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Part 1 (1775 -1865)       Part 2 (1866-1912)       Part 3 (1913-1952)       Part 4 (1953-present)


Brigadier General Andrew Atkinson HumphreysBrigadier General Andrew Atkinson Humphreys

Chief of Engineers

(August 8, 1866-June 30, 1879)

Andrew Humphreys was born November 2, 1810, in Philadelphia, the son and grandson of chiefs of naval construction.   His grandfather designed Old Ironsides.   Young Humphreys graduated from the Military Academy in 1831 and served as an artillery officer in Florida during the Seminole War.   He resigned from the Army in 1836 but accepted an appointment as first lieutenant in the new Corps of Topographical Engineers in 1838.   He led a survey of the Mississippi River Delta and in 1854-61 headed the Office of Pacific Railroad Explorations and Surveys.   His co-written Report Upon the Physics and Hydraulics of the Mississippi River, translated into several languages, became a classic in hydraulic literature.   General Humphreys, a distinguished Civil War army corps commander, became Chief of Engineers in 1866.   He established the Engineer School of Application and oversaw a substantial expansion of the Corps' river and harbor work.   Humphreys held a Harvard degree, published Civil War histories, and was cofounder of the National Academy of Sciences.   He died December 27, 1883, in Washington, D.C.

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Brigadier General Horatio Gouverneur WrightBrigadier General Horatio Gouverneur Wright
(Picture as a Major General)

Chief of Engineers

(June 30, 1879-March 6, 1884)

Born March 6, 1820, in Clinton, Connecticut, Horatio Wright graduated second in the Military Academy class of 1841 and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers.   He superintended construction at Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas, 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, 1846-56.   While assistant to the Chief Engineer of the Army, 1856-61, he was a member of boards to study iron carriages for seacoast guns and the adaptability of the 15-inch gun for ordnance.   He co-wrote a "Report on Fabrication of Iron for Defenses." From Chief Engineer of a division at the first Battle of Bull Run, he advanced to command the famous 6th Army Corps, which saved Washington, D.C., from capture in 1864 and spearheaded the final assault on Petersburg and the pursuit of Lee to Appomattox in 1865.   He commanded the Department of Texas, 1865-66, and served as a member of the Board of Engineers for Fortifications and many river and harbor planning boards until he was appointed Chief of Engineers in 1879.   While Wright was Chief of Engineers, engineer officers began a reservoir system at the headwaters of the Mississippi River and initiated the first substantial federal effort to control the river's lower reaches.   General Wright retired March 6, 1884, and died July 2, 1899, in Washington, D.C.

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Brigadier General John NewtonBrigadier General John Newton

Chief of Engineers

(March 6, 1884-August 27, 1886)

Born August 24, 1823, in Norfolk, Virginia, a city his father represented in Congress for 31 years, John Newton ranked second in the Military Academy class of 1842 and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers.   He taught engineering at the Military Academy (1843-46) and constructed fortifications along the Atlantic coast and Great Lakes (1846-52).   He was a member of a special Gulf coast defense board (1856) and Chief Engineer, Utah Expedition (1858).   Though a fellow Virginian, he did not follow Robert E. Lee but stood firm for the Union.   Newton helped construct Washington defenses and led a brigade at Antietam.   As division commander, he stormed Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg and fought at Gettysburg and the siege of Atlanta.   He commanded the Florida districts in 1864-66.   Returning to the Corps, he oversaw improvements to the waterways around New York City and to the Hudson River above Albany.   He also had charge of New York Harbor defenses until he was appointed Chief of Engineers in 1884.   He is famed for blowing up New York's Hell Gate Rock with 140 tons of dynamite detonated on October 10, 1885.   He retired from the Army in 1886 and served as Commissioner of Public Works, New York City (1886-88), and as President of the Panama Railroad Company (1888-95).   He died May 1, 1895, in New York.

