Today in American History: March 11th

Today in American History: March 11th

Today in 1779 the United States Congress established the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It was established to help the Army create, design, and prepare environmental and structural facilities. It consisted of French officers, American civilians, and men in the Continental Army. Many are unaware of the cirtical role the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers played in the Revolutionary battles such as Saratoga, Bunker Hill, and Yorktown. You can read more about the role the Corps played in the American Revolution here.

After the victory of the Revolutionary War, the original member of the Army Corps of Engineers had left the organization. In 1794 Congress recognized the need for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers so they created a Corps of Artillerists and Engineers and established them under the new federal government. The original Corps of Engineers was reestablished in 1802. 

Once it was reestablished, they quickly went back to work with creating and maintaining military establishments. Their responsibilities became more urgent when the United States was preparing for their second war with England in 1812. One of their greatest accomplishments was deterring the British Navy from attacking the New York Harbor during the War of 1812. Not only did it keep the city safe, but it also served as the foundation for the future Statue of Liberty.

After the war, the Corps started to shift from strictly military fortifications, to helping with environmental challenges. They helped to map the uncharted territories of the future states of America. In 1824 they took over the flood control of our river systems. 

Today, you can find many Army Corps parks and dams across the country. They also played a significant role in building project in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Corps hasn't changed but as far as who they consist of. They are still made of up civilians and Army personnel, the difference being that women are now included. The Corps also helps with rebuilding after natural disasters such as New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is one of the most important establishments for not only our military but our country as a whole. 

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