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Capitol Builder: Montgomery C. Meigs


Montgomery C. Meigs

In March 1853, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis assigned U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Captain Montgomery C. Meigs (1816-1892) to supervise the ongoing expansion of the United States Capitol. This project was designed to provide spacious new quarters for the House and Senate, whose chambers had become increasingly overcrowded as new states entered the Union. Several years later, Meigs also gained responsibility for building a new Capitol dome. A talented administrator, an accomplished engineer, and an astute observer of his times, Meigs kept careful records including diaries, journals, notebooks, and drawings. In Capitol Builder, Meigs' daily journal entries detail the day-to-day building operations involved in the project, as well as his personal thoughts about his public and private life, discussions of family relationships, and his political views of the era and its personalities.