Monday, November 7, 2011
On Nov. 2, 2011, President Obama designated Hampton Virginia's Ft. Monroe our country's 396th National Park. Named after President James Monroe, the fort was built between 1819 and 1834 on a site long important for the defense of Hampton Roads. This fort was continuously occupied by the US Army until its decommissioning this month. It stayed in Union hands throughout the Civil War, and protected the harbors with massive guns during WW I and WW II
In 1619 Dutch slave traders brought the first African slaves to the peninsula on which the fort was built. However, during the Civil War it became known as the "Freedom Fort" for taking in and protecting run away slaves from throughout the South. Robert E Lee served there before the Civil War and Confederate President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned there at the war's end. It was General George McClellan's headquarters during his 1862 Peninsula Campaign and President Abraham Lincoln visited on several occasions.
Stay here at the Beach and explore this newest of America's National Parks - perhaps as part of your Civil War history tour including some of the battlegrounds along the James River. Go back further in time to the Yorktown Battleground, see Colonial Williamsburg, and watch the archaeological digs at Jamestown. All short day trips from your cozy beach cottage.