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Curtis, Samuel Ryan (03 February 1805–26 December 1866), soldier and engineer, was born near Champlain, New York, the son of Zarah Curtis and Phalley Yale, farmers. In 1809 the family moved to Licking County, Ohio. Curtis obtained an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy and graduated in 1831. Later that year he married Belinda Buckingham; the couple had six children. Curtis served briefly with the Seventh Infantry at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), but resigned his commission in 1832 and returned to Ohio. During the next decade he worked as an engineer on the National Road and was the chief engineer of the Muskingum River improvement project. He also studied law and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1841. Curtis was active in the Ohio militia and was named adjutant general of the state when the Mexican War began, but he resigned in order to command the Third Ohio Infantry in the field. Much to his disappointment, he saw no action in Mexico but served as military governor of Matamoras, Camargo, Monterrey, and Saltillo....

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Dodge, Grenville Mellen (12 April 1831–03 January 1916), civil engineer and army officer, was born in Danvers, Massachusetts, the son of Sylvanus Dodge, a peddler, and Julia Theresa Phillips. Despite a nearly impoverished childhood and the need to find employment at an early age, Dodge demonstrated a strong desire for a formal education. Following one semester of preparatory study at New Hampshire’s Durham Academy, he entered in 1848 Norwich University in Vermont, where he learned the scientific and engineering skills that would serve him well in life. After his graduation in 1851, he lived briefly at nearby Captain ...

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Goethals, George Washington (29 June 1858–21 January 1928), engineer and military officer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of John Louis Goethals, a carpenter, and Marie Le Barron. At the age of fourteen he entered the College of the City of New York. In April 1876, after three years of college, Goethals won a cadetship to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He graduated second in his class in 1880, a distinction that won for him a commission as second lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers....

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Lovell, Mansfield (20 October 1822–01 June 1884), soldier and civil engineer, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Dr. Joseph Lovell, surgeon general of the U.S. Army from 1818 to 1836, and Margaret Mansfield. Having entered West Point at the age of sixteen, he graduated in 1842 and was assigned to the Fourth Artillery Regiment as a second lieutenant. During the Mexican War he was wounded at the battle of Monterrey (18–21 Sept. 1846) and in the storming of Mexico City (13–14 Sept. 1847), in the process winning promotion to first lieutenant and being brevetted captain for gallantry in action. In 1849 he married Emily Plympton, the daughter of an army officer. In 1854, tiring of garrison duty along the frontier, he resigned from the army to take a position with the Cooper & Hewitt’s Iron Works in Trenton, New Jersey. In 1858 he moved to New York City, where he was at first superintendent of street improvement, then deputy street commissioner under another future Confederate general, ...