courses of action to deal with the problem of inflation: 1) to operate at a reduced level; or 2) to receive an increased appropriation to assure operations continue at the same level as in the recent past. He recommended the second alternative: "In my own judgment, the rate of progress of the survey ought not to be checked.... Congress has so often approved of the present rate of progress, and I am so sure that it is more economical than at a smaller rate, that I could not recommend that alternative to the department."(41) The appropriation was increased for the next three fiscal years.


Although the Coast Survey was free from serious attack by the Navy Department or Congress for the next few years, at least three naval officers who had served on the Survey for many years were not immune from internal attacks by their brother officers. Under "An Act to Promote the Efficiency of the Navy" passed by Congress on March 2, 1855, an "Efficiency Board" of 15 naval officers was established and directed to report to the Secretary of the Navy all officers who in their collective opinion were found inefficient or incapable of performing their duty. John Maffitt, Bache's most competent hydrographer, William D. Whiting, Bache's first hydrographic inspector and brother of topographer Henry Whiting, and Washington Bartlett, who had conducted work for both the Coast Survey and Lighthouse Board, were all recommended for detachment from the Navy. Maffitt was first notified that his name had been placed on the "furlough list" through notification in "the public prints." He was surprised as:

"... I had felt secure in the consciousness of having at all times faithfully, promptly, and efficiently, performed my duties ashore and afloat, that I was beyond the reach of any legislation on the subject of efficiency of the Navy. I was aware that a prejudice existed in the minds of some officers against the special service in which I was engaged, but I little imagined that I was to be made the peculiar mark of their disapprobation; such however, seems to be the fact; for it appears now, after a long and anxious interval of uncertainty, that the only charge on which my furlough was grounded was that of my continued service on the Coast Survey."(42)

Maffitt was not alone in his anger. The careers of 712 officers were reviewed by this board of which 49 were dismissed outright, 71 were placed on the "reserved" list with leave-of-absence pay, and 81 were placed on the "furlough" list with half leave-of-absence pay. (43) This particular action certainly had nothing to do with the Naval Observatory and its supporters as the most prominent name on the reserved list was Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury. Maury, always able to marshal political support, enlisted Senator John Bell of Tennessee to introduce a measure in the Senate in January, 1856, to have him revert from the reserve list to active duty status. Although Congress did not act on this particular issue, in response to the public furor over the actions of the Efficiency Board it passed a second law in early 1857 allowing all officers who had been affected to request a naval court of inquiry. This court of inquiry would allow them to show cause why they should be reinstated on active duty. 108 officers took advantage of this law and 62 of those, including Maffitt, Whiting, and Maury, were reinstated. A synopsis of the naval court of inquiry records for Lieutenant Maffitt follows.

Lieutenant John Maffitt had been on continuous service with the Coast Survey since May, 1843, and was considered by Bache to be among the best, if not the best, of all hydrographers within the Survey. He had commanded the GALLATIN, LEGARE, CRAWFORD, and MORRIS during his Coast Survey years and had been the recipient of Bache's praise for his work in Charleston Harbor.(44) Maffitt's hearing was held in July of 1857. He successfully contested the "plucking board's" decision by arguing that experience on the Coast Survey increased his efficiency as a sea-going Naval officer and in no way affected his ability to function on a man-of-war. The Government produced two witnesses to support its case against Maffitt while he produced 39 witnesses and a testimonial from the Charleston, South Carolina, Chamber of Commerce supporting his retention in the Navy. Although all supporting testimony was generally quite complimentary, the testimony of Superintendent Bache of the Coast Survey and Lieutenant Steven B. Luce, USN, concerning Maffitt's character and capabilities are noteworthy as are the testimonies of Captain Charles S. McCauley, USN, and Lieutenant Silas Bent, USN, concerning the nature of service on the Coast Survey and its value to the Nation and to the Navy.

Bache's testimony was the longest of any witness in the proceedings and carried into many subjects related to Maffitt and his work. He displayed his diplomacy by deflecting an attempt to discredit his ability to judge the professional ability of naval officers by pointing out that the "historian who assigns professional reputation to army and navy officers is neither a soldier nor a sailor. The Secretary of the Navy, who is the highest judge of naval efficiency is a civilian." Bache went on:

"I have had the most ample opportunities of judging of the qualifications, as sailors, as disciplinarians, as navigators, as hydrographers, as men of courage, and coolness in danger, and firmness under trials -- of very many naval officers under my direction.

"In the case of Lieutenant Maffitt I have had the best possible opportunities of knowing his qualities in all these respects. Time and again in seasons of difficulty, he has shown himself the accomplished sailor. His vessels have been remarkable for the efficiency of their discipline.

"As a navigator and pilot on our coast he is not excelled. The amount, accuracy, and economy, of his work as a hydrographer have not been exceeded on the Coast Survey. His courage, coolness, and firmness, have been over and again tried, and found equal to every emergency."(45)

Lieutenant Steven B. Luce, USN, who rose to the rank of Rear Admiral and founded the Naval War College, added a likewise remarkable view of Maffitt:

"During a boisterous winter season on the coast of South Carolina, among the currents and shoals, it was his duty to investigate and survey - frequent were the calls upon all the best faculties of the seaman - and in no instance, as far as I am aware, was Lieutenant Maffitt found wanting. And I drew the evident conclusion that he was skillful in the management of his vessel, fertile in resource, with ready application; cool and self-possessed under impending danger, quick to conceive, prompt to execute; bold and cautious, with great powers of endurance."(46)

The opinions of both Bache and Luce concerning Maffitt's ability as a naval officer were borne out by his Civil War exploits as a Confederate blockade runner and commerce raider. Maffitt, although never commanding a fleet or rising higher than the rank of commander in the Confederate Navy, was one of the greatest of American naval officers and among the greatest of naval leaders. If he had stayed with the Union, he would have risen to high rank and undoubtedly would be better remembered today. As it was, he had one of the most illustrious careers in the Confederate Navy and became known as "The Prince of Privateers."(47)

Lieutenant Silas Bent had known Maffitt since 1842 and served for over two years with him on the Coast Survey. Bent had accompanied Commander James Glynn on the USS PREBLE to Japan in 1849, and then was with Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry as flag lieutenant in the expedition to open up Japan to trade and diplomatic relations with western nations. During that expedition, Bent led efforts to conduct the first definitive studies of the Kuroshio Current, the western Pacific equivalent of the Gulf Stream, and also commanded hydrographic survey parties operating in the major bays and harbors of Japan. He strongly supported Maffitt, and also added a testimonial concerning the value of Coast Survey experience to the Navy:

"I take the liberty of furthermore stating that, in my opinion, the practical knowledge and experience which officers have gained on the Coast Survey have already contributed very materially to elevate the standard of professional knowledge in the Navy; and been of important benefit to service and country, especially in unfrequented and unsurveyed portions of the world; this duty, therefore, I regard as strictly professional; and the naval discipline, system, and order, which officers usually enforce on board surveying vessels, keep up, in a great measure, that professional knowledge which is confined exclusively in the exercise to regular men-of-war, whilst they are advancing in another branch of the profession, that may be at any day of great advantage upon foreign service, as I can fully testify to from personal observation and experience."(48)

Captain Charles S. McCauley, USN, was an old-Navy line officer who began his career in 1809. He must have been struck by the injustice of this particular case, as he had been a member of the "Efficiency Board" which had recommended Maffitt's furlough. McCauley's testimony is all the more striking as he had never served with Maffitt and had never met him prior to the court of inquiry. In response to the cross-examination question by the judge-advocate:

"Do you, as a captain in the Navy, believe that an officer who has only seen occasional duty as an acting lieutenant in the grade of passed midshipman, and who has never been on board a man-of-war as a lieutenant, or in any other capacity, for nearly fourteen years, is capable of going on board of a line-of-battle ship, and efficiently and properly station and discipline a crew, and fully prepare that ship to encounter an enemy of like force; and would you, as a captain in the Navy, be willing to take such an officer as your first lieutenant, with an assurance that you were to meet an enemy in battle?"

McCauley responded:

"I don't think that an officer who has served regular apprenticeship on board a man-of-war, for seven or eight years, and who has gone on board a surveying vessel, can become disqualified for the naval service -- on the contrary, I think it is a better school than a man-of-war, in some particulars. In these vessels he is always on the coast, and on board a man-of-war he goes out to sea, where there is nothing but the weather to watch. Whereas, on the coast, you have to be on the constant alert for rocks, shoals, and the land - besides that the danger of collisions is increased, and the officer has to exercise constant vigilance. I would be willing to take such a man as my first lieutenant under the circumstances described in the question. What I mean to say is, that an officer serving on the Coast Survey is not disqualified for the Navy, unless he abandons the Navy altogether. They must have someone to do that duty, and I believe they always take the best officers for it."(49)

During the first year of this ordeal Maffitt had the support of Secretary of the Navy H.C. Dobbin and President Pierce who were both convinced that they had sacrificed Maffitt for the good of the Navy in the belief that "they were bound to approve, or condemn, the recommendations of the Retiring Board as a whole." Dobbin believed that a "very, very great mistake" had been made in Maffitt's case.(50) This is corroborated by Maffitt's reinstatement as commanding officer of a Coast Survey party on October 13, 1855, one month after receiving word that he had been placed on the furlough list. Also, Dobbin, although no longer Secretary of the Navy following the election of President Buchanan, signed a deposition in Maffitt's support for inclusion in the records of the court of inquiry. Maffitt received word that he had been fully exonerated on January 29, 1858, and that he was "commissioned as a lieutenant from the 25th of June, 1843, on the active list."

