Title: Robert E. Lee And Concrete Innovations
Author(s): Bryant Mather
Publication: Symposium Paper
Appears on pages(s): 239-244
Douglas Southall Freeman’s authoritative biography of Robert E. Lee has a chapter on the building of Fort Carroll in the middle of Baltimore Harbor in 1849-1852. In the spring of that year, Lee established that there was a stable hard surface 45 ft below low water and began to work on the construction. These preliminary activities, as recounted by Freeman, included the following: "He experimented in the laying of concrete under water with a tremie." Lee continued with the work until August 1852 when he was sent to be Commandant at West Point. By then some concrete had been placed in Fort Carroll. Lee received information from General Totten on 22 June 1849 on placing concrete with a tremie. Lee replied on 25 June, "I shall make experiments to test the tremie preparatory to laying foundations." These experiments are among the earliest bits of concrete research done in the USA.