Fort Monroe National Monument and the Casemate Museum is at 20 Bernard Rd. Named in honor of President James Monroe, the fort was built between 1819 and 1834 and was continuously occupied by the Army 1823-2011. A moat surrounds the structure, which resembles a seven-pointed star.
After the Civil War, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was confined here until 1867. Visitors can view his prison cell at the Casemate Museum, which contains exhibits about the battle between the ironclads and other important events of the Civil War. Coast Artillery memorabilia—including photographs, historic documents and uniforms—is displayed.
Established as the 396th unit in the national park system in 2011, the 565-acre site encompasses more than 150 historic buildings as well as such natural features as 8 miles of waterfront and the Algernon Oak, one of the oldest oaks in the Fort Monroe area. The tree was believed to be growing when the first English colonists arrived in 1607.
In May, Fort Monroe is the site of the “Contraband Decision” Commemoration Series, which encompasses ceremonies, living-history tours and a candlelight procession. Fourth of July festivities at the fort offer family-friendly activities and a fireworks display. Other special events include military band concerts and a summer music series.
Guided tours are available. Recreational activities are permitted. Camping is permitted. Picnicking is permitted.