West Point in the Making of America






David DuBose Gaillard

David DuBose Gaillard; teatime in Panama

David DuBose Gaillard (1859–1913)

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.


America in the Great War

Key Figures

Thomas Lincoln Casey
Thomas Lincoln Casey
Class of 1852

George Washington Goethals
George Washingon Goethals
Class of 1880

David DuBose Gaillard
David DuBose Gaillard
Class of 1884

Smithsonian National Museum of American History

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