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Abbot, Henry Larcom (13 August 1831–01 October 1927), Union soldier and engineer, was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Hale Abbot and Fanny Ellingwood. Abbot’s father, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, was an educator and school principal. From 1850 to 1854 Abbot attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating second in his class. As a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, Abbot served first in the Office of Pacific Railroad Explorations and Surveys in Washington, D.C., and then in 1855 in California and Oregon surveying a railroad route....

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Abert, John James (17 September 1788–27 January 1863), army engineer, was born in Frederick City, Maryland, the son of John Abert and Margarita Meng. His father is said to have emigrated to America as a soldier with the Comte de Rochambeau in 1780. He entered the fledgling U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1808, graduating in 1811. He married Ellen Matlack Stretch in 1812; they had six children. After resigning from the army, Abert was admitted to the District of Columbia bar in 1813 and the Ohio bar in 1814. Abert served his country as a private soldier in the District of Columbia Militia during the War of 1812, fighting in such engagements as the battle of Bladensburg, Maryland, on 24 August 1814....

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Babcock, Orville Elias (25 December 1835–02 June 1884), soldier, engineer, and presidential secretary, was born in Franklin, Vermont, the son of Elias Babcock, Jr., and Clara Olmstead. Graduating third in his class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1861, he was commissioned a second lieutenant of engineers. During the first year of the Civil War he gained promotion to first lieutenant, serving successively in the Department of Pennsylvania and the Department of the Shenandoah. He was then transferred to the Army of the Potomac, where he served on the staff of ...

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Bailey, Joseph (06 May 1825–26 March 1867), military engineer, was born probably in Pennsville, Ohio, and moved to Illinois as a child. His parents’ names and occupations are unknown. He studied civil engineering and in 1846 married Mary Spaulding. They had one daughter. In 1847 he relocated to Kilbourn City, Wisconsin, where he became a successful lumberman and engineer....

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John G. Barnard. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1641).

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Barnard, John Gross (19 May 1815–14 May 1882), soldier, engineer, and scientist, was born in Sheffield, Massachusetts, the son of Robert Foster Barnard and Augusta Roberta Porter. He was the younger brother of the distinguished educator Frederick Augustus Barnard, president and chancellor of the University of Mississippi and president of Columbia College (now Columbia University) in New York City. Barnard graduated second in his 1833 class of the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. He married Jane Elizabeth Brand, who died in 1853. He married Anna E. Hall Boyd in 1860....

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Bernard, Simon (26 April 1779–05 September 1839), military engineer, was born in Dôle, in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France, the son of an artisan. His parents’ names are unknown. Although extremely poor, Bernard managed with the aid of a local priest to enter the École Central des Travaux Publics (soon renamed the École Polytechnique) in Paris, the basic school to train candidates for the technical branches of the French army. Graduating second in his class in 1797, he joined the Army of the Rhine, and for the next seventeen years he performed ably as an officer of engineers. He earned the notice of Emperor Napoleon I for a reconnaissance before the battle of Austerlitz in 1805, engaged in road building and counter-guerrilla operations in Dalmatia, and supervised the fortification of Antwerp. In 1809 he married Maria Anna von Lerchenfeld, with whom he had an unknown number of children. In 1813 Bernard was appointed an aide-de-camp to the emperor, and the following year he rose to ...

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Pamela Scott and Martin K. Gordon

Casey, Thomas Lincoln (10 May 1831–25 March 1896), military engineer, was born at the Madison Barracks, Sackett’s Harbor, New York, the son of General Silas Casey and Abby Sophia (maiden name unknown). The Caseys’ three sons all became army or navy officers, and their two daughters married army officers....

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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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Comstock, Cyrus Ballou (03 February 1831–29 May 1910), military engineer, was born in West Wrentham, Massachusetts, the son of Nathan Comstock and Betsey Cook. As a boy Comstock developed an interest in surveys after observing a railroad survey and a party from the Coast Survey, and he served as a rodman and leveler for two Massachusetts railroads. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1851 and graduated in 1855 at the top of his class. Following graduation Comstock supervised fortification construction in Florida and Maryland. From 1859 until July 1861 he served as assistant professor of natural and experimental philosophy at the Military Academy....

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Cone, Hutchinson Ingham (26 April 1871–12 February 1941), naval engineer and naval officer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Daniel Newnan Cone and Annette Ingham. The Cone family home was in the country near Lake City, Florida, and his early training and education were at East Florida Military and Agricultural College, from which he graduated in 1889. In September 1890 Cone was appointed a naval cadet at the U.S. Naval Academy. During his four-year course at the Naval Academy, he was vice president of his class, and he opted for training as an engineer cadet his senior year. After graduation from the academy in June 1894, Cone served as a passed engineer cadet on the USS ...