The fallout from actions of the Efficiency Board did not end for the Coast Survey with Maffitt's case. A good friend of Bache's and colleague from the Light House Board, Captain Samuel F. Du Pont, was a senior member of the Efficiency Board, while Lieutenant William Maury, a nephew of Matthew Fontaine Maury, was a junior member. Du Pont cast his vote for placing Matthew Fontaine Maury on the retired list and must have led the fight to put Maury out to pasture. The major criteria for the Board was fitness to serve on a man-of-war. Perhaps Du Pont's motives were tempered by his association with Bache; but, as Maury was lame and hadn't been to sea since 1839, it would appear at face value that the board had acted reasonably in placing Maury on the reserve list. Maury's nephew assuredly reported Du Pont's role in this to his uncle who in turn placed Du Pont's name at the disposal of his political supporters. None other than Senator Sam Houston, who had appointed Maury a midshipman in 1825, attacked Du Pont for his influence with the Secretary of the Navy and for his "criminal part" in the board's action. In a three-hour diatribe he declared Du Pont "responsible... for the outrage that has been done to the nation...."(51)

Maury in turn wrote an angry letter to Du Pont which generated a curt reply: "I with the other members of the Board were instruments of the law, and did what in our judgment the law made it our duty to do: the action of the Board was submitted to the revision of the Executive & approved, & the law neither makes us responsible for the results to your interrogations. Excuse me also for saying that my individual vote is not a fit matter for inquiry." ( It was obvious that Maury already knew how Du Pont had voted.) However, showing further personal animosity to Maury, he approached the Secretary of the Navy in November, 1856, and requested that Maury be removed from the Observatory where he continued in charge while at half pay. Du Pont's justification was that from "this aegis," Maury was able to continue attacking the board members. (52) In spite of Sam Houston's claims, Du Pont obviously didn't have sufficient influence over the Secretary of the Navy to effect this politically-charged action. Maury continued on at the Observatory, and like John Maffitt, received his notice of continuation on active duty from Secretary of the Navy Isaac Toucy on January 29, 1858. In Maury's case he had received promotion to commander dating from September 14, 1855, the original notice of placement on the reserve list. Following Commander Maury's reinstatement and promotion, it appears that he still had the time and energy to take one last shot at Superintendent Bache and the Coast Survey before the Civil War.



As often happened with changes of administration, the political climate affecting the Coast Survey changed markedly with the swearing-in of Franklin Buchanan as the 15th President of the United States in March 1857. Helping shift the winds of political fortune was the Financial Panic of 1857 in which the country's economy took a turn for the worse with an accompanying reduction in revenues collected by the Government. In the fall of 1857 Superintendent Bache was requested to provide a report to Secretary of the Treasury, Howell Cobb, showing "the moneys expended yearly by the Coast Survey and the work executed in each year, and also the weights and measures furnished the different States and customs-houses."

Superintendent Bache had probably anticipated the request for such a report and also the possibility of attacks on himself and the Coast Survey appropriation. In August 1857 at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science a resolution was passed to appoint a committee to "inquire and report on the Coast Survey of the United States." This could only have been at the request of Bache. The committee as established became known as "The Committee of Twenty."

This committee consisted primarily of scientists and advocates of the progress of science who were sympathetic to Bache and the Coast Survey. It was headed by Judge J. E. Kane, President of the American Philosophical Society.(53) His son, the Arctic explorer Elisha Kent Kane, had been associated with the Coast Survey early in his career and his Arctic observations were being analyzed and reduced by Charles Schott of the Coast Survey for publication by the Smithsonian Institution. Benjamin Peirce of Harvard; Joseph Henry of the Smithsonian Institution; Brigadier General Joseph Totten, head of the Army Corps of Engineers, and colleague of Bache's on the Lighthouse Board and numerous harbor commissions; John Frazer of the University of Pennsylvania, Bache's laboratory assistant during the 1830's and lifelong friend; William Chauvenet of the U.S. Naval Academy whose first job in science was to help Bache at his magnetic observatory at Philadelphia; and many other close associates of Bache made up this committee. Superintendent Bache could be accused of assuring that this committee was stacked to give favorable results; but many more influential men of science respected him and counted themselves among his friends and as advocates of the Survey than counted themselves among his enemies. The committee spent a little over a year to complete this report and finished it on November 2, 1858.

In the meantime, enemies of the Coast Survey and Congressional advocates of governmental reform and fiscal responsibility were marshaling their forces for an attack. President Buchanan addressed the first session of the 35th Congress on December 8, 1857:

"The late disastrous monetary revulsion may have one good effect should it cause both the Government and the people to return to the practice of a wise and judicious economy, both in public and private expenditures.

"An overflowing Treasury has led to habits of prodigality and extravagance in our legislation. It has induced Congress to make large appropriations to objects for which they never would have provided had it been necessary to raise the amount of revenue required to meet them by increased taxation or by loans. We are now compelled to pause in our career, and to scrutinize our expenditures with the utmost vigilance....

"It ought to be observed, at the same time, that true public economy does not consist in withholding the means necessary to accomplish important national objects intrusted to us by the Constitution, and especially such as may be necessary for the common defense...."

This call for austerity was not a direct attack on the Coast Survey and little debate ensued before the end of the first session of the 35th Congress. There were relatively minor discussions on the costs of Government printing in the Senate which touched upon the Coast Survey. During these discussions Democratic Senator Robert Johnson of Arkansas came close to turning the discussion to the Coast Survey when he commented:

"... I am satisfied that an institution, a bureau, has been growing from the moment of its establishment, until it has become a concern that I think ought to be looked into, to speak frankly about it. It has grown incessantly and constantly. From the inquiry I can make - it is true, it is not official, or not of that character upon which I can place great reliance - I learn that it has been growing steadily from year to year, and I can see no period when there will be a cessation of the survey of the waters along the coast of the United States; no period at which the information will all have been obtained and the work completed."

The net result of this debate was merely to reduce the printing of Coast Survey annual reports from an extra 10,000 copies to 5,000. The worst threat to the Coast Survey in the first session of the 35th Congress came in the House of Representatives during the meeting of the Committee of the Whole discussing the Civil Appropriations Bill. Democratic Representative William Smith of Virginia moved to reduce the appropriations for continuation of the surveys of the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts from $400,000 to $250,000. These amendments were not passed as it was argued that this would only slow the work and result in greater expenditures at a later date. Republican Representative Benjamin Leiter of Ohio moved to strike out $40,000 for the survey of the Florida reef and keys, and then William Smith moved to strike out $10,000 for carrying triangulation across the Florida peninsula. Neither of these motions carried and this ended the threat to the Coast Survey until the following year.

The Dudley Observatory Affair

Besides the Panic of 1857 causing problems, the Coast Survey was involved for a few years in an embarrassing debacle involving the Dudley Astronomical Observatory in Albany, New York. Superintendent Bache, Joseph Henry, Benjamin Peirce, and Benjamin Gould were the scientific directors of this observatory while prominent citizens of Albany, including the banker Thomas Olcott and the physician James Armsby, were financial trustees. Gould was designated the unpaid head of the observatory in 1855 with the responsibility for procuring and mounting instruments as well as overseeing the observing program. He conducted much of the business of the observatory in absentia which, coupled with an arrogant and uncompromising personality, led to a major clash with the trustees.

The Dudley Observatory affair grew out of Bache's involvement with the movement to establish a national research university at Albany and his quest to establish a cardinal point for the determination of longitude relative to European observatories on the North American continent. Superintendent Bache and his Lazzaroni brethren envisioned the university to be the embodiment of their ideal institution which was to be run by scientists for science with no "strings attached" to their research efforts. For the establishment of an astronomical observatory as part of this university, Mrs. Blandina Dudley, a rich Albany widow, had donated $65,000 for a facility to be named for her late husband. Ormsby M. Mitchel of the Cincinnati Observatory was offered directorship of the observatory in 1852 but declined and nominated Benjamin Apthorpe Gould to be the director. Gould had a doctorate in astronomy from a European institution and was employed by the Coast Survey on telegraphic longitude operations. He headed the longitude operations following the death of Sears Cook Walker in 1853. The university project fell through, but the astronomical observatory remained a viable project although Gould did not agree to become director until 1855.

Concerning the longitude project, the Harvard Observatory had been selected as the designated cardinal point for North America and was involved for years with the trans-Atlantic transportation of chronometers for longitude comparisons with European observatories. There were discrepancies between the results obtained from these chronometer transfers and astronomic methods such as moon culminations and occultation of stars. The Dudley Observatory, because of its funding and the opportunity to acquire very precise and correspondingly expensive instruments, was selected to test Benjamin Peirce's support of the hypothesis that by precisely determining the location of the stars of the Pleiades relative to each other, and by primarily using these stars in observations of occultations, that longitude could be determined with an accuracy of an order of magnitude greater than with existing star tables.(54)(55) His goal was to reduce the uncertainty of longitude differences between American and European observatories to less than 1/10 second of time. ( This equates to 1.5 seconds of arc which is approximately 30 meters on the surface of the Earth at the latitude of Albany.) By the generosity of Mrs. Dudley and other citizens of Albany, the needed instruments, including a heliometer, were to be procured and mounted within the Dudley Observatory for achieving the desired accuracy.

This plan could have worked except for the unhappy choice of Dr. Gould as Director of the Observatory and Dr. C. H. F. Peters as the Coast Survey assistant to run the observatory in Gould's absence.(56) Peters was a Danish astronomer who had ambitions of his own separate from Gould and the Coast Survey. His first job was to determine a precise latitude of the observatory and also to help tie the Dudley Observatory into the Coast Survey telegraphic longitude network. In 1857 he discovered a comet which he named for trustee Thomas Olcott, contrary to customary astronomic practice. Perhaps this was done innocently and not in an attempt to curry favor. However, Gould refused to acknowledge the naming of the comet for Olcott and referred to it as "Fourth Comet of 1857" in his publication, The Astronomical Journal. This could only have been perceived as a slight by Olcott who was thankful to Peters for his "immortalizing ... in this world."(57) Other problems between Gould and Peters led to Superintendent Bache recalling Peters to Coast Survey headquarters for supposed budgetary reasons. Peters resigned from the Coast Survey, returned to Albany, and through his influence with the trustees helped oust Gould from the directorship of the observatory and assumed that position in January, 1858.

