A403 - A Plan of the Bays of Pensacola and Mobile
An historic Plan of two of the most important British holdings (in what was then) West Florida ever made, produced by surveyor George Gauld. It depicts the towns and bays of Pensacola (FL) and Mobile (AL) with the sea coasts and country adjacent.
- George Gauld
- h32.5" x w45.5"
The survey for the right-hand section of this plan, showing Pensacola was the first of the surveys which went toward the compilation of this chart. It was in fact the very first survey the newly appointed George Gauld undertook upon his arrival in West Florida in August 1764. That first survey was updated over the years and also formed the basis for J. F. W. Des Barres's 'A Chart of the Bay and Harbour of Pensacola', his Atlantic Neptune folio. The left-hand section of the plan is of Mobile Bay, the survey for which was completed around May 1768.
Gauld composed this plan from both of those initial surveys. That he completed his original survey of the Bay of Pensacola in two months and did such a good job, the Governor, on submission of the survey to their Lordships at the Admiralty stated that Gauld 'is ever indefatigable in his profession, and in stolen hours has done this Public Benefit. He is by far the superior mathematical Genius among those who have come to this country..'
Present on the part of this chart which covers the Bay of Pensacola are some important features, such as significant structures or land-marks to aid navigation such as the leading-mark over the bar of 'Reid's tree', which is a mile to the north of the Red Sandy Cliffs . Gauld also, typically, includes small notes on the survey to further elaborate or inform.
It wasn't until the 27th of February 1768 that Gauld started his survey for the second part of this chart, beginning with the lower part of Mobile Bay. The first task of which was to delineating at least two fixed points ashore to ensure a corresponding degree of accuracy in the plane perspective (triangulation). Having noted his two points of reference on shore, Dauphin Island the end of Mobile Point, he could then record accurately all offshore information. On Dauphin island, he notes Lieutenant Governor Montfort Browne's property on the north shore near what is now Cedar Point and also a 'Guard House' which was in fact an old French Post on the south shore.
In his General Descriptions which accompanied his work, Gauld noted 'large hillocks of Oyster Shells' being found near the houses on the north shore. To the west end of the Island he notes a 'Remarkable single tree'. During this time The Hawke anchored between Dauphin Island and Great Pelican Island which Gauld, typically, commemorated by naming 'Hawkes Bay'.
A quick study of any of Gauld's work in the Gulf sees him retain many of the existing place names. It is a credible mark of Gauld's work that he retained much of the known nomenclature of previous French explorers and surveyors, indicating that he had himself studies those works in preparation for his own survey work.
On the 20th March Gauld and his men returned to Pensacola for replenishment of stores . By the 1st of April Gauld was back in Mobile bay where he work up the east shore of the bay ascending the Bon secour River, noting several estates and dwellings up the coast including Daniel Ward's, Elias Durnford's  and Edmund Rush Wegg's plantation. He shows Oyster Bay but rather oddly does not name it.
Further on up the coast Gauld notes the 'highest Red Cliff' at what is now Fairhope and is known today as Seacliff, also Yellow Cliff which is near modern day Daphne.
His depiction of the Western shore notes the low and marshy nature of the land. He marks the residences of Francis and Mont Louis, once the residence of the Chevalier Montault de Monberaut. 'Buck' river which is today known as 'Deer' river is shown, although he did not survey the river itself.
Gauld marks several other properties on his way up to the settlement of Mobile itself which he described as being 'pretty regular, of an oblong figure, on the West Bank of the River where it enters the Bay'. He went on to state that because of its location close to the marshes and lagoons at the head of the bay it's inhabitants were subject to 'Fevers and Agues in the Hot Seasons'. Mobile had, after the British accession in 1763, seen most of its wealthier French inhabitants leave although some had remained along with a few plantation owners. The fur and skins trade upon which Mobile had grown, still amounted to approximately fifteen thousand pounds annually.
By the 1st of May Gauld had finished his survey of Mobile and he and his survey team were back in Pensacola by the 9th May. Over the next 17 years the town was to become Gauld''s home where he became a leading member of the town's General assembly who's duties which he undertook willingly when not engaged upon his surveying duties.
His survey of Pensacola was the only one of Gauld's charts ever to be published during his lifetime.
 See Heritage Charts A402.
 This is a tribute to Robert Reid, Master of HMS tartar which was the ship which brought Gauld to Pensacola in the first place.
 This is not dissimilar to the hillocks of turtle shells found on the East coast of Florida at New Symrna (see Heritage Charts A408). Something which Gauld, in his General Descriptions which accompanied his work around West Florida noted 'large hillocks of Oyster Shells' being found on raised ground where native Indians had encampments.
 This included 936 pounds of bread, 224 pieces of pork, 168 of beef, 125 pounds of butter and 8 bushels of pease.
 Durnford was an engineer appointed to the region as Gauld's military counterpart.
- A Plan of the Bays of Pensacola and Mobile