Casemate Museum and fort Monroe

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July 1st, 2006

 Casemate Museum, Fort Monroe, VA

There is a lot of photos below because I felt it's important; see, the BRAC list (Base Re-Alignment and Closing list) will be selling off this base or bulldozing it. It's historical. Fort Monroe was named in honor of U.S. President James Monroe. Completely surrounded by a moat, the six-sided stone fort is the only one of its kind left in the United States that is still an active Army post. Fort Monroe is amongst several posts selected to be closed by 2011. I don't see how this base can be torn down.  Let me give you my view of what I see here; though many of the buildings are run down and there are a myriad of designs, some of it is Pre-Civil War era.   It was built between 1819-1834 but goes back further.  Captain John Smith, about 1609 wanted to build here knowing the importance of the land mass to see there. There were 3 fortifications but none lasted.  The War of 1812 made the military realize that there was a need for fortification along these coastal areas, so Fort Monroe was begun a couple years later and was the first and largest built.  During the Civil War, it was reinforced. Land Operations against the Confederates were launched from here including the Battle of Big Bethel in June 1861. Major General George McClellan's Peninsula campaign of 1962 and the Siege of Suffolk in 1863 were launched here as well.  During WWII, Fort Monroe was the headquarters for an array of coast artillery guns as well as submarine barriers and underwater mine fields.  Some memorable things happened here, including the imprisonment of Jefferson Davis in May 1865 (his cel is inside preserved) after the Civil War.  He was imprisoned for plotting to assassinate President Lincoln, mistreating Union Soldiers and treason. Davis was released on $100,000 bail May 13, 1867; two years later charges were dropped. Edgar Allan Poe, spent the winter months of 1828-29 at Fort Monroe, sold his enlistment for $75, ending his career as an army artilleryman. After looking at the gloomy chambers of the Casemate Museum you wonder if he was inspired when writing his tales of horror. Robert E Lee, worked from 1831 to 1834 on the construction of Fort Monroe. His house still stands and is currently being used by officers today. President Lincoln was a visitor to the Fort as well.  A gun is dedicated in his honor and can be seen on the walking tour.  Trees on the fort, especially in the parade grounds area are several hundred years old.  They are unique in the way they are bent over and this alone is reason to preserve the Fort.  As you can see, this Fort is embellished in Rich US history and should be preserved; it's a shame our military and our government has no respect for it.  Admission is free; non-military personnel must sign in at the Visitor's gate for a pass I'd imagine.  No food or beverages on premises or allowed in premises.  There is a small gift shop.    

     Left to right: 1) Canon outside Casemate 2) More Canons 3) Scott with Cannon Balls; General Lee's house in background 4) Cistern 5) Casemate building front.



Left to right: 1) A bedroom for high ranking 2) Music Room 3) Pipe given to Jefferson Davis from Chief Black Hawk (donated by Grandson) 4) Bugle, Fife and Drum; the Fife and Drum were used in battles


Left to right: 1) Soldiers as they would have been 2) Jefferson Davis' Cell 3) Scott outside one of the gates 4) Uniforms during different times in history 5) Postern Gate


Left to right: 1) Canon at the top of the fort's walls 2) the moat 3) a tower (not sure what it is or when constructed) 4) view of the moat from atop the walls of the Fort 5) View from atop of the Fort's walls


Left to right: 1) 15" Rodman gun, called the Lincoln gun in the President's honor; used to bombard Confederate batteries on Sewell's Point 2) Beautiful old trees at the Fort are all bent as is the wind blew them and they were rubber 3) Fort Wool; a small Island Fort 4) Robert E Lee's home while he was stationed at Fort Monroe 5) A house almost identical to General Lee's home; it's next door and this one had no trees obstructing it.


Above: One of the styles of homes on the base


 Informative or interesting links:

List of people buried in Big Bethel Cemetery

My page on the Battle of Big Bethel

My page on Endview Plantation

My page on Lee Hall Mansion

Jefferson Davis

Abraham Lincoln

Robert E Lee

Edgar Allen Poe

Chief Black Hawk

Fort Wool


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