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Chittenden, Hiram Martin (25 October 1858–09 October 1917), historian and civil engineer, was born in Cattaraugas County, New York, the son of William Chittenden and Mary Wheeler, farmers. Chittenden was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy, but he spent two terms at Cornell University in 1879–1880 to broaden his education before entering West Point in the spring of 1880. He graduated from the military academy in 1884, ranked third in a class of thirty-seven cadets, a position that earned him an assignment in the Corps of Engineers. After marrying Nettie Parker later that year (a union that produced three children), Chittenden spent the next three years in postgraduate study at the Engineer School of Application in New York City. Then, after a year of mapping and surveying for the Department of the Platte, he was transferred to river and harbor work on the Missouri and Ohio rivers, where he remained until 1896....

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Wheeler, George Montague (09 October 1842–03 May 1905), army geographer, was born in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, the son of John Wheeler and Miriam P. Daniels. Two of his brothers moved to Colorado, and although George remained in Massachusetts, he was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy as the first cadet from Colorado. He graduated sixth in the class of 1866 and accepted a commission in the Corps of Engineers....