Perhaps the trustees fired Gould in the belief that Peters could speed the completion of the observatory and lay to rest the fears of donors whose financial futures were less sure as a result of the Panic of 1857.(58) But, it seems that Gould's removal (forcibly from the premises of the observatory by strong-arm men hired by the trustees) was steeped in the interaction between him, Peters, and Olcott.(59) If Gould had swallowed some of his scientific pride, he could have sanctioned the perpetuation of the name Olcott's Comet and possibly avoided further confrontation with both Peters and the trustees. In an analogous situation, Coast Survey vessels were regularly named for living prominent scientists and politicians (in the case of the Coast Survey Schooner VARINA, a vessel apparently was named for the wife of Jefferson Davis) in order to cement relationships. A less contentious and wiser individual than Gould would have found a way to benefit from Peters' relationship with the trustees.

As it was, the ousting of Gould led to a war of words between the trustees, Gould, and Bache's inner circle of friends known as the Lazzaroni. The trustees accused Gould of mismanagement, and he in turn accused them of meddling in the affairs of the observatory and driving up its costs by authorizing purchases for which he had not planned. Hundreds of pages of attacks and corresponding defenses were printed and distributed. These attacks and rebuttals were picked up by the national press which gladly passed on the juicier tidbits of scientists fighting among themselves as well as with their benefactors. The trustees printed 15,000 copies of one document that was over 100 pages in length; Gould's final defense was a 363-page tome that resulted in one colleague implying that his mental health might be suspect.

The uproar resulting from Gould's dismissal caused a split in the ranks of the Lazzaroni as Bache strongly supported Gould; Henry and Peirce withdrew their support and felt that continued fighting on this issue could endanger the Coast Survey and Smithsonian appropriations. Ultimately, the only organization that had its appropriation withheld as a result of this unpleasantness was the Nautical Almanac Office in the mistaken belief that Gould was associated with it. However, Superintendent Bache made a powerful enemy in Thomas Olcott and, by his continued defense of Gould, permanently damaged the credibility of the Lazzaroni and their allies.

The Dudley Observatory affair has been the subject of much study by historians of science. It has been described in terms of being among the first of major collisions between the idealistic science community wishing to direct their own efforts "with no strings attached" and a pragmatic civic community that felt that it had both the right and responsibility to direct the science conducted in an institution for which it was paying. Gould was criticized for being slow to procure instruments and also maintaining an unrealistic view as to the necessity of attaining the highest accuracy possible. By not remaining on the site of the observatory (this was not totally under his control) and doing what he could to smooth over the ruffled feathers of the trustees, he has been portrayed as his own worst enemy. On the other hand, Gould and the Coast Survey had stated and published in the Coast Survey reports for 1855, 1856, and 1857 what their goals were and what they hoped to accomplish through their association with the observatory.

Although Gould was a tactless fool during this episode, it is worthwhile to look at the events leading up to Gould's dismissal prior to judging either him or Bache. Superintendent Bache certainly felt that Gould and the Coast Survey were in the right and was willing to stake his reputation and take great risks on this issue. He had unambiguously explained his motives for undertaking his association with the Dudley Observatory in the 1855 Report of the Superintendent....:

"Having arrived at conclusions fatal to the accuracy of the present mode of observing and computing moon culminations for longitude, Professor Peirce has been engaged in investigations intended to rescue this branch of astronomy from the position in which he finds it. A proposition for determining minutely the figure of the moon's disk is one of the points of these investigations. This, as will be seen in his able memoir, (Appendix No. 42) depends upon the use to be made of occultations of the Pleiades. The subject of occultations, which were favorite themes with Bessel and Walker, Professor Peirce proposes to take up again and to apply thoroughly by means of a new minute triangulation of the Pleiades. This work is imperiously demanded of the Coast Survey. The project has found favor with the men of science of our country, who thoroughly understand its bearings, and the results to be expected from it. It requires, however, the use of very expensive instruments, quite beyond the means of the Coast Survey to procure. From this dilemma we have been relieved by the liberality of citizens of New York State -- of the city of Albany -- who have offered us the use of instruments exactly adapted to this purpose, which they have undertaken to supply, under the direction of the authorities of the survey; the sole condition being that they shall be worthy of the work, of the state of science of the day, and exceed in magnitude and value any heretofore provided for a similar purpose. I cannot refrain from mentioning Mrs. Blandina Dudley as the liberal and enlightened donor of a heliometer, which is to be used at Albany for the execution of this work. Other necessary instruments will be provided by the public-spirited citizens of Albany, who have charged Dr. B.A. Gould, Jr. - whose astronomical labors are already so well known to the country - to procure the first-class instruments needed for these investigations. Professor Peirce's lucid report on the method of determining longitude by the occultation of the Pleiades will be found in Appendix 42."(60)

Peirce's report titled, "Report on the method of determining longitudes by occultations of the Pleiades" contained the following passage which established the basis for Bache's desire to proceed ahead and procure instruments for the Dudley Observatory:

"The determination of longitudes by occultations of the stars appears to be the most accurate of all astronomical methods for such determinations, and deserves, therefore a very careful examination, in order to ascertain the greatest degree of accuracy of which it is susceptible.... The probable error of the direct observation of an occultation has been investigated by Commander C.H. Davis from simultaneous observations, made by different observers at the same place. From his researches, it appears that this probable error is about a fifth of a second of time, so that the ultimate probable error of the mean of this class of observations cannot exceed a twentieth of a second of time. If, therefore, the theoretical defects can be eliminated by proper precautions and a sufficient accumulation of observations, longitudes may be obtained by this method of which the probable error shall be decidedly inferior to a tenth of a second of time."(61)

Benjamin Gould reported in 1856 that he had proceeded to Europe in the fall of 1855 to procure the necessary instruments for the observatory with the exception of the heliometer:

"The report submitted to you upon the telegraphic operations for longitudes, during the year ending October, 1855, was written upon the eve of my departure for Europe, for the purpose of making the requisite arrangements for the construction of a heliometer, meridian circle, and normal clock, contributed by the citizens of Albany, towards the equipment of the Dudley observatory of that city, and primarily to be used in measurement of the Pleiades, and for providing a new and larger transit instrument for the Coast Survey. The duration of my absence was but three months, during which period the chief workshops for astronomical instruments upon the Eastern continent were visited, as well as the chief observatories of the continent and England.... information has already been received of the completion and packing of the transit instrument, which will, I am confident, be found to have no superior.... The other instruments, with the exception of the heliometer, were also contracted for, and full reports have already been presented. The heliometer -- the means for which had been provided in consequence of your advice, and for the sake of the observations of the Pleiades needed by the Coast Survey -- was not ordered in Europe; but after very mature reflection and conference, its construction has, with the entire approval of the trustees of the observatory, been intrusted to Mr. Spencer, of Canastota, N.Y., who has at present made considerable progress in the preparation of the plans."(62)

This report also explains the reason for his absence during much of 1856. Not only was he in Europe procuring instruments, but he spent time in the field for the Coast Survey. He was the unpaid Director of the Dudley Observatory but still remained the head of telegraphic longitude operations for the Coast Survey.

Gould's October 1, 1857 report to Bache was quite optimistic concerning the Dudley Observatory:

"The supervision of the preparations for observations at the Dudley observatory has demanded a large amount of care and attention. The trustees have now nearly completed this observatory and taken measures to equip it with instruments of the highest order, capable of rendering essential service to science and greatly facilitating the coast survey operations, both by furnishing accurate places of latitude stars and by the triangulation of the Pleiades. This latter operation will contribute largely to the facility and precision of the astronomical determinations of longitude, according to the methods of Professor Peirce, in cases where the use of the electro-telegraphic method is not practicable.

"Dr. C. H. F. Peters has been stationed at the observatory during the entire year, charged with the immediate supervision, and with a careful determination of the latitude by means of the zenith telescope. I hope soon to transmit his report upon latitudes. He has, at the same time, been employed in the computation of the Pleiades occultations for Professor Peirce, preparatory to the fuller development of the longitude methods of this astronomer.... We anxiously await the completion of the heliometer, by Mr. Spencer, in order to proceed to the work of triangulating the Pleiades, for which, as well as the determination of latitude stars, the trustees of the observatory have so handsomely placed the observatory and its instruments at the disposal of the Coast Survey. All seems now to promise that, before the time for my next annual report, the magnificent instruments of the observatory may have been received, mounted, and made to render important service to all the astronomical parties of the survey, as well as to the office for the reduction and computation of former observations."(63)

Benjamin Peirce also appeared quite optimistic concerning the opportunities that completion of the Dudley Observatory would afford. He reported:

"Bessel's relative places of the Pleiades for 1840 cannot need to be corrected, but their mutual changes of position will cause much perplexity of computation until the new survey shall have been instituted by Dr. Gould with the heliometer of the Dudley observatory; and it is greatly to be desired that this important national institution shall be placed as soon as possible in complete working condition."(64)

A few short months after the 1857 reports were written, Gould was replaced at the observatory by C. H. F. Peters. Initially, this was certainly more of a collision of egos than a collision over how the science of the observatory was to be conducted. Peters' tenure as head of the Dudley Observatory was short-lived as the scientific directors succeeded in demanding his replacement by Ormbsy Mitchel, who had been the original choice of the trustees. Ironically, Peters came out of this affair totally unscathed; and, through the influence of Thomas Olcott, he was appointed to the Hamilton Observatory where he gained a creditable scientific reputation over the next thirty years.

Whether justified or not, the Coast Survey and Bache's inner circle of savants emerged from this affair with a black eye. The public was treated to the spectacle of scientists fighting among themselves; and Bache and the Lazzaroni (it was about this time that the Lazzaroni became popularly known as "the mutual admiration society") were painted as arrogant and quite fallible. After Gould's removal and the appointment of Ormsby M. Mitchel in the place of Peters, there is no record of the Dudley Observatory being used for the purposes envisioned by Peirce, Gould, and Bache. Apparently, the heliometer was never finished and greater issues were facing the nation. Ormsby M. Mitchel retained good relations with both the trustees and Coast Survey as he was included on the Coast Survey payroll in 1860 and received $400 per annum. With the coming of the Civil War, Mitchel, a West Point graduate, 1829, joined the Union Army and rose to the rank of Major General and commander of the Department of the South before falling victim to yellow fever. He died at Beaufort, South Carolina, on October 30, 1862. He was known affectionately to his troops as "Old Stars." Bache also became pre-occupied with greater events before he became incapacitated in 1864. Technology advanced and the successful laying of the Trans-Atlantic Cable in 1866 allowed the direct observation of longitude between Greenwich and North America eliminating the need for the method of occultations of the Pleiades.

