|The men who made maps — topographical engineers before Yorktown This photograph of May, 1862, affords the last chance to see the Topographical Engineers at work as a distinct organization. At the time this view was taken they still existed as a separate branch, their duties were the compilation of maps and other topographical data for the use of the army; but by act of March 3, 1863, the Corps of Topographical Engineers was abolished and merged into the Corps of Engineers. Time and again on the field of battle the exact knowledge of locality decided the result. Great advantage lay with the officers who had the most reliable and detailed maps. None such existed of the theater of war in Virginia, and on this corps fell the duty of providing all topographical data necessary for the Army of the Potomac. The officers were all highly trained in engineering work, especially in the surveys necessary for their maps, and in their preparation. In this photograph is a surveyor's level, and on the table a map in process of preparation. The enlisted men in this corps were of very high caliber and their work was of inestimable value.|
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