Archive for March, 2013

Engineer Moment In History – March 2013

The Army Corp Engineers & West Point Connection
Provided by the U.S. Army Engineer School Historian’s Office                                                                                                     

Hudson River Valley West Point, NY

United States Military Academy West Point. West Point History. 28 February 2013. http://www.usma.edu/wphistory/SitePages/Home.aspx

During the American Revolutionary War, General George Washington and other officers recognized the need for well-trained Soldiers. On 9 June 1778 the Corps of Engineers moved to West Point, and the Chief of Engineers Louis Duportail was tasked in training its Sappers and Miners while being designated as the School of Engineering; although by the end of the war and the Army’s reduction the school closed. However in 1794 with the establishment of the Regiments of Artillerists and Engineers, the school was reopened and was constituted as a School of Application. In 1798 the school continued to train until the facilities were destroyed by fire. By 1801 the recently elected President Thomas Jefferson and Congress realized that they needed a permanent program and facility to educate Army Engineers. They also did not want the U.S. Army to be dependent on French and foreign born Engineer officers. Consequently, on 16 March 1802, Congress authorized the creation of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and constituted as the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. As the nation’s first Engineering School, the Military Academy continued to maintain its status in the Corp of Engineers until 1866. During that time, the Academy remained the nation’s foremost engineering school until other collegiate institutions begin to emerge such as Rensselaer School in 1825, University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1825 and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1861. Throughout the early nineteenth century, some of the most distinguished Army Generals have graced the halls of West Point and received commissions as Engineer officers, including Robert E. Lee, George Meade, Joseph Johnston, Gouverneur Warren, Joseph Totten, and Alexander Humphries.

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