Report of the Committee of Twenty

On November 2, 1858, The Committee of Twenty of the American Association for the Advancement of Science finished its report on the Coast Survey. Not surprisingly, it was highly complimentary to the Coast Survey. The conclusions of the Committee of Twenty were spiced with terms such as "a work as magnificent in its scientific aspects as it is valuable in those which are purely utilitarian" and "the brilliant results which have already crowned its diversified labors...." But the information that it presented was not merely propaganda provided by Bache and the Lazzaroni. The report went heavily into the details of the Coast Survey operations, presented comparisons between the costs of United States Coast Survey operations and costs of similar European organizations, and recommended the adoption of twelve specific propositions concerning the future operations of the Survey. Propositions 10 and 12 were the most important of these.

Proposition 10 recommended that the Coast Survey carry its triangulation operations into the interior of the United States:

"10. Conclusive reasons, involving other weighty public interests no less than this, but connected also with the project of verifying in the happiest manner the geodesy of our extended and circuitous coast, conspire to render the triangulation of the great Appalachian chain of mountains a most desirable undertaking, and encourage the hope that our government will very early direct that most important work to be executed." (65)

This concept was not new as Hassler was accused of wanting to carry the triangulation far into the interior (and his accuser was correct) in the Congressional investigation of 1842; but, here the most respected scientific association in the United States was placing the weight of its opinion behind conducting such operations. For his part, Superintendent Bache, under the guise of carrying surveys to the head of navigation of major waterways or of developing more accurate checks between points, had already pushed triangulation efforts into the interior whenever possible. However, Conclusion 10 still publicly tied geodetic operations to coastal surveys as opposed to developing a triangulation network for the control of major mapping and engineering efforts. The Nation was not yet ready for such visionary concepts.

Proposition 12 validated the structure of the Coast Survey:

"12. The existing organization of the survey, judged in the light of the experience acquired by our own and by foreign governments in the management of such works is, in the deliberate opinion of the committee, preferable to any other that has ever been suggested."

This served to dull the attacks of those who wished to see the Survey brought under the control of the Navy Department or wished to see its functions split between the Army and the Navy. Proposition 12 put the political foes of the Survey on notice that the American scientific community admired and advocated the civil-Navy-Army personnel system under civil superintendence as the most effective management structure for the Coast Survey. Superintendent Bache, in his annual report for 1858, reinforced this theme when he observed: "All experience has shown that one of the most expensive as well as tedious modes of effecting the survey of the coast of a country is to entrust it to a branch of government organized for some other purpose, and merely pursuing that work as an incident of its service, having no special interest in driving the work to completion, nor in economy of expenditures, because existing independently of the work and deriving existence and consequence and certain remunerations from other wants of the government."(66) It is possible that he inserted this passage into the text of the 1858 report after a virulent attack upon the Coast Survey in the New York Times in November of 1858. However, given Bache's political acumen, it is more probable that he anticipated the possibility of impending attacks both from outside of the Government and from Congressmen interested in "economy" and in turning the Survey over to the Navy.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of The Report of the Committee of Twenty was its display of the increasing level of sophistication of the American scientific community in recognizing that the fortunes of American science were tied inextricably to the political realities of the Nation. The report ended in an unabashed paean to those "enlightened statesmen" who supported and advocated the advance of science:

"... The committee cannot, however, forget that they have another duty, unprescribed by any resolution, to fulfil; which is ... to express, on behalf of the Association which has charged them with their present duty and of the world of science, which they may claim for the moment to represent, their deep sense of the obligation which they feel to be due to the enlightened statesmen who, whether in the executive branch of the government or in the legislative halls of Congress, have sustained the work to the present hour by their liberal recommendations or their able advocacy, and have labored to conciliate to it the popular favor by their intelligent and manly expositions of its objects and its value....

"... In the guardianship of men so enlightened in their views of policy, and so liberal in their tone of sentiment, the future of this great work cannot be doubtful. To them, therefore, in whatever branch of the government they may be connected, the committee, in conclusion, most cordially commend it; and as the authorized organs of the body which they represent, and in the name of the associated science of the country, they solicit for it the continuance of the Executive favor and Legislative support which it has hitherto enjoyed."(67)

Critics and cynics could have easily dismissed the Report of the Committee of Twenty if it were not for its inclusion of the encomiums of European men of science. It published again the statements of Humboldt and Arago offered in support in the late 1840's, the praise of Murchison and Smyth from the early 1850's, and most impressively included excerpts from the text accompanying Bache's most recent triumph, the acquisition of the prestigious Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. In lauding Superintendent Bache and the Coast Survey, Sir Roderick Murchison, then president of the Royal Geographical Society stated:

"It would be impossible to do justice to an extensive work of this sort on an occasion like the present; but as the previous reports of this celebrated Coast Survey, from 1844 to 1855 inclusive, are in our library, those of our associates, and of the public generally, who wish to form an estimate of their value, can do so at their leisure, and they will see how vastly our medalist has pushed on this great work. They will assuredly then rise from the examination with the thorough conviction that, whether we regard the science, skill, and zeal of the operators, the perfection of their instruments, the able manner in which the Superintendent has enlisted all modern improvements into his service, the care taken to have the observations accurately registered, his modest and unpretending demeanor, or the noble liberality of the Government, tempered with prudent economy, all unprejudiced persons must agree that the Trigonometrical Survey of the United States stands without a superior."

B.B. and the Congressional Debates of 1859

Bache and the Coast Survey were able to bask in the glow of this report for two weeks before one of the most virulent attacks yet launched against the Survey was published in the New York Times on November 17 and 18, 1858. The articles were signed under the pseudonym "B. B." and timed to blunt the impact of the Report of the Committee of Twenty and also to influence the upcoming session of Congress. Bache believed these articles to have been written by Thomas Olcott(68) or a supporter of his; but there are very strong reasons to believe it could also have been the work of Matthew Fontaine Maury and James Ferguson. The thrust of "B. B.'s" attack was that the Coast Survey was an agency out of control with ever escalating costs; that Superintendent Bache wielded too much personal power in relation to the Survey, the Lighthouse Board, and the Smithsonian Institution; that the Coast Survey controlled the "National Association" (American Association for the Advancement of Science;) and that ultimately the functions of the Survey should be turned over to the Navy as an economy measure.

A sampling of the verbiage from these two letters reveals a deep-seated animosity for Superintendent Bache cloaked in the all-encompassing rhetoric proclaiming economy in government. The first letter began by railing upon the Government in terms that would be recognized today. "B. B." declaimed the propensity for expenditures to grow and bureaucracies to become ever larger. He spoke of public servants as that "... rapidly increasing class, which seeks in the ease of public service, to avoid the diligence demanded by private employment, and ... the chance to grow 'fat upon the drippings of unclean legislation.'" He complained that the present administration had "absorbed one hundred and seven millions(69) for federal purposes in a year of profound peace." "B. B." then proclaimed that when Congress "shall address itself to this business, it will be found that few shot of greater magnitude have penetrated the treasury below the water line than such have been fired from that Paixhan(70) of extravagance, the Coast Survey."

This first letter then passed into a personal attack upon Superintendent Bache. He decried Bache's "peculiar talent" for obtaining ever increasing appropriations. The offending appropriations were not only for the Coast Survey, but also for the Lighthouse Service, Smithsonian Institution, and Nautical Almanac as the writer claimed that Bache controlled all of these institutions. "His penchant is to survey every thing, and then to be Monarch of all he surveys." The Smithsonian Institution "like the Light House system" was claimed to be "a mere appendage of the Coast Survey...." The Nautical Almanac office was established to dole out patronage to Bache's good friends "and beyond that it is not known to serve any purpose whatever...."

"B. B." represented Bache as having "become beyond all controversy the most powerful functionary under this Government." He went on:

"This very secretary [Secretary of the Treasury,] whose subordinate he is, in law, is by no means his equal in power and influence. Congress may fail the secretary, it never does his subordinate. He is beyond the reach of the soaring and plunging of the party which unhorses Presidents and Secretaries; and under whatever Administration, he is the same serene and plausible leech, upon the Treasury. There is not a square mile inhabited, under United States jurisdiction, which does not hold a portion of his own, or of some member of the cordon which defends his position."

"B.B." was just warming up to his task at this point. He continued:

"Bishops, Priests, and Deacons in the Church; Presidents, professors, and tutors in colleges whose relations to the press are suitable and who are likewise member of a notorious society (71) which boast of its control over every scientific appointment of value in the country; oil and cod dealers, artisans and contractors for supplies and materials of various sorts, are everywhere on guard to repel by force, or degrade by abuse every attempt by whomsoever made to reform the Coast Survey...."

"B.B." ended his first letter with the complaint that efforts to reform the Coast Survey "have been made by legislators like Benton, Mallory, and Cushing, when they were politically in the ascendant, and the result demonstrated that in point of strength and efficiency the Coast Survey was superior to the highest abilities, supported by great popularity, in positions of dignity and power."

The second letter launched more personal attacks on Superintendent Bache and continued the theme of his controlling the disbursements of the Lighthouse Board and Smithsonian Institution. The Lighthouse Board expenditures were significant and averaged $2,000,000 per year during the mid-1850's. "B.B." asked, "Who can wonder at the power of an agency which controls disbursements of such magnitude? Every light on the Coast ought to indicate to the statesman, caution as it does to the mariner, seeing in every lighthouse a monument of the power of the Autocrat of the Coast Survey."

"B.B." attacked Bache's and the Lazzaroni's role in the American Association for the Advancement of Science in similar terms:

"It was not surprising that an organisation which has shown itself able to subdue to its purpose administrations and statesmen of all political parties, and the Congress of the United States however constituted politically has found it easy to rule with a rod of iron an association mainly composed of simple-minded men of science with no aspirations but such as become scholars...."

