Today in History, March 16: 1802 – Connections through history. The US Congress approves legislation creating the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York…now one of the oldest military academies in the world. The post had been created during the Revolutionary War on the Hudson River…Gen. George Washington at one time used it as his command post…and Gen. Benedict Arnold betrayed his country when he connived with the British in an attempt to give up the post. Just creating the USMA was controversial for a nation that didn’t even believe in having a standing Army. It’s initial purpose was primarily to teach Engineering. My military friends can tell us how important engineering is to military operations. One of the first superintendents of the USMA, Sylvanus Thayer, is credited with establishing the high standards now famous for West Point. One of his instructors, Dennis Hart Mahan, so impressed with Thayer, named his child after him…Arthur Thayer Mahan…who would go on to be the author and creator of US Naval strategy in the 19th and 20th Centuries, writing, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, which influenced the creation of modern navies.