Topogs were first appointed officially during the War of 1812.
The topogs were disbanded in 1815 by the act of 3 March that reduced most of the Army.
To carry out the surveys, the president was authorized to hire additional civil engineers to augment the topogs. A further act on 24 May appropriated $75,000 to improve navigation on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
The topogs actually transferred to the Corps of Engineers all their plans and drawings of fortifications.
Throughout the 1830s, the topogs carried out internal improvements to the country, both governmental and private.
Beginning in 1834, the topogs were employed with the construction of lighthouses.
The first war in 1818 had only required the assistance of one of the Army's ten topogs. The second war in 1836 placed a much greater demand on them.
He based his arguments on the solid premise that the work of the topogs was vital to the country's military security and of great benefit to its economic progress.
He pointed out that this move would be less expensive than the continual hiring of civil engineers to perform the work that had been too extensive for the few topogs. He also noted that efficiency would be promoted by ending the practice of detailing line officers, for much time had to be spent in training them--usually two years.
During the late 1830s and 1840s, a number of topogs conducted widespread explorations of the West.