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De Brahm, William Gerard (20 August 1718–03 July 1799?), surveyor-cartographer and military engineer, was born in Koblenz, Germany, the son of Johann Phillip von Brahm, court musician to the elector of Triers, and Johannetta Simonet. A member of the lesser nobility, De Brahm secured a broad education that included exposure to the burgeoning experimental sciences of his day. After attaining the rank of captain engineer in Charles VII’s imperial army, De Brahm married and renounced the Roman Catholic faith. Forced to resign his army commission because of his renunciation, he and his bride, Wilhelmina de Ger, found themselves nearly destitute....

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Derby, George Horatio (03 April 1823–15 May 1861), soldier and literary humorist, was born in Dedham, Massachusetts, the son of John Barton Derby and Mary Townsend. Derby’s father, a sometime lawyer and eccentric poet, abandoned his family in 1824, not long after George’s birth. Derby entered West Point in 1842. There his practical jokes and comic drawings earned him both a number of demerits and the nickname “Squibob,” one of the two chief pseudonyms with which he later signed his humorous writings. Derby graduated in 1846, seventh in a class of fifty-nine that included ...

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Ericsson, John (31 July 1803–08 March 1889), inventor and engineer, was born in Langbanshyttan, province of Wermland, Sweden, the son of Olof Ericsson, a mine proprietor and inspector, and Brita Sophia Yngstrom. His earliest education was instruction by his parents and private tutors. John often spent his days drawing and building models of the machinery in his father’s mine. His father was well educated, but John’s strong character traits were attributed to the influence of his mother. Sweden’s war with Russia ruined John’s father financially, but he was able to secure a position as an inspector on a canal project and to obtain appointments for his two sons as cadets in the Corps of Mechanical Engineers. Thus at age thirteen John began his first formal education, and his natural aptitudes for mechanical drawing and solving engineering problems were encouraged and developed....

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Foster, John Gray (27 May 1823–02 September 1874), soldier and engineer, was born in Whitefield Coos County, New Hampshire, the son of Perley Foster and Mary Gray. When Foster was very young, his family moved to Nashua, New Hampshire, where his father was major of the Nashua Light Artillery. Foster graduated fourth in his West Point class of 1846 and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. In 1851 he married Mary Moale (or Mole), with whom he had one child. After Mary’s death in 1871, he married Anna Johnson in 1872; the number of their children, if any, is unknown....

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William B. Franklin Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-3795).

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Franklin, William Buel (27 February 1823–08 March 1903), soldier and engineer, was born in York, Pennsylvania, the son of Walter S. Franklin, a clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Sarah Buel. As a young man Franklin showed great promise as an engineer and a soldier. He gained admission to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point at the age of sixteen and graduated four years later first in the class of 1843, whose members included ...

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Gaillard, David Du Bose (04 September 1859–05 December 1913), soldier and engineer, was born in Fulton, Sumter County, South Carolina, the son of Samuel Isaac Gaillard (pronounced Ge- yard), a planter, and Susan Richardson Du Bose. He received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy in 1880. His high standing in the graduating class of 1884 entitled him to a commission in the Corps of Engineers as a second lieutenant and admission to the army’s Engineer School of Application, Willets Point, New York. He completed the course in 1887 and was promoted to first lieutenant. That year he married Katherine Ross Davis; they had one child....

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Gardiner, Lion (1599–1663), military engineer and colonist, was born in England. His birthplace and parentage are uncertain. He served in the English army and went to the Netherlands, where he became a “Master of Works of Fortification” in the armies of the prince of Orange. In 1625 he married a Dutch woman, Mary Wilemson (or Duereant) of Woerden, Holland. They eventually had three children, of whom David Gardiner (born in 1636) was the first white child born in Connecticut, and Elizabeth (born in 1641) was the first English child born in New Netherland (present-day New York State). In 1635 Gardiner made contact with ...

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Herman Hattaway and Eric B. Fair

Gillmore, Quincy Adams (28 February 1825–07 April 1888), soldier and engineer, was born in Black River, Lorain County, Ohio, the son of Quartus Gillmore and Elizabeth Reid, farmers. Gillmore attended a local high school, then taught for three years before his twentieth birthday. His scholarship, especially in mathematics, won him an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy in July 1845. Gillmore graduated first of forty-three cadets in the class of 1849. At this time he married Mary Isabella O’Maher. The couple would raise four sons....