Fort Plans in the Cartographic Research Room

Maps and charts have always played an important role in the planning and execution of military operations, and military maps, nautical charts, and fortification plans form a significant part of the holdings in the Section. These documents are found in records of the:

  • Offices of the Chief of Engineers (RG 77) 
  • Adjutant General (RG 94)
  • Quartermaster General (RG 92)
  • Office of Strategic Services (RG 226)
  • Army Map Service (RG 77)
  • Hydrographic Office (RG 37)

Among military records, the most heavily researched architectural drawings consist of plans of Army forts, hospitals, coastal defense batteries, and other military reservations. Created primarily by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Quartermaster General's Office, these fortification plans date from the earliest years of the country to the World War II period and constitute the largest such file in existence in the United States. The Corps of Engineers records also include large-scale engineering drawings of structures such as bridges, dams, and locks as well as plans of dredge boats used in river navigation projects. Numerous plans document U.S. Navy and Marine bases and facilities throughout the United States, the Carribean, and the Pacific from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century (RG 71).