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United States Army Corps of Topographical Engineers

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The U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers was a branch of the United States Army authorized on 4 July 1838. It consisted only of officers who were handpicked from West Point[1] and was used for mapping and the design and construction of federal civil works such as lighthouses and other coastal fortifications and navigational routes. Members included such officers as George Meade, John C. Frémont and Stephen Long. It was merged with the United States Army Corps of Engineers on 31 March 1863, at which point the Corps of Engineers also assumed the Lakes Survey for the Great Lakes.[2] In the mid-19th century, Corps of Engineers' officers ran Lighthouse Districts in tandem with U.S. Naval officers.

U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers
Active1838 – 63
CountryUnited States United States of America
AllegianceEmblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
BranchRegular Army
Commanders
Notable
commanders
John James Abert (1838-61)
Stephen Harriman Long (1861-63)
The headquarters for the Corps of Topographical Engineers, ca. 1860-1865

In 1841, Congress created the Lake Survey. The Survey, based in Detroit, Mich., was charged with conducting a hydrographical survey of the Northern and Northwestern Lakes and preparing and publishing nautical charts and other navigation aids. The Lake Survey published its first charts in 1852.[3]

SignificanceEdit

William Goetzmann has written:

Major expeditions prior to the Corps' creationEdit

In all, there were six major expeditions into the Louisiana Purchase, the first being the best known Corps of Discovery led by Lewis and Clark in 1804-1806. A second expedition in 1804 included astronomer and naturalist John Dunbar and prominent Philadelphia chemist William Hunter. This expedition attempted to follow the Red River to its source in Texas, then controlled by Spain, but turned back after three months.

In April 1806 a second Red River Expedition was led by Captain Richard Sparks and included astronomer and surveyor Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis, a University of Pennsylvania medical student who served as the expedition's botanist. The group of 24 traveled 615 miles up the Red River before being turned back by Spanish authorities. President Thomas Jefferson hoped that this expedition would be nearly as important as the one led by Lewis and Clark, but the interruption by Spanish authorities prevented this hope from being realized.

In 1805–1806, Lieutenant Zebulon Pike was ordered by General James Wilkinson, Governor of the Upper Louisiana Territory, to find the source of the Mississippi River.

In 1806–1807, President Jefferson ordered Lieutenant Pike, on another expedition, to find the headwaters of the Arkansas River and Red River. This is better known as the Pike Expedition. Spanish forces arrested Pike and confiscated his papers, but assigned a translator and cartographer to translate Pike's documents.

In 1817 Major Stephen H. Long explored the upper Mississippi River, selecting sites for Fort Smith on the Arkansas River and Fort St. Anthony at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi.

In 1819, President James Monroe and Secretary of War John C. Calhoun ordered General Henry Atkinson to lead what became known as the Yellowstone Expedition. One objective was to eliminate British influence among the Native American tribes in the region. Nearly 1,000 soldiers were transported by five steamboats up the Missouri River to the Mandan villages at the mouth of the Yellowstone, where they built a fort. This was the first known use of steam propulsion in the west.

At some point between 1849 and 1892, Lt. Col. Graham was sent to replace the Delaware-Maryland-Pennsylvania Tri-State Marker, but misplaced it.

Major expeditions by the CorpsEdit

 
Topographical Engineers at work during the Yorktown campaign, May 1862.