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Brigadier General James Chatham DuaneBrigadier General James Chatham Duane

Chief of Engineers

(October 11, 1886-June 30, 1888)

James Duane was born June 30, 1824, in Schenectady, New York.   His grandfather was a member of the Continental Congress and mayor of New York City.   Duane graduated from Union College in 1844 and from the Military Academy in 1848, where he ranked third in his class.   He taught practical military engineering there (1852-54) during the superintendency of Robert E. Lee.   Serving with the Army's company of sappers, miners, and pontoniers for nine years before the Civil War, he led its celebrated 1,100-mile march to Utah in 1858 and commanded select engineer troops to guard President Lincoln at his inauguration in 1861.   Duane built the first military ponton bridge over the Potomac at Harpers Ferry in 1862, served as Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac (1863-65), and in seven hours in 1864 built the longest ponton bridge of the Civil War (2,170 feet) across the James River.   He commanded at Willets Point, New York (1866-68), and for ten years constructed fortifications along the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire.   He was president of the Board of Engineers in 1884-86.   Appointed Chief of Engineers in 1886, he retired in 1888.   He then became Commissioner of Croton Aqueduct, New York.   He published a paper on the "History of the Bridge Equipage in the United States Army." General Duane died December 8, 1897, in New York City.

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Brigadier General Thomas Lincoln Casey

Chief of Engineers

(July 6, 1888-May 10, 1895)

Thomas Casey was born May 10, 1831, in Sackets Harbor, New York, where his father, Lieutenant Silas Casey (later assault team leader in the battle of Chapultepec in the Mexican War and a general in the Civil War) was then assigned.   Young Casey graduated first in the Military Academy class of 1852 and taught engineering there (1854-59).   During the Civil War he oversaw Maine coastal fortifications, completing the massive Fort Knox on the Penobscot River.   After that war he headed the division in the Office of the Chief of Engineers responsible for engineer troops, equipment, and fortifications.   The Corps' most distinguished builder of monuments and public buildings, Casey headed the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds, District of Columbia, from 1877 to 1881.   He built the State, War, and Navy Department Building, which is now the Old Executive Office Building, and completed the Washington Monument.   The placing of a sturdier foundation under the partially completed Washington Monument (already 173 feet high) was Casey's greatest engineering feat, but his crowning accomplishment was construction of the Library of Congress building--all but completed when he died suddenly on March 25, 1896.   Burial was at the Casey farm in Rhode Island.   General Casey was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Society of the Cincinnati and an officer of the Legion of Honor of France.

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Brigadier General William Price CraighillBrigadier General William Price Craighill

Chief of Engineers

(May 10, 1895-February 1, 1897)

William Craighill was born on July 1, 1833, in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia).   A classmate of Sheridan, Hood, and McPherson, he ranked second in the Military Academy class of 1853 and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers.   After working on several Atlantic coast forts, he taught engineering at the Military Academy in 1859-62.   Another Virginian who stood for the Union, Craighill was division and department engineer during the Civil War and worked on the defenses of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Francisco, and New York.   After that war, he superintended construction of defenses at Baltimore Harbor and Hampton Roads.   He headed the Engineer Office in Baltimore from 1870 to 1895, overseeing river and harbor work in Maryland and parts of Virginia and North Carolina.   When the Corps began to build locks and dams on the Great Kanawha River in West Virginia in 1875, Craighill assumed charge there as well.   He completed the first of the moveable wicket dams built in the United States, after visiting France to study their use.   He became the Corps' first Southeast Division Engineer.   Craighill established the camp for the Yorktown surrender celebration, the first of the sanitary type later adapted to Army camps.   He was a member of the Board of Engineers in 1886-89.   He was appointed Chief of Engineers by President Cleveland in 1895.   He retired two years later and died January 18, 1909, in Charles Town, West Virginia.

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Brigadier General John Moulder WilsonBrigadier General John Moulder Wilson

Chief of Engineers

(February 1, 1897-April 30, 1901)

John Wilson was born October 8, 1837, in Washington, D.C.   He graduated from the Military Academy in 1860 and was commissioned in the Artillery Corps.   He transferred to the Corps of Topographical Engineers in July 1862 and was awarded the Medal of Honor for fighting at Malvern Hill, Virginia, on August 6, 1862.   He joined the Corps of Engineers in 1863 and received three brevets for gallant service in Alabama.   After the Civil War, Wilson worked on Hudson River improvements and drafted plans for the canal around the Cascades of the Columbia River.   He improved the Great Lakes harbors of Oswego, Cleveland, and Toledo.   Wilson headed the divisions of the Chief's office pertaining to military affairs for four years, was in charge of public buildings and grounds in Washington during both Cleveland administrations, and was Superintendent of the Military Academy in 1889-93.   Before his appointment as Chief ofEngineers, he was Northeast Division Engineer.   As Chief of Engineers, he directed the Corps' activities during the Spanish-American War.   He retired April 30, 1901, but remained a prominent figure in the cultural life of Washington until his death there on February 1, 1919.

