"Chart of Suisun & Vallejo Bays with the Confluence of the Rivers Sacramento and San Joaquin California", Ringgold, Cadwalader
Subject: Northern California
Period: 1851 (dated)
Color: Black & White
30.3 x 20.3 inches
77 x 51.6 cm
This uncommon chart presents the rivers and bays from Benicia to Suisun City, and is filled with navigational aids including soundings, hazards and currents. Benicia was founded shortly before this chart was issued in 1847, the first town in California founded by Anglo-Americans. Another city named New York of the Pacific (present-day Pittsburg) is shown opposite Gwin Island. Completing the chart are three profile views of Benecia, Tongue Shoal, and the entrance to Sacramento River at bottom.
Naval Commander Ringgold was charged with producing the first detailed survey of the region - a task that became especially important with the recent discovery of gold. Ringgold received financial support from local citizens to expand the scope of his charge and reduce the risks of navigation. His groundbreaking work included especially detailed surveys along the rivers that also showed new settlements. Ringgold sought publication of his work by the federal government, but during a period of intense rivalry between the Coast Survey and Navy, Senator Jefferson Davis questioned the accuracy of Ringgold’s survey and his request was denied. As a result, Ringgold’s charts and report were privately printed. For an excellent summary of the importance of Ringgold’s work during the Gold Rush, click here.
Issued folding on a bright sheet with some faint scattered foxing. There are several short fold separations along the sheet edges that are confined to the blank margins.