The Corps story began more than 200 years ago when Congress established the Continental Army with a provision for a chief engineer on June 16, 1775. The Army established the Corps of Engineers as a separate, permanent branch on March 16, 1802, and gave the engineers responsibility for founding and operating the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Since then, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has responded to changing defense requirements and played an integral part in the development of the country. Throughout the 19th century, the Corps built coastal fortifications, surveyed roads and canals, eliminated navigational hazards, explored and mapped the Western frontier, and constructed buildings and monuments in the Nation’s capital. While the mission and tasks have evolved with the needs and priorities of the Nation, the dedication and commitment of the workforce has remained constant.