Chesapeake Bay, the greatest inlet in the Atlantic coast of the United States. It enters Virginia between Cape Charles and Cape Henry, and extends into Maryland. Its length, following the curve, is about 200 m.; its breadth varies from 4 to 40 m. There is sufficient depth of water for the largest ships to ascend the main bay almost to the mouth of the Susquehanna. The Chesapeake is remarkable for the vast number of arms or estuaries, of various dimensions and of irregular shapes, which mark the line of its shores. Some of these serve as outlets to the rivers of Virginia and Maryland, while others are fed by no permanent streams, but are mere indentations in the coast. Southwest of Cape Henry the rivers and sounds of the Atlantic coast are shallow, and there are few good harbors; but the Chesapeake forms the first of a series of deep and commodious bays which extend along the coast, at no great distance from one another, from Virginia to the N. E. extremity of the United States.