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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

An engineering unit within the United States Army, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers traces its origins back to the American Revolution. In June 1775, the Continental Congress included provisions for a chief engineer and two assistants in legislation creating the Continental Army. In 1779, Congress organized companies of engineers, sappers, and miners into the Corps of Engineers. At the end of the Revolution, the Corps of Engineers mustered out of service; it would not be until 1794 when Congress established another engineering corps, the Corps of Artillerists and Engineers. Congress established the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1802, under provisions of the Military Peace Establishment Act. Expected by Congress to engage in both military and civilian projects, the Corps of Engineers spent the first half of the nineteenth century constructing and repairing land and coastal fortifications, surveying and building roads and canals, and clearing rivers and streams of impediments to navigation. During the Civil War, it contributed to the Union war effort by constructing railroads and bridges, clearing obstacles, and building field fortifications.

United States Army Corps of Engineers, History of the US Army Corps of Engineers (Alexandra, VA: Office of History, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1998), 2-5, 17-21; "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: A Brief History," US Army Corps of Engineers U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters Website, accessed 30 July 2020,; "An Act Fixing the Military Peace Establishment of the United States," 16 March 1802, Statutes at Large of the United States 2 (1845):137.