United States Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters
On March 11, 1779, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers was established by Congress to help plan, design and build facilities for the U.S. Army. At that time, the Corps of included civilian workers and members of the Continental Army, with a handful of French officers serving in advisory roles. Today, the Corps of Engineers echoes that cooperation between civilians and soldiers. The Corps of Engineers played a major role in the Revolutionary War and other conflicts, but it is best known for its support to vital issues related to flood control and infrastructure. Today the Corps of Engineers is made up of more than 35,000 civilian and enlisted personnel with offices throughout the United States, including the Washington DC headquarters building.
Backstory and Context
The Army Corps of Engineers played a significant role in the American Civil War and many of the leading officers were either engineers or West Point graduates. Engineers constructed railroads and bridges during the war and also worked to create other vital resources that defended cities and maintained lines of supply and communication.
Along with building many structures and improving transportation, the Corps of Engineers is responsible for navigation and flood control of the nation's river systems. Army engineers have supported construction projects in Afghanistan and Iraq along with the reconstruction of American cities in the wake of disasters, such as the effort to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.