Dennis Hart Mahan graduates from West Point.
Mahan begins to teach military science and engineering at West Point.
April: Civil War begins.
May: Washington DC defenses begun.
May: Richmond defenses begun.
June: Big Bethel.
July: First Manassas (Bull Run).
March-July: Peninsula Campaign, including the siege of Yorktown and Williamsburg.
August: construction of'Dimmock Line" begun at Petersburg. April-May: siege of Suffolk. July: Gettysburg.
July: Battle of the Crater. Confederate attack on Washington DC defenses.
July-September: Atlanta campaign.
December: siege of Savannah.
March: Confederates attack Fort Stedman.
April: Federal breakthrough at Petersburg. Fall of Richmond. Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House.
Following graduation from the US Military Academy in 1824, Mahan was assigned to the Corps of Engineers and also appointed to the faculty of the Academy. Before assuming his teaching responsibilities, he spent four years in France as a student and observer. This included one year at the prestigious School of Engineering and Artillery at Metz. Returning to West Point in 1830, he taught military science and engineering for the next 41 years. In 1832, he introduced field fortification into the curriculum at senior level in his course on military and civil engineering and the science of war. Mahan also influenced tactical doctrine by writing treatises that were adopted as official textbooks. His most important works were A Complete Treatise on Field Fortification ( 1836) and An Elementary Treatise on Advanced-Guard, Out-Post, and Detachment Service of Troops (1847).The former work contained his modification of the French-derived tactical system and replaced François Gay de Vernon's A Treatise on the Science of War and Fortification, which had been a West Point text since 1817. •
Dimmock graduated from West Point fifth in the class of 1820, and served with the rank of lieutenant in the US Army until 1837, when he resigned to become a civil engineer. He was appointed by the War Department during the same year to survey the middle section of the "Military Road" on the "Permanent Indian Frontier," from Fort Coffee to Fort Leavenworth. He was elected captain of the Richmond Grays upon their organization at Richmond,Virginia, on January 29, 1844. In 1861 he was appointed colonel of ordnance, and in August was assigned to command the Virginia troops "in and near" Richmond. In February 1862 he produced a report recommending that the Richmond defenses be strengthened. During 1862-63 he supervised the construction of the Petersburg defenses, known as the "Dimmock Line." The same year, and with the assistance of Henry de Feuvre, he began supervision of the construction of Fort Clifton, near the junction of the Appomattox River and Swift Creek. Completed in 1864, this formidable fort controlled navigation on the river north of Petersburg and was not taken by Union forces until the fall of Petersburg. He died suddenly on October 27, 1863, and was burled with full military honors two days later.
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