For many enslaved men, women, and children, Fortress Monroe became their place to find and create freedom. Self-emancipation pressured Union military officers and Federal politicians to face the realities of slavery and question how freedom could cripple the local Southern homefronts and potentially reduce military effectiveness.
If you’re not able to visit Fortress Monroe in person for the 160th Anniversary of General Benjamin Butler’s arrival and subsequent decisions to not return self-emancipated individuals to bondage, there’s still good news. There are some virtual resources to explore and dig deeper into this important place and events in Civil War history:
Interactive Timeline of Fortress Monroe’s History
Created through a National Park Service Study, this resources “walks” through history from 1607 to 2011, exploring important, turning point moments which happened where the James River meets the Chesapeake Bay.
View timeline here: https://fortmonroe.org/about/fort-monroe/timeline/
Virtual Tour of Fort Monroe – “Where Freedom Lives”
Explore the sights, displays, and history around this historic site and navigate through the walkways, Casemate Museum, Flag Staff Bastion, General’s Residence, Parade Grounds, Lee’s Quarters, a chapel, the Old Oak Tree, and the Lincoln Gun.
Begin the tour virtually here: https://tourmkr.com/F1CpMy3Cxl/11978135p&356.26h&90.49t