Fort Monroe

Fort Monroe (also known as the Fort Monroe National Monument) was a military installation in Hampton, Virginia—at Old Point Comfort, the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula. Within the 565 acres of Fort Monroe are 170 historic buildings and nearly 200 acres of natural resources, including 8 miles of waterfront, 3.2 miles of beaches on the Chesapeake Bay, 110 acres of submerged lands and 85 acres of wetlands. It has a 332 slip marina and shallow water inlet access to Mill Creek, suitable for small watercraft.

When it was operational as a United States Army post, Fort Monroe supported a work population of some 3000, including 1000 people in uniform. The major tenant unit was the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Along with Fort Wool, Fort Monroe guarded the navigational channel between the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads—the natural roadstead at the confluence of the Elizabeth, the Nansemond and the James rivers. Surrounded by a moat, the six-sided stone fort was the last remaining fort in the United States still active as an Army post when it was decommissioned in 2011.

During the initial exploration by the mission headed by Captain Christopher Newport in the earliest days of the Colony of Virginia, the site was identified as a strategic defensive location. In May 1607, they established the first permanent English settlement in the present-day United States about 25 miles further inland from the Bay along the James River at Jamestown. The land area where Fort Monroe is located became part of Elizabeth Cittie in 1619, Elizabeth River Shire in 1634, and was included in Elizabeth City County when it was formed in 1643. Over 300 years later, in 1952, Elizabeth City County and the nearby Town of Phoebus agreed to consolidate with the smaller independent city of Hampton, which became one of the larger cities of Hampton Roads.

Beginning by 1609, defensive fortifications were built at Old Point Comfort during Virginia's first two centuries. However, the much more substantial facility of stone to become known as Fort Monroe (and adjacent Fort Wool on a man-made island across the channel) were completed in 1834. The principal facility was named in honor of U.S. President James Monroe. Throughout the American Civil War (1861–1865), although most of Virginia became part of the Confederate States of America, Fort Monroe remained in Union hands. It became notable as a historic and symbolic site of early freedom for former slaves under the provisions of contraband policies and later the Emancipation Proclamation. For several years thereafter, the former Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, was imprisoned at the fort in the area now known as the Fort Monroe Casemate Museum.

Fort Monroe closed on September 15, 2011. Many of its functions were transferred to nearby Fort Eustis (which was named for Fort Monroe's first commander, General Abraham Eustis, a noted artillery expert). Several re-use plans for Fort Monroe after it was decommissioned are currently under development in the Hampton community.

On November 1, 2011, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation to designate Fort Monroe as a National Monument. This was the first time that President Obama exercised his authority under the Antiquities Act, a 1906 law to protect sites deemed to have natural, historical or scientific significance.

Read more about Fort Monroe:  Commandants List, Fort Monroe Today, Redevelopment Possibilities

Other articles related to "fort monroe, fort":

Fort Monroe - Redevelopment Possibilities
... The Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority (FMFADA) was established as a public body corporate and as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia to serve as ... the best use of the resources that will remain when the Army closed the fort in September 2011 ... The Fort Monroe Reuse Plan was officially adopted August, 2008 and planning updates are available on the FMFADA website ...
Battle Of Big Bethel - Background - Union Holds, Reinforces Fort Monroe
... After the American Civil War began with the formal surrender of Fort Sumter to Confederate forces on April 14, 1861 and President Lincoln's call for volunteers to suppress the rebellion on April 15, 1861 ... the command of Colonel Justin Dimick held Fort Monroe, a nearly impregnable fortress at Old Point Comfort on the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula between the York River and the James River ... The bay was to the east of the fort and Hampton Roads was to the south ...
Peninsula Extension - Hampton Branch: East To Phoebus, Fort Monroe
... Army base at Fort Monroe was a fortress situated to guard the entrance to the harbor of Hampton Roads from the Chesapeake Bay (and the Atlantic Ocean) ... Phoebus, an extension across Mill Creek to reach Fort Monroe required a 2,800-foot (850 m) long trestle and was not completed until 1890 ... At Old Point Comfort, in addition to the Army base at Fort Monroe, the Hampton Branch served both the older Hygeia Hotel and the new Hotel Chamberlin, popular destinations for civilians ...
History Of Hampton Roads - 19th Century - American Civil War, Emancipation and Education of Former Slaves
... Fort Monroe was the launching place for Union General George McClellan's massive 1862 Peninsula Campaign, a land campaign of many months which began at Fort Monroe and advanced up ... Beginning in 1861, some of the former slaves found refuge near Fort Monroe, which remained in Union hands throughout the War ... and the women and children grew in increasing numbers near Fort Monroe in Elizabeth City County ...
Phoebus, Virginia - History
... States Army began construction there of Fort Monroe, which until 2011 had been the oldest active-duty fort in the nation ... the American Civil War, numerous slaves escaped to Fort Monroe and Norfolk, which was occupied by Union forces from 1861 ... facilities for the newly free slaves at the Fort Monroe Contraband Camp, located outside the fort ...

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