This episode of "Cavalcade Of America" dealt with a naval officer whose work survives to this day, but most Americans never hear of him. Matthew Fontane Maury (Lamont Johnson) was the man who put oceanography on the map literally. He set up the first intensive studies of the various currents of the seas and oceans that were made in the period from 1830 - 1860. Benjamin Franklin actually had started this when he mapped the Gulf Stream, but most people who studied currents were sea captains, and they tended to keep the information close to the vest for commercial advantage reasons. Maury was the first to open the information up to anyone who could read his maps and charts.
He served two countries actually. A Southerner, Maury resigned his post in the U.S. Navy in 1861, and joined the Confederacy. His expertise on naval matters was then put to use in the Confederate Navy. Surviving the Civil War, he tried to set up a Confederate colony in Maximillian's Mexico, returned to a job as a teacher at the Virginia Military Academy , and died in 1873.
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