Historical Content


Featured Publication

Hurricane Maria Response

Cover of a history of Hurricane Maria response

Click book cover for digital versions.
Following the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017, USACE responded. And although the Corps assisted with recovery efforts in several ways, this new book focuses on the story of the historic response to the electrical problems caused by the storm in Puerto Rico. It describes the enormous challenges and how the talented and passionate people of the Corps always step up to engineer solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges, especially in times of crisis. The innovation, hard work, and expertise of dedicated U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel was instrumental in turning the lights back on in Puerto Rico.

Mission of the Office of History

Office of History seal
The mission of the Office of History is to collect, document, interpret, disseminate, and preserve the history and heritage of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The office accomplishes its mission through research and writing, a field history program, an oral history program, an extensive research collection, and a historic artifact collection.

Other Resources

castle-shaped logo for HQ/HECSA Library
The HQ/HECSA Library has compiled a library guide with several other resources on USACE history.

Oral History Guides

Now available as PDFs and eBooks.
Click book cover to access.
Cover of an oral history guide
The Oral History Guide (in standard and short versions) is a guide to the theory and practice of oral history that provides USACE employees who are planning an oral history program with some historical background and practical advice. Available on-line as PDF or eBook versions. To request print copies, use the Contact Us feature at the bottom of the webpage and choose History as the recipient.



New Publications

Cover of Destruction Imminent book  

Destruction Imminent is the second of a three-volume history series on the USACE emergency operations mission. This volume begins with the Federal Disaster Relief Act of 1950, which created a permanent and continuous mechanism for federal disaster response, and continues through the establishment of FEMA in April 1979 and the centralization of the nation’s emergency functions. It also chronicles USACE responses to natural and manmade disasters during this period.

Civil Works for the Public Good is the first volume in The History of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Series to be released, and it focuses on the Corps' civil works activities during the Great Depression. It chronicles the participation of this agency and its personnel in the federal response to the economic crisis of the 1930s in the form of a nationwide public works relief program. It is illustrated with dozens of vintage photographs, most of which are available through the USACE Digital Library. The history reveals, again, the remarkable ability of this organization to respond to diverse challenges, to adapt to new circumstances, and to serve this country unfailingly.

  Cover of the book Civil Works for the Public Good


Read about Army Engineers in the Normandy Invasion on D-Day.

In 1824, Congress passed the General Survey Act and the first Rivers and Harbors Act—which tasked Army Engineers with surveying for roads and canals and clearing obstructions to navigation on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers—thus creating a federal role in developing the nation and effectively launching the ongoing civil works mission of the Corps of Engineers.

Featured Articles

Twenty Years of Army Engineer Operations in Iraq. For two decades, USACE military and civilian personnel have participated in combat and reconstruction activities in Iraq as part of the Global War on Terrorism.

Plane Crash near Memphis. In 1944, members of the Memphis District were faced with a grim task—response to the fatal crash of a commercial airliner in the Mississippi River. The Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard both responded with men and equipment to salvage what they could from the catastrophe.

Fifty years ago, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, one of the most influential of modern environmental laws.  Read about the Corps of Engineers' response to and relationship with the law and other partner agencies to protect America's waters.

  1. Clean Water Act and the Corps of Engineers - Overview
  2. Marco Island, Florida (1976-1982)
  3. Nine Channels Project, New York and New Jersey Harbor (1996-2016)
  4. Clean Water Act - San Diego Vernal Pools Preservation Plan (1980-2012)
  5. Florida Everglades Restoration

Fifty years ago, the Corps responded to the devastation of Hurricane Agnes, one of the costliest storms in the U.S. to that point. The Corps even established a new district to manage the herculean task.

One hundred years ago, Army Engineers with the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds were instrumental in the process to design, build, and maintain the Lincoln Memorial.

Current Exhibit

Remembering the Great War. See the on-line version of an exhibit on the history of Army Engineer involvement
in The War to End All Wars, World War I, 1917-1918.

Collection in Focus

Serving in Iran during World War II — work, rest, and notable visitors.
Browse Persian Gulf Command Photo Albums to view scenes of Iran and elsewhere in the 1940s

Featured Photos - Far East District construction

Wilmington District History

Book cover of Wilmington District history book
This update to the history of the Wilmington District covers the 40 years between 1983 and 2023. This book takes a look at how the district has continued to deliver engineering solutions to secure the nation, energize the economy, and reduce disaster risk. It also focuses on the development of environmental programs and the return of significant military construction to the district’s responsibilities in the early 2000s.


Huntington District History

Cover of a Huntington District history book
One of the latest field histories to be published is that of the Huntington District in West Virginia. The book recounts the history of the district from 1974 to 2021 and its work on waterway development, military construction, and emergency management in the Ohio River valley and elsewhere


Los Angeles District History

Book cover of the history of the Los Angeles District
Another recently published field history is that of the Los Angeles District. The book focuses on the latest fifty years of history of the district, from 1966 to 2016, and its evolution during that time frame. It touches on the work undertaken by the district in the fields of civil works, military construction, emergency response, global deployment, and other mission areas.