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Karen Palumbo

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Blogs by Karen Palumbo

On This Day 3/11/1779
3/8/2011 7:19:34 PM

Congress establishes the United States Army Corps of Engineers


Congress establishes the United States Army Corps of Engineers to help plan, design, and prepare environmental and structural facilities for the United States Army. Made up of civilian workers, members of the Continental Army and French Officers, the United States Army Corps of Engineers played an essential role in the critical Revolutionary War battles at the "Battle of Bunker Hill", the "Battle of Saratoga", and the "Battle of Yorktown".

The members of the United States Army Corps of Engineers who had joined at the time of its founding in 1779 left the Army with their fellow veterans at the end of the "American Revolution".

In 1794, Congress created a Corps of Artillerists and Engineers to serve the same purpose under the new federal government. The United States Corps of Engineers itself was re-established as an enduring division of the federal government in 1802.

Upon the re-establishment, the United States Corps began its chief task of creating and maintaining military fortifications. These responsibilities increased in urgency as the new United States preparedfor a second war with GreatBritain in the years before 1812.

The United States Corps greatest contribution during this era was to the defense of New York Harbor, the fortifications its built not only persuaded British Naval commanders to stay away from the city during the "War of 1812", but later served as the foundations for the Statue of Liberty.

In subsequent years, the United States Army Corps of Engineers evolved from providing services for the military to helping map out the unchartered territories that would become the western United States. Beginning in 1824, the United States Corps also took responsibility for navigation and flood control of the nation's river systems.

Today, the United States Army Corps of Engineers is made up of more than thirty-five thousand civilian and enlisted men and women. In recent years, the United States Corps has worked on rebuilding projects in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the reconstruction of the city of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.



(K) (HST)


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