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David DuBose Gaillard

David DuBose Gaillard; teatime in Panama




David DuBose Gaillard (1859–1913)
CLASS OF 1884

Until 1903 Gaillard enjoyed a solid and typical army engineering career. After graduation from West Point and promotion to first lieutenant in 1887, he married Katherine Ross Davis; the couple had one child. In 1903 Gaillard was appointed to the new General Staff Corps, where he met his future boss, George Goethals. When Goethals went to Panama in 1907, he brought Gaillard along.

Goethals’s reorganization of canal construction placed Gaillard in charge of the notorious Culebra Cut through the backbone of the isthmus. He succeeded, but did not live to see the job finished. Suffering from what was thought to be nervous exhaustion brought on by overwork, he returned to the United States in 1913. In fact, Gaillard had suffered a fatal brain tumor. The Panama Canal opened nine months after his death, and Culebra Cut was renamed Gaillard Cut in his honor.



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America in the Great War




Key Figures






Thomas Lincoln Casey
Thomas Lincoln Casey
1831–1896
Class of 1852



George Washington Goethals
George Washingon Goethals
1858–1928
Class of 1880



David DuBose Gaillard
David DuBose Gaillard
1859–1913
Class of 1884





Smithsonian National Museum of American History


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