"The Zouaves of the Coast Survey in the National Association, united by the cohesive 'power of public plunder' have become the scourge of the men of science in this country, and the scorn of the same class everywhere else. Tyrannical, contemptuous and unjust at home, they are insolent and supercilious to the brotherhood of science abroad, the courtesies of the country are declined and its territory is avoided by the most distinguished astronomers of the old world because their science has such representatives here. Known and derided under the apposite name of the Mutual Admiration Society by men of sense throughout the length and breadth of the land, such is the power of the Coast Survey, the capabilities for mischief of so mean a society are kept by it unimpaired and unabridged under universal contempt and disgust."

After attacking Superintendent Bache and all of the major institutions of American science, "B.B." finally came to his solution to the problems caused by the Coast Survey. He quoted the 1848 speech of Senator Thomas Hart Benton who advocated turning over the Survey to the Navy and called upon Congress to "Look to Maury whose name is synonym of practical and astronomical knowledge." In a curious aside, "B.B." then referred to the high quality of education of naval officers and remarked, "The true policy is to keep our military and naval schools in the highest state of efficiency, and to secure it at all times an educated staff for our Army and Navy." Mercifully, "B.B." then ended the letter with a second quote from Senator Benton, "It is a reproach to our Military and Naval officers and besides untrue in point of fact to assume them to be incapable of conducting and performing the work. It is a reproach to Congress to vote annually an immense sum on the civil superintendence and conduct of this work when there are more idle officers [naval officers awaiting orders] on the pay roll than could be employed on it."(72)

As in the attack of 1848-1849, these letters did little to damage Superintendent Bache or the Coast Survey. A few representatives picked up the banner of economy and placing the Coast Survey under Navy control during the 1859-1860 budget debates. Cadwallader Colden Washburn of Wisconsin was particularly desirous of destroying the Survey and moved to strike out $250,000 for the Survey of the Atlantic and Gulf coast which also included the salary of the superintendent and assistants. Washburn was convinced that the work was absolutely of no value. His brother, Elihu Benjamin Washburne (he chose to spell his name with a final e), raised the issue of nepotism when he insinuated that some members of Congress had relatives on the Survey. Francis P. Blair of Missouri moved to reduce the appropriation to $150,000 and to employ only Army and Navy officers upon the Survey. Blair, obviously less concerned with economy than immediate sectional interests, also attempted to introduce an amendment to provide $500,000 for the survey and improvement of the Mississippi River. However, this was ruled out of order. Henry C. Burnett of Kentucky spoke in favor of temporarily suspending the Survey as an economy measure although he disclaimed any antagonism to the Survey or its management. John Cochrane of New York, H. Winter Davis of Maryland, William A. Howard of Michigan, Linus B. Comins of Massachusetts, Israel Washburn, Jr., (a third Washburn brother) of Maine, William P. Miles of South Carolina, and Benjamin Stanton of Ohio spoke in support of the Coast Survey and retaining its present form and full appropriation.

Perhaps the most interesting facet of this debate was that of the three Washburn(e) brothers in the House of Representatives, two were against the Coast Survey and one was an advocate of the Survey demonstrating the Survey's power to overcome sectional interests, political party affiliations, and family ties. Both Cadwallader, the most violently opposed to the Survey, and Israel, a strong supporter of the Survey, were Republicans. Elihu was a Whig, the party of Israel prior to the formation of the Republican party.

Like John Aycrigg before him, Cadwallader Washburn grew more shrill as his amendments were rejected. He attacked Representative Stanton while simultaneously taking a swipe at the Smithsonian Institution:

"I expected that the gentleman from Ohio would sustain the Coast Survey. I know his position as connected with that institution, which I regard as an appendage to the Coast Survey. I can tell him that the people are not quite satisfied with the manner in which that institution is managed; and the time is not far distant when some gentlemen in this House may feel called upon to ask him for a little information on this subject."

Whatever this information was, apparently is lost to history. Representative Washburn, displaying sour grapes, offered an apology in terms echoing the "anonymous pamphleteer" for his lack of success in destroying the Survey:

"There is scarcely a square mile in the United States of America which does not contain a partisan of the Coast Survey; and, when I made the motion to reduce this appropriation, I had no expectation that it would carry. Such is the influence which is combined in this House, that I fear it will be a long time before these abuses will be checked."


The years 1858 to 1861 saw subtle changes in the operation and policies of the Coast Survey. Most significantly, in probable response to comments in The Report of the Committee of Twenty, Superintendent Bache recognized publicly for the first time in his 1858 annual report that the Coast Survey was not a temporary organization. Because of the need for the resurveys of significant areas as human-induced and natural changes altered their configurations, he asserted that once the triangulation was finished and the points adequately protected from damage, "all changes of the coast are easily mapped. The geodetic survey does not require renewal at all. Small triangulations take the place of large ones. The shore lines are easily traced. The hydrography is readily repeated. The expense of these partial surveys, after the main work is done, is insignificant. A comparatively small organization will secure that all the requirements of commerce and navigation are fulfilled."(73)

Superintendent Bache was in somewhat of a quandary concerning his political allegiances in the years before the Civil War. He received much support from Southern politicians and was careful to appear politically neutral. In one of his few references to a potential war, he noted in the 1858 report that: "The inland passage from Savannah river to the St. Mary's, now so useful to commerce, becomes, in the event of war, of inestimable value."(74) Perhaps Bache was thinking of war with a foreign power, but it would seem that this was a guardedly neutral statement assuring Northern and Southern friends alike that Coast Survey data would be of value in any future conflict.

The following year, Assistant C.O. Boutelle reported: "While the triangulation party was at work in February, the United States steamship BROOKLYN passed into Port Royal sound and anchored near the Parry island buoy, between Broad and Beaufort rivers. Assistant Boutelle visited the vessel, and, as no professional pilots are known in that vicinity, tendered his services in conducting her up Beaufort river. The offer being accepted by Captain Farragut, of the BROOKLYN, the steamer was moved to a position within four and a half miles of the city of Beaufort, and there anchored...."(75) Boutelle would provide a similar function to the ships of a Union fleet entering Port Royal Sound less than three years later in decidedly less amicable circumstances, while Captain Farragut would use Coast Survey personnel in the Battle of New Orleans.

While the field force was unconsciously preparing for future naval battles, Superintendent Bache continued sparring with Congress. His 1858 report began: "As usual the survey has been in progress in the field, afloat, or in the office-work, of all the maritime States and Territories of the United States in which it is not essentially completed..."(76) and "the plans for its completion are so fully developed as to show that merely steady progress in the direction already fixed is needed to insure a successful completion within a limited period."(77) That limited period was identified as "ten to twelve years" assuming "a steady persistence in the plan of operations marked out, and in the amount of means furnished...." Although Bache spoke in general terms, he was admonishing Congress when he suggested: "If the plan should be disorganized, or the means be necessarily reduced, all responsibility on my part for the results must, of course, cease."(78)

The 1859 report complained of reduced appropriations and continued the theme of placing blame elsewhere if progress was less than expected. Looking back two fiscal years, Superintendent Bache related that the 1858-1859 appropriations were "less by $30,000 than those for the previous year, 1857-'58, besides which, no appropriation was asked by the Interior Department for the survey and marking of the Florida keys, and of the islands off the Western Coast, making a diminution of $90,000 in the available means for the progress of the survey in 1858-'59...." This level of funding remained relatively constant for the next two fiscal years, 1859-1860 and 1860-1861. Showing no fear of the Congressional budget cutters, he continued, "It is not to be expected that this decrease will show itself in a marked way in two years, except in those sections which have suffered most from it, but I cannot be responsible for it when it does appear."(79)

The 1861-1862 budget request was increased by $45,000 for funds to replace the steamer WALKER, which had been lost at sea as the result of a collision, and by $17,800 for various items no longer funded by the War Department and Navy Department. Bache argued: "... that if a steam vessel is soon supplied to replace the WALKER, I shall be able to make good those statements [concerning time of completion of the Survey,] unless some new calamity beyond the reach of our estimates overtakes us. The plans are definitely formed in my mind, and require only a steady execution, year by year, to bring them to successful completion."(80) This is a second instance where Superintendent Bache may have been referring to impending war, but it seems more probable a potential "new calamity" referred to another ship wreck or other disaster affecting Coast Survey operations. His total budget request for fiscal year 1861-1862 was $502,800.

The 1861-1862 budget debates, held between January and early March of 1861, were quite acrimonious. Champions of the Survey were Republican Representative Thomas D. Eliot of Massachusetts; Whig Representative Benjamin Stanton of Ohio; New York Representative John Cochrane, a States Rights Democrat and formerly surveyor of the Port of New York from 1853 to 1857; Bache's friend and former Assistant in Charge of the Office, Democrat Isaac Ingalls Stevens, the delegate from Washington Territory; and in the Senate, long-time supporter of the Coast Survey, Democrat James A. Pearce of Maryland. Representative Horace Maynard of Tennessee, elected to Congress as a member of the American Party and a loyal Union partisan and convert to the Republican Party during the Civil War, was the most vociferous of Coast Survey opponents. Opposition in the Senate was led by Republican James W. Grimes of Iowa.

During the debates, Representative Maynard provided his view of the operations of the Coast Survey:

"In my opinion there is a very wide difference between surveying the coast, and the Coast Survey. The gentleman from New York [Representative Cochrane] has made a very sensible argument, as he always does when he undertakes to talk sense, (laughter) on the importance of surveying the coast, and of giving to the country and to the commercial world charts of the topography and hydrography of our shores. I suppose there can be no two opinions on that subject. But the Coast Survey is another and a very different thing. It is sort of a mythical establishment which has in some way attached itself to this great Government. It is suggested that it is a sort of barnacle which has fastened itself on the operations of the Government; and which, under pretense of surveying the coasts, amuses itself at almost any and all kinds of occupation; concerning itself with making celestial observations; concerning itself in the operations of observatories as far in the interior as the city of Albany, and I know not in what else besides...."

