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JOHN JAMES ABERT - (1788-1863) - Army Engineer, born
Sheperdstown, Va. Graduated at West Point (1811), was
employed by War Dept. in Washington, resigning his commission
(1813) to practice law. Served as private in the militia
(1813), taking part in battle of Bladensburg, Md. Reappointed
as major (1814), assisted in geodetic survey of Atlantic
coast (1816). Later became chief of corps of topographical
engineers (1838-61), and was instrumental in founding the
national institute of science, later known as the Smithsonian