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Brigadier General Henry M. RobertBrigadier General Henry M. Robert

Chief of Engineers

(April 30, 1901-May 2, 1901)

Born May 2, 1837, in South Carolina, Henry Robert graduated fourth in the Military Academy class of 1857.   After receiving his commission in the Corps of Engineers, he taught at the Military Academy and then explored routes for wagon roads in the West and engaged in fortification work in Puget Sound.   During the Civil War he worked on the defenses of Washington and Philadelphia.   Robert served as Engineer of the Army's Division of the Pacific in 1867-71.   He then spent two years improving rivers in Oregon and Washington and six years developing the harbors of Green Bay and other northern Wisconsin and Michigan ports.   He subsequently improved the harbors of Oswego, Philadelphia, and Long Island Sound and constructed locks and dams on the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers.   As Southwest Division Engineer from 1897 to 1901, Robert studied how to deepen the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River.   Robert was president of the Board of Engineers from 1895 to 1901.   He was made brigadier general on April 30, 1901, and was appointed Chief of Engineers.   He served until May 2, 1901, when he retired from the Army.   He died May 1, 1923, in Hornell, New York.   He became famous for his Pocket Manual of Rules of Order, a compendium of parliamentary law first published in 1876 and better known today as Robert's Rules of Order.

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Brigadier General John W. BarlowBrigadier General John W. Barlow

Chief of Engineers

(May 2, 1901-May 3, 1901)

John Barlow was born in New York City on June 26, 1838, and graduated from the Military Academy in May 1861.   He was first commissioned in the Artillery Corps, but transferred to the Topographical Engineers in July 1862.   He served with the Battalion of Engineers at Gettysburg and as engineer of an army corps in the siege of Atlanta.   He supervised the defenses of Nashville and was brevetted lieutenant colonel for his gallant service there in December 1864.   From 1870 until 1874 he was General Sheridan's Chief Engineer in the Military Division of the Missouri.   During this period he made scientific explorations of the headwaters of the Missouri and Yellowstone.   His detailed reports became guides for settlers.   Barlow improved the harbors and defenses of Long Island Sound from 1875 to 1883, executed harbor improvements in northern Wisconsin and Michigan, and worked on the construction of a canal around Muscle Shoals on the Tennessee River.   He was the senior American member of the international commission that re-marked the disputed boundary with Mexico in 1892-96.   He was subsequently Northwest Division Engineer for four years.   On May 2, 1901, he was commissioned brigadier general and appointed Chief of Engineers.   The next day, May 3, 1901, he retired from the Army after 40 years of service.   He died February 27, 1914, in Jerusalem, Palestine, at the age of 75.

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Brigadier General George Lewis Gillespie, Jr.Brigadier General George Lewis Gillespie, Jr.

Chief of Engineers

(May 3, 1901-January 23, 1904)

George Gillespie, Jr., was born October 7, 1841, in Kingston, Tennessee.   He graduated second in the class of 1862 at the Military Academy and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers.   Another Southerner who remained loyal to the Union, Gillespie joined the Army of the Potomac in September 1862.   He commanded two companies of the engineer battalion which built fortifications and ponton bridges throughout the Virginia campaigns until the Appomattox surrender.   He received the Medal of Honor for carrying dispatches through enemy lines under withering fire to General Sheridan at Cold Harbor, Virginia.   He was later Sheridan's Chief Engineer in the Army of the Shenandoah and the Military Division of the Gulf.   After the Civil War Gillespie successively supervised the improvement of harbors at Cleveland, Chicago, Boston, and New York.   He initiated construction of the canal at the Cascades of the Columbia River and built the famous lighthouse on Tillamook Rock off the Oregon coast.   Gillespie also served on the Board of Engineers and for six years as president of the Mississippi River Commission.   He commanded the Army's Department of the East in 1898.   While Chief of Engineers, he was acting Secretary of War in August 1901.   He had charge of ceremonies at President McKinley's funeral and at the laying of the cornerstone of the War College Building in 1903.   He served as Army Assistant Chief of Staff in 1904-05 with the rank of major general.   General Gillespie retired June 15, 1905, and died September 27, 1913, in Saratoga Springs, New York.

