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Schooner, 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.


Schooner, 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.


Schooner, 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.


Schooner, 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 Academy.


Steamer, 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.


Stern-wheel 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.


Barge originally cost $1553.60. Tonnage 28. In service 1870-1884, 1884 replaced with a new barge at cost of $1575.10, 85, continued in service until 1892.


Schooner, 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.


Side 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.

Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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