William Louis Marshall : biography
William Louis Marshall was born June 11, 1846, in Washington, Kentucky, a scion of the family of Chief Justice John Marshall. At age 16 he enlisted in the 10th Kentucky Cavalry, Union Army. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1868 and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. Accompanying Lieutenant George Wheeler’s Wheeler Survey expedition (1872–76), Marshall covered thousands of miles on foot and horseback and discovered Marshall Pass in central Colorado. He oversaw improvements on the Lower Mississippi River near Vicksburg and on the Fox-Wisconsin Waterway canal system in Wisconsin. As Chicago District Engineer from 1888 to 1899, he planned and began to build the Illinois and Mississippi Canal. Marshall made innovative use of concrete masonry and developed original and cost-saving methods of canal lock construction. Stationed at New York (1900–08), his genius further expressed itself on the Ambrose Channel project and in standardizing fortification construction methods. He retired June 11, 1910, but his engineering reputation earned a special appointment from President William Howard Taft as consulting engineer to the Secretary of the Interior on hydroelectric power projects. General Marshall died July 2, 1920, in Washington, D.C.
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