Representative Maynard viewed the Survey as an example of Government run amok and regarded the operations of the Survey "as a great abuse - as one, sir, that ought to be lopped off...." However, he stated that he was not at the present time in favor of total elimination of the Survey, but that he wished to reduce "the Coast Survey service within some reasonable, some comprehensible dimensions." Later in the debates, as a last gasp in his attack on the Survey, he moved that the Coast Survey be placed under Navy control but this was ruled out of order.

A pervasive force in Congress during the 1861-1862 budget debates was a group of Congressmen who had no animosity towards the Survey but were concerned with decreasing Federal expenditures. Republican John Sherman of Ohio, brother of General William T. Sherman and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, reported that the Committee "did not know what to strike at better than this Coast Survey," that it had voted to cut the Coast Survey appropriation in half, and that it wished to see the work continued where most needed. For his part, Representative Sherman felt that an entire suspension was better than a reduction. Another representative sharing Sherman's view was John S. Phelps of Missouri. Phelps, though not attacking the work of the Survey, chose to attack its employees when he inquired: "I ask if any great distress is to befall the country if the Coast Survey be prosecuted in a way not quite so magnificent or so expensive as the last year? I ask if there is to be any suffering except to the employees of the Coast Survey? And they are the men who, during each session of Congress, when we come to act upon the appropriation for the continuation of the Survey, throng the hotels and boarding-houses of Washington, and raise a clamor that we are striking down the prosecution of a magnificent work...."(81)

The House of Representatives voted on the Coast Survey appropriation on January 11, 1861. The House version of the appropriation remained at the level sent forward by the Ways and Means Committee (½ of the requested appropriation.) Even this was too much for many Congressmen, but the Coast Survey received support from an unlikely quarter when Democratic Representative Thomas Hindman of Arkansas proclaimed: "I am one of those who have always opposed appropriations of this character, upon grounds of justice and expediency; but upon the present occasion it is my purpose to assist gentlemen upon the opposite side in bankrupting, as soon as possible, a Government whose purse and powers are soon to be used for the subjugation of my brethren of the South. I vote 'ay.'"

The Ways and Means Committee version of the Coast Survey bill passed the House. In the Senate the full appropriation as requested by Superintendent Bache was passed including $45,000 for a new steamer. In conference, the appropriation for the steamer was stricken out, the Atlantic and Pacific coast requests were each reduced by $20,000, and the Florida reef surveys were reduced by $15,000. The final bill was passed in early March 1861, only a day before the inauguration of President Lincoln and a month before the South fired on Fort Sumter. The Coast Survey received $402,800, a reduction of 20% from the request. However, it is doubtful that a new steamer could have been manned and operational within a year so the real effect on the Coast Survey budget was a reduction of a little over 10% in funds available for operations.

Given the political and fiscal atmosphere of the times, Superintendent Bache did a remarkable job in salvaging his budget. From the standpoint of the Union, it was fortunate that the Coast Survey appropriation passed as within a few short months Coast Survey field crews were conducting operations for both Army and Navy forces. Geographic knowledge acquired by the Coast Survey would soon be used in blockading Southern ports and in planning movements of Union troops and supplies. Representative Hindman woefully underestimated the resources of the Federal Government when he assumed that a vote for the Coast Survey appropriation would help bankrupt the Northern states. Although the Coast Survey operated at reduced funding levels for the duration of the Civil War, total Union spending increased to levels undreamed of by Hindman or anyone else prior to 1861 and somehow the Nation managed to pay its debts.

The years 1850 through 1860 were the highwater mark of the Coast Survey. Never again would its budget approach 1/2% to 1% of the total Federal budget. Never again would the head of the Survey exert such an influence on American science as did Alexander Dallas Bache during those years. With the coming of the Civil War, the Coast Survey was relegated to a minor position in national affairs and never returned to its pre-war prominence. Other science and engineering agencies evolved and became more prominent, such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Army Corps of Engineers under Andrew Atkins Humphreys, or were newly formed such as the United States Geological Survey under John Wesley Powell and the United States Fisheries Commission under Spencer Fullerton Baird. Although the mission of the Coast Survey would evolve and continue to grow following the golden years of the Bache Superintendency, paradoxically, its influence on American science and politics would lessen over the next half century as it adapted to changing political and scientific directions.


1. The name Oregon was initially applied to all United States territory north of California.

2. Bache, A. D. 1851. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey. Senate Document 3, 32nd Congress, 1st Session. December 5, 1851. p. 4.

3. Bache, A. D. 1853. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey, Showing the Progress of the Survey during the Year 1852. P. 7. Washington, Robert Armstrong, Public Printer.

4. Lewis, O. 1954. George Davidson Pioneer West Coast Scientist. P. 13. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.

5. Bache, A. D. 1854. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey Showing the Progress during the Year 1853. p. 9.

6. Bache, A. D. 1852. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey ... 1851. p. 8. This same theme was repeated in Bache's report for 1853: Bache, A. D. 1854. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey Showing the Progress of the Survey During the Year 1853. p. 7.

7. Bache, A. D. 1853. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey Showing the Progress of the Survey During the Year 1852. Appendix No. 5. List of Coast Survey discoveries and developments. p. 80. Robert Armstrong, Public Printer, Washington.

8. Letter from Davis to Bache included in: Bache, A. D. 1856. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey Showing the Progress of the Work during the Year 1855. Appendix No. 10, p. 152-153. A. O. P. Nicholson, Printer, Washington.

9. Gould, B. A. 1868. Address in Commemoration of Alexander Dallas Bache. In: Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Vol. XVII, p. 31.

10. The concept of the temporary nature of the Coast Survey was already being debated as early as 1851. In response to a Senate resolution in early 1851 proposing the transfer of the Coast Survey from the Treasury Department to the Navy Department, Secretary of the Navy William A. Graham testified: "Considering the great extent of the coasts of the United States, the comparatively small portion that has as yet been surveyed, it is no longer to be regarded as a mere temporary undertaking, but one to which no exact limit can be assigned for its continuance, even until the whole work has been once gone over. But the changes of the depth of water are so frequent and so great upon the southern coast, that the survey must be continued, at least in the way of soundings and reconnaissances, for an indefinite period." (Graham, W. A. 1851. Report of the Secretary of the Navy, in Answer to A resolution of the Senate relative to the transfer of

the survey of the coast from the Treasury to the Navy Department. February 15, 1851. p.6. Senate Executive Document No. 35, 31st Congress, 2d Session.) Bache had to have been cognizant of these facts. However, to justify "promotion by merit" within the Coast Survey, he must have felt compelled to continue touting the Survey as a temporary function of the Government.

11. Bache, A. D. 1852. The report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey, showing the progress of that work during the year ending November, 1851. Senate Document 3. December 5, 1851. p. 6-7. Robert Armstrong, Printer, Washington.

12. The military and naval services principally promoted on the basis of seniority at this time. Secretary of the Navy William A. Graham described the system: "Absolute promotion in the navy is slow, and its rule is seniority of commission, without regard to merit." This led to additional jealousies and animosities between naval officers selected to serve on the Survey and those who remained in the regular service as the selection of senior shipboard officers was made by the Superintendent of the Coast Survey. Graham described the problem: "To become the chief of a hydrographical party on the coast survey, or the commander or the master of one of the vessels belonging to it, is professional advancement for lieutenants and passed midshipmen. These situations give them increased pay, immunities, and privileges, and are regarded in the light of promotion. The manner in which these promotions are made begets dissatisfaction, and gives rise to charges of favoritism which the head of the department cannot judge of or control." (Graham, W. A. 1851. Report of the Secretary of the Navy.... February 15, 1851. p. 4. Senate Executive Document No. 35, 31st Congress, 2d Session.)

13. Bache, A. D. 1858. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey Showing the Progress During the Year 1857. p. 4.

14. Bache, A. D. 1859. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey .... 1858. p. 5-6. William A. Harris, Printer, Washington.

15. Letter of James Gilliss to Alexander Dallas Bache, August 18, 1858. National Archives, MF 642, Roll 185.

16. Hein, S. A. January 21, 1851. In: Graham, W. A. 1851. Report of the Secretary of the Navy, in Answer to A resolution of the Senate relative to the transfer of the survey of the coast from the Treasury to the Navy Department. February 15, 1851. Senate Executive Document No. 35. 31st Congress, 2d Session. Appendix A, p. 11.

17. Letter of William Mitchell to Bache, January 22, 1848. MF642, Roll 25, Bache Correspondence, Coast and Geodetic Survey Records, National Archives. For further discussion of women in the Coast Survey under Bache, see: Slotten, H.R. 1994. Patronage, Practice, and the Culture of American Science Alexander Dallas Bache and the U.S. Coast Survey. p. 166-167. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

18. As mentioned in footnote K, p. 28, Chapter 2, it is possible that Hassler had also hired William and Maria Mitchell for some work as Charles Wilkes in his autobiography mentions attempting to visit Maria Mitchell on July 4, 1837, at Nantucket, "who was then engaged in making observations for the Coast Survey." (Wilkes, C. 1978. Autobiography of Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes, U.S. Navy 1798-1877. p. 360. Naval History Division Department of the Navy, Washington.) It is possible that Wilkes's memory failed him on this point. Maria Mitchell would have been only 19 years old at the time, and it is improbable that she would have had sufficient scientific reputation for Wilkes to have gone out of his way to visit her. However, there are indications that Hassler did in fact loan Coast Survey instruments to William Mitchell in the mid-1830's for Mitchell to make astronomic observations. See: Wright, H. 1949. Sweeper in the Sky The Life of Maria Mitchell.... p. 38, 42. MacMillan Company, New York. Chapter 2, Page 38 unambiguously refers to William Mitchell conducting observations for the Coast Survey at least as early as 1836. Page 42 is apparently set in an 1838 time period but refers to Superintendent Bache instead of Hassler so Helen Wright either misidentified the superintendent or the time period.