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Schubert, Frank N. (2004). The Nation Builders: A Sesquicentennial History of the Corps of Topographical Engineers 1838-1863. University Press of the Pacific. ISBN 978-1410218728.
  • "A History of the U.S. Topographical Engineers, (1818-1863) part 1". U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers website, quoting from Beers, Henry P. "A History of the U.S. Topographical Engineers, 1813-1863." 2 pts. The Military Engineer 34 (Jun 1942): pp.287-91 & (Jul 1942): pp.348-52. Retrieved 2011-08-06.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Trimble, Marshall (2016-04-18). "Army Corps of Topographical Engineers". True West Magazine. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  2. ^ Charting the Inland Seas: A History of the U.S. Lake Survey, Arthur M. Woodford, 1991
  3. ^ Lake Survey
  4. ^ *Goetzmann, William H. Army Exploration in the American West 1803-1863 (Yale University Press, 1959; University of Nebraska Press, 1979
  5. ^ James D. Graham
  6. ^ "James Duncan Graham". U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers. Archived from the original on April 19, 2017.
  7. ^ Columbia Daily Spectator, Volume XXX, Number 1, 18 February 1892, p5.4-5 Professor William G. Peck
  8. ^ William Guy Peck, Cullums_Register 1206 Class of 1844
  9. ^ RECONNAISSANCE BY LIEUT. JAMES W. ABERT, TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, 1845; Reports of Explorations and Surveys to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, Volume 11, BEVERLEY TUCKER, PRINTER, WASHINGTON, 1855, p.52
  10. ^ Notes of a Military Reconnaissance from Fort Leavenworth in Missouri to San Diego in California, Including Part Of The Arkansas, Del Norte, and Gila Rivers. By Lieut. Col. W. H. Emory, made in 1846-7, With the Advanced Guard of the "Army of the West", Wendell and Van Benthuysen, Washington, 1848
  11. ^ United States Department of the Interior (1857-59). Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, made under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior by William H. Emory Washington, D.C.: C. Wendell, printer. Three volumes, bound in two.
  12. ^ Byrd H. Granger (1960). Arizona Place Names. University of Arizona Press. p. 21. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  13. ^ Report of an Expedition Down the Zuñi and Colorado Rivers, Captain L. Sitgreaves, Corps Topographical Engineers, Robert Armstrong, Public Printer, Washington, 1853
  14. ^ Pacific Railroad Survey from cprr.org accessed July 17, 2016
  15. ^ Report of Explorations for a Route for the Pacific Railroad near the 47th and 49th Parallels of North Latitude, from St. Paul, Minnesota, to Puget Sound, Vol. XII, Book 1, Thomas H. Ford, printer, Washington, 1860
  16. ^ Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4. Volume II, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1855. Report of Explorations for a Route for the Pacific Railroad, by Captain J. W. Gunnison, Corps Topographical Engineers, near The Thirty-Eighth and Thirty-Ninth Parallels of Latitude, from The Mouth of the Kansas River, Mo., To The Seiver Lake, In The Great Basin, Report, by Lieutenant E. G. Beckwith, Third Artillery
  17. ^ Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4. Volume II, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1855. Report of Explorations for a Route for the Pacific Railroad, On The Line Of The Forty-First Parallel Of North Latitude, by Lieutenant E. G. Beckwith, Third Artillery, upon the Route near the Forty-First Parallel, 1854.
  18. ^ Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4, Volume III, Washington; Government Printing Office: 1856, Report. Explorations for a Railway Route, near the Thirty-Fifth Parallel of North Latitude, from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean: By Lieutenant A. W. Whipple, Corps Of Topographical Engineers Assisted by Lieutenant J. C. Ives, Corps of Topographical Engineers.
  19. ^ Joseph C. Ives, Report upon the Colorado river of the West, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1861.
  20. ^ Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4, Vol. VII, Part 1. Report of Explorations for Railroad Routes San Francisco Bay to Los Angeles, West of the Coast Range, and from the Pimas Villages on the Gila to the Rio Grande, near the 32d Parallel of North Latitude, Lieutenant John G. Parke, Corps of Topographical Engineers, Assisted by Albert H. Campbell, Civil Engineer.
  21. ^ Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4, Volume II, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1855. Report of Lieutenant John G. Parke, Corps Topographical Engineers, upon the Portion of the Route near the Thirty-Second Parallel, Lying Between the Rio Grande and Pimas Village, on the Gila.
  22. ^ Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4, Volume II, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1855. Report of Explorations for a Route for the Pacific Railroad, Near The Thirty-Second Parallel Of North Latitude, From the Red River to The Rio Grande, by Brevet Captain John Pope, Corps Topographical Engineers, 1854
  23. ^ Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4, Volume V, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1856; . Report. Explorations In California for Railroad Routes, to Connect with the Routes near the 35th and 32nd Parallels of North Latitude by Lieutenant R. S. Williamson, Corps of Topographical Engineers.
  24. ^ Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4, Volume VI, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1857; Report of Lieut. Henry L. Abbot, Corps of Topographical Engineers upon Explorations for a Railroad Route, the Sacramento Valley to the Columbia River, Made by Lieut. R. S. Williamson, Corps of Topographical Engineers, Assisted by Lieut. Henry L. Abbot, Corps of Topographical Engineers.
  25. ^ Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-4, Volume VII, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1857; . Report of Explorations for Railroad Routes San Francisco Bay to Los Angeles, West of the Coast Range, and from the Pimas Villages on the Gila to the Rio Grande, near the 32d Parallel of North Latitude, Lieutenant John G. Parke, Corps of Topographical Engineers, Assisted by Albert H. Campbell, Civil Engineer.
  26. ^ Joseph C. Ives, REPORT UPON THE COLORADO RIVER OF THE WEST, EXPLORED IN 1857 AND 1858 BY LIEUTENANT JOSEPH C. IVES, CORPS OF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, UNDER THE DIRECTION OP THE OFFICE OF EXPLORATIONS AND SURVEYS, A. A. HUMPHREYS, CAPTAIN TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS, IN CHARGE. BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR, GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON, 1861; PART I. GENERAL REPORT.
  27. ^ Marcus Baker, Survey of the Northwest Border of the United States 1857–1861, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1900.
Attribution

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