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Brigadier General Alexander MackenzieBrigadier General Alexander Mackenzie

Chief of Engineers

(January 23, 1904-May 25, 1908)

Born May 25, 1844, in Potosi, Wisconsin, Alexander Mackenzie graduated from the Military Academy in 1864.   Commissioned in the Corps of Engineers, he served with the Union Army in Arkansas in 1864-65.   Mackenzie spent six years commanding a company of engineer troops at Willets Point, New York, that experimented in the use of torpedoes in coastal defense.   In 1879 he began a 16-year stint as Rock Island District Engineer.   He built 100 miles of wing dams on the upper Mississippi River and produced a 4�-foot channel between St. Paul and the mouth of the Missouri River.   Called to Washington in 1895, he became Assistant to the Chief of Engineers in charge of all matters relating to river and harbor improvements.   He was a member of the general staff corps and War College Board when appointed Chief of Engineers.   Retired May 25, 1908, as a major general, he was recalled to active duty in 1917 at age 73 as Northwest Division Engineer serving again in Rock Island, Illinois.   General Mackenzie died March 21, 1921, in Washington, D.C.

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Brigadier General William Louis MarshallBrigadier General William Louis Marshall

Chief of Engineers

(July 2, 1908-June 11, 1910)

William Marshall was born June 11, 1846, in Washington, Kentucky, a scion of the family of Chief Justice John Marshall.   At age 16 he enlisted in the 10th Kentucky Cavalry, Union Army.   He graduated from the Military Academy in 1868 and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers.   Accompanying Lieutenant George Wheeler's Expedition (1872-76), Marshall covered thousands of miles on foot and horseback and discovered Marshall Pass in central Colorado.   He oversaw improvements on the lower Mississippi River near Vicksburg and on the Fox River canal system in Wisconsin.   As Chicago District Engineer from 1888 to 1899, he planned and began to build the Illinois and Mississippi Canal.   Marshall made innovative use of concrete masonry and developed original and cost-saving methods of lock canal construction.   Stationed at New York (1900-08), his genius further expressed itself on the Ambrose Channel project and in standardizing fortifications construction methods.   He retired June 11, 1910, but his engineering reputation earned a special appointment from President Taft as consulting engineer to the Secretary of the Interior on hydroelectric power projects.   General Marshall died July 2, 1920, in Washington, D.C.

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Brigadier General William Herbert BixbyBrigadier General William Herbert Bixby

Chief of Engineers

(June 12, 1910-August 11, 1913)

Born December 27, 1849, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, William Bixby graduated first in the Military Academy class of 1873 and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers.   After serving with the engineer battalion at Willets Point and as Assistant Professor of Engineering at the Military Academy, Bixby graduated with honors from the French Ecole des ponts et chaussées.   He received the Order, Legion of Honor, for assisting French Army maneuvers.   Bixby headed the Wilmington, North Carolina, District from 1884 to 1891.   He oversaw improvements on the Cape Fear River, modernized the area's coastal forts, and responded to the earthquake that hit Charleston, South Carolina, in 1886.   Bixby served next as District Engineer in Newport, Rhode Island.   From 1897 to 1902 he oversaw improvements on the Ohio River and its tributaries from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati.   After two years in charge of the Detroit District, he became Chicago District Engineer and Northwest Division Engineer.   Bixby was president of the Mississippi River Commission in 1908-10 and 1917-18.   As Chief of Engineers, he oversaw the raising of the battleship Maine.   He retired August 11, 1913, but was recalled to service in 1917 as Western Division Engineer.   He died September 29, 1928, in Washington, D.C.

                     

Part 1 (1775 -1865)       Part 2 (1866-1912)       Part 3 (1913-1952)       Part 4 (1953-present)

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