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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.


  • Lt. Col. James A. DeLapp, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander, leads Nashville Mayor Karl Dean on a tour of the work platform
  • US Army Corps of Engineers logo

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was officially established on March 16, 1802 when Congress established a new military academy at West Point. The Corps of Engineers took a leading role in coastal batteries and military installations in the next decade, and during the War of 1812, the Corps fortified many of the coastal cities. The Corps of Engineers were so effective in fortifying New York Harbor that the British navy decided to attack other American cities. Some of the fortifications created by the Army Corps of Engineers were later repurposed, including the island that is now home to the Statue of Liberty.

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. 

"U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: A Brief History" Accessed December 5, 2014. http://www.usace.army.mil/About/History/BriefHistoryoftheCorps/Beginnings.aspx "Congress establishes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers" History.com. Accessed December 5, 2014. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/congress-establishes-the-us-army-corps-of-engineers