Saturday, March 16, 2013
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was formally established on March 16, 1802, under President Thomas Jefferson, to found and operate the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY. The Corps originated in 1775 when the Continental Congress organized an army that included a chief engineer and two assistants serving General George Washington. The Corps later built fortifications at Bunker Hill near Boston. It largely consisted of French subjects hired from the service of Louis XVI. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army occupied West Point as a strategic location where the Hudson River forms an unusual S-curve. Military stores and ordnance remained after the war, so Army "cadets" were trained there in artillery and engineering studies. The early Academy was haphazard: cadets ranged in age from 10 to 37, attending for wildly varying time periods. Pictured: West Point and the Hudson River.