L'Enfant, Pierre

L'Enfant, Pierre (1755-1825) Engineer: Born in France in 1755, he became a lieutenant in the French provisional service. In 1777, he came to North America with General Lafayette. That autumn, he entered the Continental Army as an engineer, and was made a captain in 1778. At the siege of Savannah, he was wounded and left on the field. L'Enfant survived, and later served under the immediate command of General Washington, and became a major in 1783. In 1790, the site for the District of Columbia was chosen. L'Enfant asked to have "a share in the undertaking.: Andrew Ellicot and Benjamin Banneker surveyed the boundaries of the district. L'Enfant presented his plan for the city, a grand and ambitious concept which had broad avenues and elegant buildings. Implementing his plan became a difficult venture, as L'Enfant experienced conflicts with local landowners. He finally quit the project, taking his plans with him. Work on the city continued, however, because Banneker had already memorized L'Enfant's plans. Washington, D.C.'s offices opened to the public in 1800; and the national seat of government officially moved from Philadelphia, although many buildings and residences still were being built. In 1794, L'Enfant was employed as an engineer at Fort Mifflin. He declined an 1812 appointment as Professor of Engineering at the West Point Military Academy. L'Enfant continued his engineering/architectural interests by designing a house for Robert Morris in Philadelphia. The home L'Enfant had designed was so large and elaborate, however, that Morris could not afford to complete it. L'Enfant died in Prince George's County, Maryland, on June 14, 1825.