First Regiment Engineer Troops PACS, Robert E Lee's Combat Engineers

by Harry L. Jackson (RAE Design and Publishing, 1998 ISBN 0 96667 290 9)

Review by: John Drewienkiewicz

It is well known that the American Civil War was a transitional war, and this applies as much to the practice of military engineering as to other branches of military science. Prior to 1860, US Army engineer officers were thoroughly educated, indeed the West Point officer cadet syllabus was based on engineering, and top cadets were assigned preferentially to the Engineer Corps. But engineer officers relied on skilled civilian tradesmen for getting the job done on major construction works. For temporary works, it was reckoned that the soldiers in the ranks had sufficient inherent DIY skills to be able to work under the direction of engineer officers.