Foreword: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers traces its origins to the earliest moments of our existence as a nation. Soon after assuming command of the Continental Army in July 1775, General George Washington acknowledged the critical shortage of officers with technical skills and made the first of several appeals for more engineers . He never obtained a sufficient number. But Army Engineers, their ranks filled largely with Frenchmen, erected fortifications from Boston to Charleston, mapped terrain for their commanders, laid out encampments, and cleared the way for the Army on the march . They experienced their finest hour at the siege of Yorktown in 1781. The Revolution clearly demonstrated the necessity for a trained corps of native American officers. That need was finally fulfilled with the establishment of the military academy at West Point more than twenty years later.
In Engineers of Independence Dr. Walker weaves together a colorful, concise narrative with original documents to tell the story of the beginnings of the Army Engineers. Many of the documents are reproduced here for the first time. The resulting account will appeal to general readers and scholars alike.