Maury, Matthew Fontaine

Matthew Fontaine Maury

1806-1873. Naval officer and oceanographer. Maury joined the US Navy in 1825, became superintendent of the Navy's Hydrographic Office in 1839, and in 1842 became the superintendent of the Depot of Charts and Instruments. In 1844 he became the first superintendent of the Naval Observatory. His analysis of thousands of logs and reports let him create pilot charts and sailing directions for ocean navigators, allowing them to choose the best wind and current. His main publication was in 1855, The Physical Geography of the Sea. A Virginian, during the Civil War he joined the Confederacy, and was in charge of all coast defenses. After a pardon for Confederate leaders in 1868, he returned to become professor of meteorology at Virginia Military Institute.