it is possible that two schooners were named GEORGE M. BACHE.
The first appears in the records in 1847, the year following
the death of Lieutenant George Mifflin Bache during a hurricane
on the Coast Survey Brig WASHINGTON. This vessel is mentioned
sporadically throughout the 1850’s in the Coast Survey
Annual Reports. Apparently a second GEORGE M. BACHE was built
in 1861 by J. F. Fardy and Brothers of Baltimore, Maryland.
The second vessel had length 76 feet, beam 20 feet, draft 5
feet. In service 1862-1886. Atlantic service only. Lieutenant
George M. Bache, USN, was a brother of Alexander Dallas Bache,
second Superintendent of the Coast Survey. G. M. Bache had served
on the Survey from the late 1830’s having first been assigned
from the Navy while Ferdinand Hassler was Superintendent.
length 70 feet, beam 20 feet, draft 2.2 feet. In service 1856-1861.
Thence Civil War navy service. 1864-1873 Coast Survey. Atlantic
service only. Named for Jacob Whitman Bailey (1811-1857), West
Point Professor, naturalist, and pioneer microscopist in the
United States. Studied offshore sediments for the Coast Survey
and for Matthew Fontaine Maury of the Naval Observatory.
dimensions unknown. In service 1851-1858. Tonnage 114. Originally
acquired for the use of the party of Richard D. Cutts while
working on the central California coast. Used for West Coast
duty and only mentioned sporadically in the annual reports of
the Superintendent of the Coast Survey.
length 60 feet, beam 17.5 feet, draft 4.2 feet. Acquired at
a cost of $2098.42 in 1846. In service 1846-1862. Atlantic service
only. Named for Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, a noted
historian, who served from 1845-46 and established the Naval
length 95 feet, beam 20 feet, draft 4 feet. In service 1867-1885.
Used primarily on Gulf Coast. Named for the region south of
New Orleans in the Mississippi Delta area.
steamer, length 95 feet, beam 20 feet, draft 4 feet. built for
Coast Survey by S.D. Bardmore in Louisville, Kentucky, in service
1875-1881. Sunk in Mississippi River December 26, 1880. Apparently
raised and sold in 1881. Named for the city of the same name.
cost $1553.60. Tonnage 28. In service 1870-1884, 1884 replaced
with a new barge at cost of $1575.10, 85, continued in service
length 60 feet, beam 16 feet, draft 4 feet. Acquired from Army
Quartermaster Department in 1848. Sunk in a gale at end of 1853
season, raised in 1854. Lost on uncharted shoal off St. Andrews
Bay, Florida, in 1857. In service 1848-1857 on the Gulf Coast.
wheel steamer, length 160 feet, beam 24 feet, draft 9 feet.
Originally built for the Revenue Service with Hunter’s
wheels, horizontal paddles located beneath the hull. But this
proved cumbersome and the ship was converted to side wheels
in 1846. Turned over to the Coast Survey on July 11, 1847. It’s
first captain was Navy Lieutenant Charles H. Davis. Under Davis,
the relative advantages of steam over sail were noted during
hydrographic surveys. In this respect, it was a revolutionary
ship as it released the hydrographic surveyor from the vagaries
of wind and current forever. This ship was one of the most productive
ships used by the Coast Survey in the following three decades.
It served honorably in the Civil War on the South Atlantic Blockading
Squadron under the command of Coast Surveyor Charles O. Boutelle
for much of the war. Boutelle was fleet hydrographer, advisor,
and confidant to both Rear Admirals Samuel F. DuPont and John
Dahlgren during the course of the war. The Executive Officer,
Robert Platt, obtained the equivalent of a Naval Battlefield
Commission in March 1863 and then piloted the WEEHAWKEN, lead
ship, Captain John Rodgers commanding, of the ironclad attack
on Charleston Harbor, on April 7, 1863. Besides being the Coast
Survey’s first steamer, the BIBB also was a pioneering
oceanographic vessel, serving as a research vessel for Louis
Agassiz in 1847 off the Massachusetts coast, and then again
with Louis Agassiz and Count Louis F. de Pourtales during dredging
cruises in the Pourtales Terrace area off the south tip of Florida
in 1867. In service 1847-1861, 1861 returned to Revenue Service
thence back to Coast Survey, 1862-1879. Named for George Motier
Bibb (1776-1859), a former United States Senator and the Secretary
of the Treasury under President John Tyler from 4 July 1844
until 3 March 1845.