The Army Corp of Engineers is one of those organizations that you don't hear much about until something goes wrong. We hardly heard them mentioned at all until Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Then everyone is asking about what happened to the levees? It is odd how accountability is rarely an issue until we hand out blame.
The Corp was started when General Washington and the Continental Congress, during the American Revolutionary War, appointed Colonel Richard Gridley as chief engineer of the army. One of their first projects was to build fortifications around Breeds and Bunker Hill in Boston. Most of the actually engineers at the time were French civilians hired by Washington. The Corp didn't become a separate entity until 1802 by President Thomas Jefferson.
Today's Corp consists about over 30,000 civilians and over 600 military personnel. Some of the more famous projects that Corp has worked include the Panama Canal, the Washington Monument, the Pentagon and the Manhattan Project.