One of our easiest drives today to our home until the 17th, Oceana NAS Sea Mist Campground on the Atlantic in Virginia Beach, VA. Our drive took us HWY 17 to IH64 and IH 264 only 60 miles. Before departing Pelican Point got one last deer photo though not very clear and a beautiful sunset. After settling in, we went to the Commissary and Exchange for supplies.
|Here's Looking at You|
|Sunset Pelian Point-MCAS|
|Site #38 Sea Mist|
01 April 2018
Today we drove into Hampton area so John could get photos of WW I markers after which we made a return visit to Fort Monroe. Our last visit was in July 2010.
Fort Monroe located at the tip of the Virginia Peninsula guarded the channel between Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads and is surrounded by a moat. The seven sided fort is the largest stone fort built in the US. It sits across from Fort Wool located on an artificial island across the channel which we also visited in 2010. Fort Monroe was completed in 1834 named in honor of President James Monroe.
|Fort Monroe Signage|
|Entrance to Fort Monroe|
|Former Officer Housing|
|Entrance to Casemate Museum|
|Quarter No 1 Where Lincoln Stayed May 1862|
|Quarters No 1-Undergoing rennovation|
|View of Harbor Control Post|
Prior to Fort Monroe, Fort Algernourne (1609-1612) was built and burned in 1612. Another fort known as "the fort at old point comfort" was built in 1632. In 1728 Fort George was built and destroyed by a hurricane in 1749. In 1781 a battery was established on the ruins.
Robert E Lee was stationed here from 1831-1834, playing a major role in the construction of Monroe and Wool aka Calhoun.
|Plaque about Lee's Quarters|
Even though most of Virginia during the Civil War was Confederate, the fort remained in Union control. It became a symbolic site of early freedom for former slaves under provision of contraband policies.The fort's commander, Major General Benjamin Butler stated that the Fugitive Slave Act did not apply to Virginia as it was no longer a part of the US and the freedom seekers would be retained as contraband of the war.As a result, Fort Monroe became known as "Freedom's Fortress". Butler supported education, training and enlistment of members of the Contraband Camp. As a result, thousands of slaves fled to the area around Fort Monroe and over 100 "contraband camps" were built by war's end.
Confederate President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned here for 2 years after being captured at Irwinville,GA in 1865. Due to ill health, he was released on bail provided by prominent citizens of the North and South including Horace Greeley and Cornelius Vanderbilt.
|Plaque about Davis Confine|
The fort during WW I and WW II was used to protect Hampton Roads and inland resources. In 1917 the first anti-submarine net was installed stretching to Fort Wool. During WW II it had an array of coast artillery guns. Since the war it was a major base for training soldiers and recruitment. In 2011 under the 2005 Base Realignment and closure it was decommissioned and many of the functions transferred to nearby Fort Eustis.
Today many of the buildings and housing have been repurposed for civilian use. Although you cannot buy housing, it is rented and maintained. The park is under the National Park System and The Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority. It is designated as an Historic Landmark.
I will write a separate blog on the Casement Museum.
It is always a good feeling to know that history has been preserved by those who care and the many volunteers who dedicate their lives in the name of history.