A407 - A survey of Mississippi Sound from Chandeleur island to Lake Ponchartrain
This fascinating survey by George Gauld was made in 1768 covers the area from modern day Chandeleur Island (now Breton National Wildlife Refuge) to Lake Ponchartrainand. Shown on the coast of the mainland is the Bay of Biloxi and Pascagoula River in the East and the town of New Orleans, on the Mississippi river in the West. Information provided by Gauld on it was later incorporated into his 1778 'Plan of the coast of West Florida and Loisiana, including the Mississippi from it's Entrances up as high as the River Yazous (see Heritage Charts A406).
- George Gauld
- h46" x w84.5"
All of the islands along this coast are carefully noted and drawn and and the survey includes copious soundings, in fathoms, through the prolifcation of islands and sand banks which litter this part of the coast.
In typical style, Gauld includes several hand written notes describing topographic and hydrographic features as a guide to navigation. He even describes the colour of the clay on the sea floor at certain points. Much of the information provided here by Gauld was later incorporated into his 1778 'Plan of the coast of West Florida and Loisiana, including the Mississippi from it's Entrances up as high as the River Yazous (see Heritage Charts A406).
Gauld's survey, although simple, represents some of the most accurate surveying seen at the time. According to William Faden's 'Notes' to accompany his charts: 'With reſpect to our Engliſh publications prior to the year 1763 , we can ſay but little : they were only copied at ſecond hand from bad authorities ; and the Right Hon . the Lords Commiſſioners of the Admiralty being ſenſible of this , they reſolved to have an authentic ſurvey made of all our then newly acquired Dominions in that country. For this purpoſe Mr. George Gauld was recommended and appointed..'
In 1764 Gauld sailed for Jamaica aboard HMS Tartar to join the Fleet under the command of Sir William Burnaby. Gauld then accompanied Burnaby to Penſacola, the intended new capital of Weſt Florida, where they arrived in the month of Auguſt. According to William Faden  'From that time the ſurveys of the Coaſts and Harbours of Weſt Florida , the great Rivers Miſſiſſippi , Mobile , & c . and the Harbours on the weſt coaſt of Eaſt Florida , were carried on by Mr. Gauld with great aſſiduity and attention,' till the latter end of the year 1771.
This particular section of his greater survey was all part of an attempt to plot a navigable route from the gulf through to the River Mississippi, north of New Orleans and the delta which was still very much under Spanish influence. Indeed it was Lake Ponchartrain which would see the start of Gauld's and the British survey.
The British were especially concerned with surveying all of the land up the Mississippi River which would allow them to, eventually, link-up with their territories in the North and East. What should not be overlooked is the prevalent notion that land ownership and speculation was never far from the goal. With the onset of political unrest throughout the early to mid-70s and the outbreak of hostilities in 1776 Gauld's job of completing the general survey of the region grew more perilous with increased hostility from American.
It had been Gauld's intention, having completed the initial part of his survey as far as the Mississippi to return to the East Coast of the Florida peninsular, from Cayo largo up to Cape Canaveral, but from 1776 the American Privateers were so numerous on that part of the coast, that no work of the kind could with any degree of safety or propriety could be carried on there. From that date onwards Gauld 'reſolved firſt to complere his ſurveys to the weſtward on the Gulph of Mexico ; and then took an opportunity in 1777 , of continuing the courſe of that Coaſt for near a hundred Leagues to the weſtward of the great river Miſſiſſippi , which he found to be very different from any thing that has hitherto been publiſhed' .
In 1778, with American's 'fculking' [Faden] around New Orleans, Gauld's valued and trusted assistant Lieutenant John Payne was accosted and killed after being hailed by a man call Pickles, who was known to Payne, in a vessel on Lake Ponchartrain showing British colours only to see the British flag struck and an American flag raised as the ships came along-side.
 'An Account of The Surveys of Florida, &c. with Directions for Sailing from Jamaica or the West Indies, by the West End of Cuba, and through the Gulph of Florida'.Published by W. Faden; to be sold by him; and by Messrs. Mount and Page, 1790. 27 pages. 1790. https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=jq1bAAAAQAAJ&pg=GBS.PP5
- A survey of Mississippi Sound from Chandeleur island to Lake Ponchartrain