In 1853, Harris took a job as a topographer for the North Pennsylvania Rail Road Company, which was under construction. He left this job after a year, becoming an astronomer for the U.S. Coast Survey. Upon joining the Coast Survey, Harris worked at Station Yard, Philadelphia, in the late fall of 1854 where he was engaged in checking earlier triangulation and astronomic work. By mid-November, this work was completed; Harris was assigned to the Coast Survey vessel Phoenix in the Mississippi Sound. His older brother Stephen was a Sub-assistant on the Survey, and it seems that sibling rivalry played a significant role in his work. Although he displayed many quirks of personality, Joseph Harris was meticulous in his work; his autobiography provides, among other things, an idea of Coast Survey shipboard life in the 1850s.
The trip south was not without its hardships: Harris suffered from diarrhea on the Mississippi River and within a few days of his arrival at New Orleans, he contracted typhoid fever, which nearly killed him. Luckily, he was able to stay with an uncle who was a physician, and who nursed him back to health. After a month in bed, Harris proceeded to the Phoenix, then at Mobile, Alabama, arriving in January 1855. Stephen Harris was put in command of the Phoenix in May. The work of the surveyors was made difficult by the large populations of insects—everything from mosquitoes to flying cockroaches—that inhabited the coastal swamps and marshes, by the dearth of clean water, by the arrest of some of the crew after a brawl, and by hurricanes, all of which are described in Harris' autobiography.
During his year on the Phoenix, Harris and his crew performed triangulation along the coast from Pascagoula, Mississippi, to the entrance to Lake Pontchartrain, a distance of about sixty miles (100 km). With the arrival of winter, the commanders left the Phoenix; when the weather turned colder, Harris was required to lay up the vessel for the remainder of the winter. He returned to Coast Survey headquarters to complete some drafting and other engineering work, and resigned from the Survey in the Spring of 1856.
Harris took a similar position with the Kentucky Geological Survey, but he resigned after one month in July 1856 and returned to the Gulf of Mexico to complete his earlier work. The following March, Harris was hired as an astronomer for the Northwest Boundary Survey.
Read more about this topic: Joseph Smith Harris
Other articles related to "coast, coast survey, surveys, survey":
... Indies in 1842-43, then on the frigate Macedonian off the coast of Africa in 1843-44, before attending the Philadelphia Naval School in 1844-45 ... July 2, 1845, Rhind served on the brig Washington on the Coast Survey in 1845-46, which was then attached the Home Squadron on the coast of Mexico during the Mexican–American War, being present at Alvarado ... Rhind served on the steamer Water Witch in 1848, before rejoining the Coast Survey aboard the schooner Ewing on a voyage to the coast of California in 1849-50 ...
... to the United States, where in 1848 he entered the government Coast Survey ... and field work of the tidal department of the Coast Survey ... Academy of Sciences and wrote various contributions to the Coast Survey reports, to Benjamin Silliman's American Journal of Science, and to the Proceedings of the ...
... In United States statutory authority for hydrographic surveys of territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) lies with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ... NOAA hydrographic surveys are conducted by the National Ocean Service, a uniformed corps within NOAA and a fleet of survey vessels based at two major centers ... The organic survey assets are supplemented by other agencies and contract surveys in order to survey the large areas within its responsibility ...
... this time as a civilian hydrographic inspector in the Coast Survey ... The Hydrographic Inspector was in charge of the charting and marine survey work, and that office was traditionally held by a naval officer ... During the Civil War, the role of the Coast survey included preparing charts and other material to help Naval ships execute the blockade of Southern ports (the strategy known as the "Anaconda Plan") ...
Famous quotes containing the words survey and/or coast:
“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.”
—Isaac Watts (16741748)
“Frequently also some fair-weather finery ripped off a vessel by a storm near the coast was nailed up against an outhouse. I saw fastened to a shed near the lighthouse a long new sign with the words ANGLO SAXON on it in large gilt letters, as if it were a useless part which the ship could afford to lose, or which the sailors had discharged at the same time with the pilot. But it interested somewhat as if it had been a part of the Argo, clipped off in passing through the Symplegades.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)