Naval History and Heritage Command

U.S. Navy Seabee Museum

Civil Engineer Corps History Photographs 

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Portrait of British-born architect Benjamin Latrobe. Best known for his design of the United States Capitol, Latrobe came to the United States in 1796. In 1803, the U.S. hired Latrobe as Surveyor for the Public Buildings of the United States, and he spent the next fourteen years working on projects in Washington, D.C. In 1820, while in New Orleans working on a waterworks project, Latrobe died from yellow fever. Portrait painted by Charles Willson Peale, c. 1804.

Portrait of British-born architect Benjamin Latrobe.



The Bureau of Yards and Docks logo, created c. 1862. In 1862, Congress approved extending the Navy Department bureau system by amending the titles of three of the existing bureaus and adding three additional bureaus. The only modification to the Bureau of Navy Yards and Docks was a shortening of its name to the Bureau of Yards and Docks.

The Bureau of Yards and Docks logo, created c. 1862.



Commodore Lewis Warrington, the first Chief of the Bureau of Navy Yards and Docks. From 1826 to 1830, Commodore Warrington served as one of the three Navy Board commissioners, a body charged with the administration of naval affairs. Afterwards, Warrington returned to the Norfolk Navy Yard to serve as commandant. In 1840, the Navy reassigned to Washington to serve for another two years as commissioner on the Navy Board. After the Navy reorganized the department in 1842, Warrington became first Chief of the Bureau of Navy Yards and Docks.

Commodore Lewis Warrington, the first Chief of the Bureau of Navy Yards and Docks.



The first Navy Civil Engineer Corps officers: B.F. Chandler, F.C. Prindle, W.P.S. Sanger, F.A. Hastings, and Charles Hastings, c. 1860s. The Navy created the Civil Engineer Corps on March 2, 1867. The original duties of the Civil Engineer Corps included the charge, erection and repair of all buildings, docks, and wharves; supervising the architect, and directing all masters and other workers involved in building public works. Civil Engineer Corps officers were not required to wear a navy uniform until 1881 when the leaf insignia was created.

The first Navy Civil Engineer Corps officers: B.F. Chandler, F.C. Prindle, W.P.S. Sanger, F.A. Hastings, and Charles Hastings, c. 1860s.



On April 7, 1898, President William McKinley broke precedence and appointed Mordecai Endicott to become the first member of the Civil Engineer Corps to command the Bureau of Yards and Docks. He was immediately elevated to the rank of Commodore and later Rear Admiral. Endicott became the first Chief to hold the rank of Rear Admiral, one which has been held by all Chiefs of the Bureau ever since. He was reappointed Chief in 1902 and again in 1906.

Rear Admiral Mordecai Endicott



Officer’s Mess Night or “Dining-in” at the Army-Navy Club, Washington, D.C., December 4, 1913. The dinner was in honor of Commander Alan Parsons, CEC, USN, upon his detachment as Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks. Next, he assumed the duties as Public Works Offer at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Officer’s Mess Night or “Dining-in” at the Army-Navy Club, Washington, D.C., December 4, 1913.



Civil Engineer Corps logo after Navy Regulations changed the color from silver to gold, c. 1919. In 1905, the Civil Engineer Corps adopted two crossed silver sprigs, each composed of two live oak leaves and an acorn as their insignia in lieu of the original Old English letters “C.E.” In 1919, uniform regulations specified that it the insignia be of gold instead of silver.

Civil Engineer Corps logo after Navy Regulations changed the color from silver to gold, c. 1919.


Published:Fri Dec 09 16:17:58 EST 2016