The U.S. Army Engineer Museum presents a chronological history of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Today, the oldest unit in the United States Army is the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts National Guard established in 1636. Although the history of American military engineering goes back more than three hundred and fifty years, the heritage of military engineering reaches back to the earliest beginnings of organized armies. On the battlefields of ancient Mesopotamia, India, Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome, skilled Military Engineers laid the groundwork for the role of their modern descendants. During Europe's middle ages, the French coined the term "genie" to represent the Engineers. Over the years, "genie" evolved into the old English word "enginator" meaning one who operates the engines of war, such as siege towers, battering rams, catapults and the like. With the support of professional French Military Engineers, our young Army Corps of Engineers was created during America's War for Independence. Today, that French heritage is still seen within our Engineer Corps. The language of the Engineer - "abatis," "gabions," "fascines" and "pontons" -- has its roots in 18th century France. Even the motto of the American Engineers, "ESSAYONS," is French for "Let us try."
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