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Engineer Biographies

At the outset of the American Civil War, each Army Engineer faced an important decision. As the highest-ranking graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, their reputations made them highly sought-after field commanders. However, to lead state-organized volunteer forces into battle, they would be abandoning their Regular Army duties with the Corps of Engineers. The Corps’ leadership emphasized the importance of Army Engineers remaining on the job to construct and maintain fortifications. Despite such pleas, the lure of greater promotion potential and battlefield glory led many junior engineer officers to accept commissions from their home states to lead volunteer forces, effectively abandoning the agency for the remainder of the war. Those from southern states faced an even more difficult decision and some resigned their commissions to take up arms with the Confederacy. Below are biographies of the most influential engineers during the Civil War, including some of those who left temporarily to lead field armies and those who left permanently to fight for the southern states.

Notable Civil War Army Engineers:

John G. Barnard

Andrew A. Humphreys

George B. McClellan

George G. Meade

Gouverneur K. Warren