Virginia Beach is surrounded by many active military bases. Fort Monroe is an Army base 40 minutes from Virginia Beach.
The original Fort was established in 1609 and known as Fort Algernourne, the Fort burnt down a few years after it was built in 1612.
The two Forts that followed Fort Algernourne were the Old Point Comfort which was built 1632 and Fort George in 1749, both of these Forts were hit hard by hurricanes, and were partly destroyed
A few years after the war in 1812 Fort Monroe was built, it’s objective was to protect America from attacks via the Sea.
Fort Monroe is the largest stone-built fort in the country and has played a vital part in protecting the Hampton Roads / Virginia Beach area.
The Casemate Museum on Fort Monroe was opened in 1951 to show the cell that Jefferson Davis was kept in during the civil war. As time has gone by, the museum has expanded to display a lot of interesting artifacts from the 19th century. There are newspaper clippings, artist’s drawings, clothing and uniforms worn by the military, medical instruments, weapons, displays showing how the rooms were once used, and much more.
When you first enter the museum it takes a few moments for your eyes to adjust to the darkness, there are only a few windows to let in light and low archways for doors, so be sure to watch your head while walking through.
Walking through the museum you witness many historical moments that Fort Monroe took part in. for example holding Major General Jefferson Davis in a jail cell and Benjamin Butlers decision to allow escaped slaves to say at the fort are just two of the displays on show.
Once you have walked through the museum take time to walk up onto the Fort wall, we stood in awe and tried to imagine the canons firing simultaneously trying to protect the bay. We counted 30 spaces for canons on one part of the wall, it is impossible to imagine how loud it would have been when they were all firing.
If you want to visit the Casemate museum you will need Photo Identification as Fort Monroe is an active military base, if you are driving on to the base expect to show your vehicle registration or rental agreement and for your car to be inspected.
For more information about the Casemate museum call 757-788-3391.