Sylvanus Thayer

Sylvanus Thayer ( June 9, 1785 Braintree, Massachusetts, † September 7, 1872 in South Braintree, Massachusetts) was an American civil engineer and Brigadier General of the U.S. Army, who was from 1817 to 1833 superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and is therefore considered the real " father of the U.S. Military Academy ."


Military training and operations

After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1807, he entered the U.S. Military Academy and graduated in 1808 from. Subsequently, he first worked as an engineer in the Corps of Engineers on the East Coast of the United States and to the award of a Master of Arts ( AM) by the Dartmouth College as an instructor of mathematics at West Point during the next four years.

After his promotion to lieutenant on 1 July 1812 he was appointed during the British -American War for use at the Canadian border ( Niagara Frontier ) and served as chief engineer of the troops of General Henry Dearborn. Following this, he was chief engineer of the 1813, commanded by General Wade Hampton Division and received during this use on October 13, 1813 he was promoted to captain.

In 1814 he was among the troops that have been used under the command of General Moses Porter in the defense of Norfolk, and was followed on February 20, 1815 for his outstanding services to the brevet rank of major. This was followed by a posting to Europe, where he was to investigate military work and schools and to study military operations in Paris.

Superintendent of West Point

In 1817 he was recalled to the United States, took over after his arrival on July 28, 1817 by Alden Partridge, the Office of the Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and has held this position until his retirement on July 1, 1833.

During his nearly 16 - year leadership, he organized the school from scratch, and thus laid the foundations for one of the best military academies in the world. He increased the quality of education and put the emphasis on military discipline and Ehrverhalten. In the field of education, he made ​​civil engineering the foundation stone of studies; were graduates of the Academy in the first half of the 19th century significant part of the development of infrastructure in the United States.

During his career he received on 3 March 1823 brevet rank of lieutenant colonel, was promoted on May 24, 1828 Major and was last updated on March 3, 1833 the brevet rank of colonel awarded. At the same time, Harvard University awarded him a Master of Arts in 1825, while the St. John 's College in Maryland in 1830 him a Doctor of Laws ( LL.D. ) conferred.

Work on Harbour Boston

After his retirement he became a member of the engineering authority (Board of Engineers ) of the U.S. Military Academy and was active in this capacity in the next thirty years in the construction of fortifications in and around the port of Boston. His local art shows a model of its engineering services, economic standards and the stability of the structures.

After he received the rank of lieutenant colonel of engineers on 7 July 1838 was followed on December 7, 1838 he was appointed president of engineering authority. However, he also offered re- acquisition of the Office of the Superintendent of West Point, succeeding his own successor René Edward De Russy he refused. In 1844 he published the textbook Papers on Practical Engineering. In the following years he was awarded the Dartmouth College ( 1846), the Kenyon College in Gambier (1846 ) and Harvard University ( 1857), three additional title of Doctor of Laws. On 3 March 1863 he was first promoted to colonel before he was adopted on 1 June 1863 with the brevet rank of brigadier general in retirement.

Legacy and honors

General Thayer who is a member of numerous scientific societies, was inherited substantial part of its assets public facilities such as $ 300,000 for the foundation of the U.S. Military Academy, $ 32,000 for a library in his hometown of Braintree and U.S. $ 70,000 for the Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Dartmouth College, which was opened in 1871 by him as Thayer School of Engineering, Hanover.

Five years after his death, his body was exhumed on November 8, 1877, and buried in the grounds of West Point. On June 11, 1883 revealed General George Washington Cullum, also a former superintendent of West Point, a monument to Sylvanus Thayer, with the inscription "Colonel Thayer, Father of the United States Military Academy ."

Sylvanus Thayer was honored, among others, by his posthumous induction into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in New York City.

In addition, awards the U.S. Military Academy Sylvanus Thayer Award to the people from the military and politicians like Gordon Gray ( 1976), Stanley Rogers Resor (1984) and Dean Rusk.