[Washington, DC: Robert Armstrong], 1852. First edition. Original dark brown cloth with gilt title and blind stamped decoration, quarto (9.5 x 11.5 inches), drop-title with list of "sketches", 58 maps and plans of varying sizes, many folded, on 57 sheets (complete). Moderate rubbing to covers, shallow dent at center fore-edge of front board, some toning to map sheets, occasional short tears to folds, Sketch #35 - a tri-fold of tables of Tides at Cat Island Louisiana with 3" x 1" section on upper margin of right panel torn away, overall much nicer than usually found and about very good. Item #22976
The Coast Survey of 1851 included the first detailed survey of the west coast of North America. The greatly increased sea traffic generated by the California gold rush and the increasing number of wrecks in the region emphasized the need for accurate charts of the coast. A young George Davidson (1825-1911) was the head of the survey party. This was his first major surveying job and a precursor to his later "Coast Pilots." Davidson went on to found the geography department at the University of California, Berkeley. Sketch "J No. 2 - Mare Island Straits, California" shows the "Site of Vallejo, Seat of Government of California" - a very short-lived status for the new city founded by Gen. Mariano Vallejo with the intention of providing the new state with a capital city. The California legislature spent less than a year in Vallejo before moving on to Benicia and ultimately Sacramento.