Many pressing challenges faced by the United States
of America are reflected in early designs. When enemies and pirates attacked
American merchant ships, Congress authorized funds for warships. Ship
designers and builders responded with swift, maneuverable, and well-armed
vessels to protect essential trade and American citizens. Guarding against
a land invasion, military engineers designed, updated, and repaired fortifications
along vulnerable borders. Later, the outbreak of the Civil War saw the
Union and the Confederacy competing for the best design in new weapons.
To support settlements and the development of valuable resources, engineers
designed bridges, canals, and other means of transportation to connect
the remote inland areas with coastal ports. Surveyors and architects worked
on designs for the capital city and for public buildings. In addition
to these practical projects, the Government encouraged the invention of
national symbols and emblems to establish the American identity and encourage
Building the Federal Navy
Drawing of the Hull for the U.S.S.
Constellation and U.S.S. Congress
Nicholas King`s Wharfing Plans, Washington, D.C.
"Plan of the City of Washington Exhibiting
the water lots and Water Street along the Potomack [sic] from 23rd
to 20th Streets west."
"Plan of Washington Exhibiting Water
Street on the Eastern Branch"
Latrobe`s Fort Nelson, Virginia
"Plan of Fort Nelson, in Virginia,
showing the exact state of the Works in July, 1798"
"Design for Completing Fort Nelson,
Proposed Castle, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina
"Plan of A Projected Castle for Charleston
Harbor, So. Carolina"
"Plan Projected for a Cooperation of
Defense of the Mississippi with Ft. St. Philip"
"Projected Forts on the Middle Ground
and East Bank for the defence [sic] of the Channel at Sandy Hook"
Citations for left side images: Drawing of the Hull for the U.S.S. Constellation
and U.S.S. Congress
Designed by Joshua Humphreys and Josiah Fox, et al., 1795
Pencil and ink on paper
14" x 18" National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Bureau
"Metinicus [sic] Light House"
Designed by Alexander Parris
Drawn by Brown and Hastings, engineers, March 28, 1848
Watercolor on paper
18 1/2" x 22 3/4" National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the U.S. Coast
Sketch for the Great Seal of the United States
By Francis Hopkinson, May 10, 1780
Pencil and ink on paper
7 3/8" x 6 3/8" National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Continental
and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention