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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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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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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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Humphreys, Andrew Atkinson (02 November 1810–27 December 1883), Union soldier and engineer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Humphreys and Letitia Atkinson. Humphreys’s grandfather, Joshua Humphreys, designed the first warships for the U.S. Navy during the administration of George Washington...

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McPherson, James B. (14 November 1828–22 July 1864), soldier and Union general, was born James Birdseye McPherson in Green Creek Township, Sandusky County, Ohio, the son of William McPherson, a farmer and blacksmith, and Cynthia Russell. He attended local schools until the age of thirteen, when he went to work as a general store clerk. At the age of eighteen he returned to school for two years at Norwalk (Ohio) Academy. In 1849 he was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy. Despite an active social life at West Point, he compiled a superb record and graduated at the top of his class in 1853. His roommate was ...

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Herman Hattaway and Michael D. Smith

Meade, George Gordon (31 December 1815–06 November 1872), soldier and engineer, was born in Cadiz, Spain, the son of Richard Worsam Meade, a merchant and U.S. naval agent, and Margaret Coates Butler. Meade came to the United States at the age of one and a half years with his mother, who established a home in Philadelphia while her husband, caught up in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, languished in a Spanish prison. Released in 1818, Richard Meade eventually moved his family to Washington in an effort to recover a sizable debt owed him by the U.S. government. The claim was disallowed, and as family finances dwindled, George attended a succession of private schools in Philadelphia, Washington, and Baltimore. After the death of Meade’s father, Margaret Meade, seeking the least costly expedient, obtained an appointment for George to the U.S. Military Academy. He entered West Point in September 1831 at the age of fifteen....

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Melville, George Wallace (10 January 1841–18 March 1912), naval engineer, was born in New York City, the son of Alexander Melville, a chemist, and Sarah Wallace. He graduated from Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute and joined the U.S. Navy as a third assistant engineer in July 1861. He saw much hazardous duty during the Civil War, some of it through his own choosing. He volunteered to go aboard the Confederate ship ...

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Newton, John (24 August 1822–01 May 1895), soldier and engineer, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of Thomas Newton, a U.S. congressman, and Margaret Jordan Pool. Newton attended West Point, where he graduated 1 July 1842, second in a class of fifty-six. Following graduation he was commissioned a second lieutenant and posted to the engineers. He served as assistant to the Board of Engineers until 1843 then as an instructor of engineering at West Point until 1846. Subsequently assigned to duties of increasing responsibility in fortification, river, harbor, and lighthouse work, he was the superintending engineer of construction of Forts Wayne, Michigan; and Porter, Niagara, and Ontario, New York. He married Anna M. Starr in 1848; they had six children. In 1858 he served as the chief engineer of the Mormon Expedition, his only field service prior to the Civil War....

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Totten, Joseph Gilbert (23 August 1788–22 April 1864), soldier, engineer, and scientist, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Peter Totten and Grace Mansfield. Totten was raised by his uncle, Jared Mansfield, following the death of his mother when he was three and his father’s appointment as vice consul at Santa Cruz in the Caribbean. Totten entered West Point as a cadet in 1802, the same year that his guardian Mansfield took an appointment as the first professor of mathematics at the infant U.S. Military Academy. He graduated in his 1805 class of three, only the tenth graduate of the academy, and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. Within a year he resigned his commission to be secretary to his guardian, who left West Point to become surveyor general of the Northwest Territory, charged with the first systematic survey of the new states....

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Warren, Gouverneur Kemble (08 January 1830–08 August 1882), soldier and engineer, was born in Cold Spring, New York, near West Point, the son of Sylvanus Warren, a friend of Washington Irving; his mother’s name is unknown. Warren was named for Gouverneur Kemble, a friend of Sylvanus Warren, a former member of Congress, and a power in Democratic politics in New York. At age sixteen Warren was appointed to West Point. His namesake, Kemble, admonished the young man, “We expect you to rank, at graduation, not less than second.” Warren was a serious, conscientious student, and, in fact, he graduated in 1850 number two in a class of forty-four. He was brevetted a second lieutenant in the Corps of Topographical Engineers....

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Wright, Horatio Gouverneur (06 March 1820–02 July 1899), soldier and engineer, was born in Clinton, Connecticut, the son of Edward Wright and Nancy (maiden name unknown). He entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1837, graduated second in his class in 1841, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. In 1841 and again from 1844 to 1846 he served as assistant to the army’s Board of Engineers. He taught French and engineering at West Point from 1842 to 1844. In 1842 Wright married Louisa M. Bradford, with whom he had two children. In 1845 he accompanied Secretary of War ...