Maria Mitchell's sister, Phebe Kendall Mitchell, related:

"In 1849 Miss Mitchell was asked by the late Admiral Davis [Charles Henry Davis], who had just taken charge of the American Nautical Almanac, to act as computer for that work, - a proposition to which she gladly assented, and for nineteen years she held that position in addition to her other duties.... In this year, too, she was employed by Professor Bache, of the United States Coast Survey, in the work of an astronomical party at Mount Independence, Maine." (Kendall, P.M. 1896. Maria Mitchell Life, Letters, and Journals. p. 24. Lee and Shepard Publishers, Boston.)

As this was the first mention of the employment of Maria Mitchell on the Coast Survey by Phebe Kendall, this would appear to establish precedence for the Nautical Almanac Office as the first organization to hire a woman professional in the United States Government. However, Helen Wright quoted Alexander Dallas Bache congratulating Maria Mitchell after her discovery of a comet with a telescope (she was the first to ever do this and her discovery was a major step in establishing her fame as the foremost Nineteenth Century woman scientist in the United States) and the subsequent award of a medal by the king of Denmark. The discovery occurred on October 1, 1847. Bache wrote to "the lady astronomer in whose fame I take personal pride as having in some degree helped to foster the talent which has here developed.... We congratulate the indefatigable comet-seeker on her success; is she not the first lady who has ever discovered a comet? The Coast Survey is proud of her connection with it...." (Sweeper in the Sky.... p. 65.)

The Bache Correspondence in the National Archives clarifies this issue and establishes

that Superintendent Bache had the intention of hiring Maria Mitchell as an observer as early as August 9, 1845, and that Maria Mitchell embarked upon a program of observations for the Coast Survey as early as August 21, 1845. (Bache to Elias Loomis, RG23, MF642, Roll 5, p. 354.) On January 15, 1846, William Mitchell wrote to Bache that: "I may say then that about all the moon culminations, since Loomis left us, have been taken (when visible) except through a part of one lunation, when Maria and myself were absent at Worcester. Maria alternates with me in these with a zeal (shall I also say skill?) very gratifying to an old man." (RG23, microfilm collection MF642, Roll 14, p. 337.) Other correspondence bearing on Maria Mitchell's association with the Coast Survey is found on Roll 18, William Mitchell to Bache, October 14, 1847 and Roll 25, William Mitchell to Bache, January 22, 1848, pp. 85-86.

19. Coast Survey and Coast and Geodetic Survey policy concerning blacks in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century is summed up in a footnote included in: Folger, C. J. 1881. Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, Transmitting In compliance with Senate resolution of May 19, 1881, lists showing the names of all officers, clerks, and other employees borne upon the roles of that department, not required to be confirmed by the Senate. Senate Executive Document No. 8, 47th Congress, 1st Session. On page 84 of that document is included Footnote I relating: "I. Color - The uniform practice in the Coast Survey is to employ none but colored men as messengers and laborers. The technical character of the work has hitherto prevented their employment in other branches of the establishment."

20. Page 56 of the unpublished Autobiography of Joseph Smith Harris, archived at the Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, specifically refers to acquiring "a new cook, a slave named George to replace Romeo another slave. The change was greatly to our advantage." J. Morris Wampler, in his diary (see pages ), often refers to a steward which could have been a euphemism for a personal slave.

21. Gould, B. A. 1868. Address in Commemoration of Alexander Dallas Bache. In: Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Volume XVII, p. 37.

22. Letter of A. D. Bache to William McMurtrie, December 8, 1848. National Archives, Record Group 23. In: Monroe, R. D. William Birch McMurtrie: A Painter Partially Restored. Oregon Historical Quarterly, Volume LX, No. 3, p. 352-374.

23. Slotten, H. R. 1994. p. 165.

24. Letter of A. D. Bache to George Davidson, December 9, 1846. National Archives. MF642, Roll 9. In: Slotten, H. R. 1994. p. 162.

25. Brent, J. 1993. Charles Sanders Peirce A Life. p. 39. Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana. [Brent endnotes this as : BP to ADB, 15 January, 1864, Benjamin Peirce Papers, Harvard University. If in fact this was Benjamin to Bache, then Brent has erred in his presentation of the situation as he was discussing Charles's neuralgia.]

26. Letter of A.M. Harrison to George Davidson, Dec. 3. 1851. Davidson Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. In: Slotten, H. R. 1994. p. 163.

27. Slotten, H. R. 1994. p. 163.

28. Letter of George Davidson to Ed Hull, January 20, 1851. Davidson Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California. In: Slotten, H. R. 1994.

29. Johnson, R. E. 1967. Rear Admiral John Rodgers 1812-1882. p. 96. United States Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland.

30. Johnson, R. E. 1967. Rear Admiral John Rodgers 1812-1882. p. 93-94. United States Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland. Rodgers felt that the $12.00 advance was adequate as sailors only signed on for one year with the Coast Survey while three year enlistments were common on men-of-war.

31. Bache A. D. 1855. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey Showing the Progress during the Year 1855. p. 4-5. A. O. P. Nicholson, Printer, Washington. See also: Bache, A. D. 1855. Report of the Superintendent... during the Year 1854. p. 6. Beverley Tucker, Printer, Washington.

32. Bache, A. D. 1856. Report of the Superintendent ... during the Year 1855. p. 4-5. See also: Bache, A. D. 1855. Report of the Superintendent ... during the Year 1854. p. 6.

33. Bache, A. D. 1859. Report of the Superintendent ... 1858. p. 97.

34. Bache, A. D. 1860. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey Showing the Progress of the Work during the Year 1859. p. 31. Thomas H. Ford, Printer, Washington.

35. Lieutenant Commanding Thomas S. Phelps remained on duty with the Coast Survey and commanded first the VIXEN and then the CORWIN until December, 1864. At that time he was placed in command of the USS SAUGUS. Phelps retired as a Rear Admiral in 1884. Commander Benjamin F. Sands returned to Coast Survey service in May 1861 at the request of Superintendent Bache who needed an experienced officer to command the ACTIVE on the West Coast. Sands served with the Survey until October 1862 at which time he returned to the East Coast to command the USS DACOTAH in the blockade of Wilmington, N. C. Sands retired from the Navy in 1874 having attained the rank of Rear Admiral.

36. Stevens, H. 1900. The Life of Isaac Ingalls Stevens, Volume I. p. 253. Houghton, Mifflin and Company, The Riverside Press, Boston and New York.

37. Graham, W. A. 1851. Report of the Secretary of the Navy in Answer to A resolution of the Senate relative to the transfer of the survey of the coast from the Treasury to the Navy Department. Senate Executive Document No. 35, 31st Congress, 2d Session. February 15, 1851. p. 8.

38. Corwin, T. 1851. Report of the Secretary of the Treasury in Answer to A resolution of the Senate relative to the transfer of the survey of the coast from the Treasury to the Navy Department. Senate Executive Document No. 36, 31st Congress, 2d Session. February 15, 1851.

39. These figures are derived from an offprint of "Review of a Pamphlet Entitled 'The Coast Survey; Its Costs, Abuses, and Power, from the New York Times.'" This article appeared in: Journal of the Franklin Institute, January, 1859. The direct quote is: "The trigonometrical survey of Great Britain and Ireland was begun in 1791, and had cost, up to 1856, $12,000,000; and it is estimated that $8,000,000 will be required for its completion."

40. Coast Survey appropriations from January 1, 1844, to June 30, 1851. In: Graham, William A. 1851. Report of the Secretary of the Navy in Answer to A resolution of the Senate relative to the transfer of the survey of the coast from the Treasury to the Navy Department. February 15, 1851. Senate Executive Document No. 35. 31st Congress, 2d Session. p. 13. These budget numbers differ slightly from a listing in the New York Times for the years 1843 to 1850 which appeared on November 23rd, 1858. Minor additions and deletions to the Coast Survey budget were often made and occasionally funds earmarked for Coast Survey work would be added to the appropriations bills of other departments. As such, there are multiple versions of the Coast Survey budgets and difficulty in arriving at an accurate figure for total funds available to the Survey and total funds disbursed in support of the Survey.

41. Bache, A. D. 1855. Report of the Superintendent ... during the Year 1854. p. 23.

42. Maffitt, E. M. 1906. The Life and Services of John Newland Maffitt. p. 136. The Neale Publishing Company, New York and Washington. p. 136. (Chapter XI, pp. 136-198, contains the full account of the Naval Court of Inquiry into Maffitt's case.)

43. For a full discussion of the actions of the Efficiency Board, see: Merrill, J. M. 1986. Du Pont: The Making of an Admiral. p. 217-227. Dodd, Mead and Company, New York.

44. Alexander Dallas Bache lauded John Maffitt's work in Charleston Harbor in 1852: "I cannot, in justice, omit the statement that the labors of this party have, in amount, as compared with means, in constancy, and in success, exceeded any which have yet come under my observation in the progress of the survey." In: Bache, A. D. 1853. Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey Showing the Progress of the Survey during the Year 1852. p. 37.

45. Maffitt, E. M. 1906. p. 165.

46. Maffitt, E. M. 1906. p. 191.

47. Naval History Division, Navy Department. 1971. Civil War Naval Chronology 1861-1865, Chapter VI. p. 228. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

48. Maffitt, E. M. 1906. p. 180-181.

49. Maffitt, E. M. 1906. p. 168-169.

50. Maffitt, E. M. 1906. p. 193,194, and 198.

51. Merrill, J. M. 1986. Du Pont: The Making of an Admiral. p. 221-224.

52. Merrill, J. M. 1986. p. 222. Merrill refers to Maury as a friend of Du Pont's in an earlier passage. It is improbable that these men had ever been more than passing acquaintances. On the other hand, Du Pont's friendship with Bache had extended back at least five years and would continue until Bache's death.

