Mahan, Dennis Hart

Mahan, Dennis Hart,

1802–71, American soldier and educator, b. New York City; father of Alfred Thayer Mahan. He graduated (1824) from West Point, and from that year until 1871, except for four years (1826–30) spent in France studying public works and institutions, Mahan taught civil and military engineering at the Military Academy. A recognized authority on military engineering, Mahan wrote texts long considered as standard. As a member of the academic board he also contributed greatly to the development of education at West Point. His works include Complete Treatise on Field Fortifications (1836), Summary on the Cause of Permanent Fortifications and of the Attack and Defense of Permanent Works (1850), and An Elementary Course of Military Engineering (2 vol., 1866–67).
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Mahan, Dennis Hart

(1802–71) military theorist; born in New York City (father of Alfred Thayer Mahan). A West Point graduate (1824), he went to France to study in an army school, then returned to West Point (1832) where he spent the rest of his career as a professor of civil and military engineering. He was known for his books on fortifications and other aspects of military engineering, but it was his theories—particularly his stress on mobility, boldness, and speed—that heavily influenced senior commanders in both the Mexican War and Civil War.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.