Superb Blueback Chart Showing the Entire Texas Coast:
The Authoritative Source of the Period

Based upon the Surveys of Legendary Texas Navy Commodore Moore

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

603. [MAP: BLUEBACK]. MOORE, Edwin Ward, et al. (surveyors) & E[dmund] & G[eorge] W[illiam] Blunt (publishers). St. Marks to Galveston. Sheet II. E. & G.W. Blunt, New York. 1846. Additions to 1861. Authorities, Major J.D. Graham, U.S.T.E. Commander E.W. Moore, Texan Navy. J.D. Boylan. & U.S. Naval Military Officers & U.S.C. Survey. The Variation upon the Compass, on the space embraced on this Chart, is from 8° 15’. to 8°. 25’ E. Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1846. By E. & G.W. Blunt, in the Clerk’s office of the District Court, of the Southern District of New York. [inset at upper left, showing Texas Coast from Matagorda Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande; 33 x 18 cm] Continuation of the Coast on a Reduced Scale. [text beneath inset map] Note: The entire Coast from the Brazos de Santiago to Galveston, is clear, and can be approached with safety to within 1-1/2 miles, except at the entrances, where the Breakers always shew. New York, 1861. Lithograph blueback chart of the Gulf of Mexico from the mouth of the Rio Grande to New Orleans; scale: about 12 miles to the inch; neat line to neat line: 62.8 x 99.1 cm; overall sheet size: 66.8 x 102 cm, mounted on heavy blue paper, white cloth selvages with original stitching, rolled as issued, verso with remains of original vendor’s white paper label printed in red and black ([Map] of Texas | G.H. Sweeney | Nautical Store | 133 South St. | New York). A few small, neat pencil notations (by a navigator?) from 1869 to 1872. Very fine, with a few minor spots (mostly on verso). The only copy located by OCLC of this sheet with additions to 1861 is that of the British Library.

     Blueback charts were sold individually, and the buyer could purchase several charts that would include the entire area intended to be navigated. As a matter of safety, these bluebacks were continually updated. See entries 393, 394, and 395 herein for more on the history of these fascinating cartographical artifacts. In his bibliography of Texas, Streeter (1408) lists an 1842 chart of The North Coast of the Gulf of Mexico, from St. Marks to Galveston and comments that it does not show any part of Texas. Streeter continues, mentioning the 1846 publication of the present chart: The chart has the title, St. Marks to Galveston. Sheet II. E. & G.W. Blunt New York. 1846. Additions to 1851, and in the Yale copy is pasted to join the 1844 edition noted above. The copyright date is 1846. It is of course entirely possible that an edition of this chart was published in 1845 or earlier, but if so it has not come to light.” The present sheet is the most desirable one for a Texas collection, since it shows the entire Texas coast in great detail and was the authority at that time. Shown on the chart are soundings, depths, towns, villages, notations of beacons and lighthouses, ferries, bays, waterways (including the Sabine River to Crow’s Ferry and Gaines Ferry), etc.

     Commodore Edwin Ward Moore of the Texas Navy, a legendary figure in Texas history, is credited on the map as an authority upon whom the publishers relied. “The Navy of the Republic of Texas” in The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Vol. 13, No. 1, p. 29:

Soon after Commodore Moore’s return to Texas he was again sent to sea for the purpose of surveying the coast of Texas. Increasing maritime interests rendered this survey very necessary. He briefly describes this labor in a publication directed to the United States naval officials:

From May to November, 1841, the vessels were overhauled and the coast of Texas surveyed by Captain Moore, with the aid of schooners of the Texas Navy; a chart for the entire coast was made by him and published in New York by E. and G. W. Blunt, and in England by the admiralty. It is the only correct chart now in use by of the officers whose name is attached to the published remonstrance to the honorable house of representatives has been in service on the Gulf since it was published in 1842; he has doubtless had occasion to use it, and I can with confidence call on him to attest its accuracy.

The following item concerning the survey is from the Telegraph and Texas Register:

The schooner of War, San Antonio, left Galveston on the 4th inst. for the Sabine Pass, having Com. E.W. Moore and several officers on board, for the purpose of commencing the survey of the coast. Col. G.W. Hockley, was a passenger on board. We are glad to find this important work commenced. The officers of our Navy can not at this season be employed to better advantage than in this survey. They were actively engaged in the discharge of these labors until their recall in October by President Lamar on “account of the alliance entered into between Yucatan and Texas.”

     Handbook of Texas Online:

Edwin Ward Moore (1810-1865), naval officer, was born in Alexandria, Virginia, on July 15, 1810. He attended Alexandria Academy, entered the United States Navy as a midshipman on January 1, 1825, and was promoted to lieutenant in 1835. He was stationed on the Hornet of the West Indian squadron and on the Fairfield of the Mediterranean and West Indian squadrons. In 1835 he was made lieutenant, and in July 1839 he resigned from the Boston to become commander of the Texas Navy. The winter of 1839-1840 Moore spent in New York City enlisting seamen, and in 1840-1841 he sailed off the Mexican coast to hasten peace negotiations between Texas and Mexico. On collapse of the negotiations, he swept the Mexican ships off the Gulf of Mexico, made a de facto alliance with the Yucatán rebels, and captured the town of Tabasco. He then surveyed the Texas coast and made a chart that was later published by the British Admiralty. On September 18, 1841, Moore received orders to guard the Yucatán coast in conformity with the Texas-Yucatán treaty and on December 13, 1841, left Galveston with three ships to join the Yucatán fleet at Sisal. He captured several Mexican vessels and returned to Galveston. Moore was then commissioned by President Sam Houston to blockade the Mexican coast. When funds for the blockade were withheld, Moore, financed by Yucatán, joined to break the Mexican blockade of Yucatán, thereby saving Federalist Yucatecans from hasty peace with Centralist Antonio López de Santa Anna.

By June 25, 1843, the Texas Navy controlled the Gulf. On June 1, 1843, Moore had received Houston’s proclamation accusing him of disobedience and suspending him from the Texas Navy; so Moore returned to Galveston on July 14 and demanded a trial. A joint report of navy committees in the Texas Congress recommended a court-martial to try him for disobedience, contumacy, mutiny, piracy, and murder. In response, Moore published To the People of Texas (1843), a personal vindication and account of the navy. The court found Moore not guilty except on four minor charges, and Congress gave him the right to continue in the navy. After the dissolution of the Texas Navy, Moore spent many years in prosecuting financial claims against Texas. In 1857 Congress awarded him five years’ pay. He was in New York for a time attempting to perfect a machine to revolutionize marine engineering. In 1849 he married Emma (Stockton) Cox of Philadelphia. His quarrel with Sam Houston over the justness of his suspension from the navy continued during Houston’s senatorship. In 1860 Moore returned to Galveston, where he built the Galveston Customhouse. He died in New York City on October 5, 1865. Moore County in the Panhandle is named for him. [See also the Handbook of Texas entry on The Texas Navy.]

     Charles E. Smart, The Makers of Surveying Instruments in America Since 1700 (Troy, New York: Regal Art Press, 1962):

Edmund Blunt was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1799 and died in Brooklyn, New York in 1866. When his father retired in 1822, the store was first taken over by his son-in-law, William Hooker, then by Blunt’s sons, Edmund and George William and the firm became E. & G.W. Blunt. George William Blunt was born in Newburyport in 1802 and died in Brooklyn, in 1878.”


Sold. Hammer: $3,000.00; Price Realized: $3,675.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts


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