53. This was the same John K. Kane who had notified Joseph Henry of the illness and death of Ferdinand Hassler and urged Henry to write immediately to the Secretary of the Treasury nominating Alexander Dallas Bache for Superintendency of the Coast Survey. Judge Kane died before the report was completed and F. A. P. Barnard, President of the University of Mississippi, took over as Chairman of the Committee. Barnard was the brother of Major General John Barnard who was responsible for the defenses of Washington, D. C., during the Civil War. F. A. P. Barnard came north at the outbreak of hostilities and ultimately went on to become the President of Columbia University. He established it as a research university after the model proposed by Bache and his Lazzaroni brethren. Thus, Columbia University is considered to be among the first of the modern universities in the United States.

54. Another important reason for attempting to establish the Dudley Observatory as the primary site for further longitude operations was a widening rift between the Coast Survey and the Harvard Observatory. The Bonds, William Cranch and his son George P., aroused Superintendent Bache's anger in 1852 when they took the apparatus used in "the American Method" of longitude observations and "took more than their share of credit for the method when displaying at the Crystal Palace Exhibition" in London in 1852. Although the Bonds had played a large role in the development of the method, Ormsby Mitchel and John Locke had also made significant contributions and claimed priority of invention. All had been guided by Sears

Walker of the Coast Survey, and all had received Coast Survey funds to proceed with the development of the electrical recording instruments. Even prior to this incident, the Bonds had incurred Superintendent Bache's displeasure because they refused to demand that astronomer George Hartnup of the Liverpool Observatory comply with Bache's preferred method for observing stars for longitude determination. Bache felt that inaccuracies were being introduced by Hartnup's methods, and he ordered William Bond to either have Hartnup use the methods approved by the Coast Survey or abandon Liverpool as the European longitude observation station. William Bond did neither. While Sears Cook Walker was alive and not debilitated by his final illness, he was able to maintain reasonably amicable relations between the Harvard Observatory and Superintendent Bache. His replacement in 1853 as head of Coast Survey longitude operations was Benjamin Apthorpe Gould whose caustic temperament and public criticism of the Bonds on other matters virtually assured a widening of the rift. (For a full discussion of the relationship between the Harvard Observatory in this period and the Coast Survey see: Stephens, C. E. 1990. Astronomy as Public Utility: The Bond Years at the Harvard College Observatory. In: Two Astronomical Anniversaries: HCO & SAO, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. p. 21-35. Cambridge, Massachusetts.)

55. Peirce, B. 1855. Report on the Determination of Longitude by Moon Culminations. In: Bache, A. D. 1855. Report of the Superintendent ... 1854. Appendix No. 36. pp. *108-*120. Item 37 of this report states: "37. With this great liability to error, the method of moon culminations cannot come into competition or combination with other methods of determining longitude, which are susceptible of ten times greater accuracy. Such a degree of accuracy seems to be quite possible of attainment between Europe and America by means of chronometric expeditions, and perhaps still more accurate determinations can be derived from a judicious and thorough reduction of all the observations of occultations, especially of the Pleiades, as suggested by Bessel and Walker."

56. The Dudley Observatory affair is discussed in: Bruce, R.V. 1987. The Launching of Modern American Science, 1846-1876. p. 234-239. Cornell Paperbacks, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York; Slotten, H.R. 1994. Patronage, Practice, and the Culture of American Science Alexander Dallas Bache and the U.S. Coast Survey. p. 107-109. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.; and Kohlstedt, S.G. 1976. The Formation of the American Scientific Community. p. 187-188. University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Illinois.

57. The Trustees of the Dudley Observatory published a 173-page attack on the Scientific Council in which the issue of the "Fourth Comet of 1857" was raised in at least two places. Concerning the naming of the comet, the Trustees sarcastically suggested that Peters would have been much better off if he had named the comet the "Gould Comet," or the "Bache Comet," or the "Coast Survey Comet" instead of the "ridiculous procedure" of giving the "celestial visitant the name of the Olcott Comet." (In: Anonymous. 1858. The Dudley Observatory and the Scientific Council. Statement of the Trustees. p. 148-149. Van Benthuysen, Printer, Albany.)

58. This idea was suggested by Robert Bruce in: Bruce, R.V. 1987. The Launching of Modern American Science, 1846-1876. p. 236. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.

59. The forgotten and ignored individual in this affair was Mrs. Blandina Dudley, the original benefactor of the observatory and far and away the most generous. Mrs. Dudley (1783-1863) was the widow of Charles Edward Dudley, a former U. S. Senator and prominent Albany merchant. The Trustees insinuated that a letter written under her apparent signature and used by the Scientific Council as evidence of Mrs. Dudley's desires to leave the management of the observatory in the hands of scientists and the removal of Trustees who differed with their opinion was fraudulent. It stretches the imagination to believe that the Scientific Council would take the chance of forging her signature to a letter given the notoriety of the affair. It is probable that she was much grieved by the controversy surrounding the institution that she founded. Ultimately, she contributed over $100,000 to the observatory. (In: Anonymous. 1858. The Dudley Observatory and the Scientific Council. Statement of the Trustees. p. 91-92. Van Benthuysen, Printer, Albany.)

60. Bache, A. D. 1856. Report of the Superintendent ... 1855. p. 17.

61. Bache, A. D. 1856. Report of the Superintendent ... 1855. p. 267.

62. Gould, B. A. 1856. Report of Dr. B. A. Gould, Jr., assistant in charge of telegraph operations for determining differences of longitude between Wilmington, N. C., and Montgomery, Ala. In: Bache, A. D. 1856. Report of the Superintendent ... 1856. Appendix No. 20, Nov. 11, 1856. p. 163.

63. Gould, B. A. Telegraphic longitudes. On the progress made in the different campaigns. List of time-stars adopted; difficulties and discrepancies of transmission for signals between Wilmington, N.C., and Columbia, S.C. Appendix No.27, p. 310. In: Bache, A. D. 1858. Report of the Superintendent ... 1857. p. 310.

64. Peirce, B. Report of Prof. Benjamin Peirce, LL.D., on the determination of longitudes by occultations of the Pleiades and solar eclipses. In: Bache, A. D. 1858. Report of the Superintendent ... 1857. Appendix No. 29, p. 313.

65. The Committee of Twenty. 1858. Proposition 10. In: Report of the History and Progress of the American Coast Survey up to the Year 1858. p. 86.

66. Bache, A. D. 1859. Report of the Superintendent ... 1858. p. 5-6.

67. The Committee of Twenty. 1858. p. 85-86.

68. Slotten, H. R. 1994. p. 107.

69. This amount was twice the Federal expenditure during the most expensive year of the Mexican War. According to "B. B.," that expenditure at the time "was held to be monstrous, and perhaps wasteful."

70. A Paixhan was a type of Naval gun.

71. An allusion to the "Lazzaroni," or as detractors termed it, "the Mutual Admiration Society" or "the sacred brotherhood."

72. As mentioned above, there are very strong reasons for believing Matthew Fontaine Maury and James Ferguson were the co-authors of these two letters instead of Thomas Olcott, a trustee and heavy contributor ($11,000) to the Dudley Observatory. Maury had just been fully reinstated in the Navy and was probably feeling politically invincible. The letters were written in a style akin to Maury's flowing descriptive work and the array of issues touched upon in the letters were those of interest to Maury. Use of words such as "absorbent" and "peculiar talent" harken back to Ferguson's articles in Hunt's Merchants' Magazine published in early 1849.

The letters show a corporate knowledge of the workings of the Coast Survey that reaches far enough back to dredge up elements of the Congressional hearings of 1842-1843 with references to Representatives Mallory and Cushing. Ferdinand Hassler was referred to with respect, while it is inferred that Superintendent Bache was not worthy to replace him. The reference to Representative Mallory was such ancient news that one letter written in defense of the Coast Survey assumed that the Mallory referred to was Senator Stephen Mallory of Florida instead of Representative Francis Mallory of Virginia who sat on the Select Committee investigating the Coast Survey in 1842-1843 and then never was elected to Congress again. Stephen Mallory was an advocate of the Survey which could also explain some of the animosity between him and Maury during the Civil War.

In suggesting that "Something is due to the infirmity of human judgement and the obtuseness which fails to apprehend, in an inflated professor [Bache] who has discovered nothing,

the superior of a modest one who has discovered ten asteroids...," the writers offered a clue to their identity just as Ferguson had in 1849 with his reference to having done reconnaissance on the North Carolina coast. At the time of writing these letters, Ferguson had published accounts of his discovery of a number of asteroids. C. H. F. Peters, the observer at the Dudley Observatory, had only discovered the comet which he had named for Olcott.

References to naval education point to Maury as this was a favorite cause of his. The suggestion to place the Coast Survey under Navy control and reference to Benton's passage concerning Maury also point to Maury as co-author. The attack on the "National Association" and the "Mutual Admiration Society" is consistent with Maury as he quit the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1858 in protest against Bache and the Lazzaroni. (Bruce, R. V. 1987. The Launching of Modern American Science. p. 265. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.)

Just as in Ferguson's articles attacking the Coast Survey in 1849, these letters were timed to influence Congressional debate on the Coast Survey appropriation. Last, but not least, the next known pseudonym used by Matthew Fontaine Maury was "Ben Bow," (as compared to "B. B.,") used in a series of Richmond newspaper articles attacking Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory during the Civil War.

73. Bache, A. D. 1859. Report of the Superintendent ... 1858. p. 5-6.

74. Bache, A. D. 1859. Report of the Superintendent ... 1858. p. 68.

75. Boutelle, C. O., quoted in: Bache, A. D. 1860. Report of the Superintendent ... 1859. p. 65.

76. Bache, A. D. 1859. Report of the Superintendent ... 1858. p. 1.

77. Bache, A. D. 1859. Report of the Superintendent ... 1858. p. 31.

78. Bache, A. D. 1859. Report of the Superintendent ... 1858. p. 3.

79. Bache, A. D. 1860. Report of the Superintendent ... 1859. p. 2.

80. Bache, A. D. 1861. Report of the Superintendent ... 1860. p. 1.

81. Representative Phelps seemed to have little basis for this statement. Although Coast Surveyors must have lobbied their Congressmen whenever possible, Democratic Representative Thomas B. Florence of Pennsylvania protested that he had never heard of any "hotel pressure" being brought to bear upon the House of Representatives.

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