History & Culture
Fort Monroe was designed by the French military engineer Brigadier General Simon Bernard, Fort Monroe (sometimes called Fortress Monroe) was conceived as an element of the Third System of coastal defenses outlined by Congress in the aftermath of the War of 1812.
The history of Fort Monroe holds a vital link to a more complete understanding of freedom and equality in the United States. Click here for more stories about Fort Monroe and its connection to social injustice on the landscape.
Did You Know?
Robert E. Lee, a 24 year-old West Point-trained engineer, was posted to Fortress Monroe (1831-34) to complete construction of the fort. While stationed there, Lee married Mary Custis, great granddaughter of Martha Washington and the Lees’ first child, son Custis Lee, was born at the fort in 1832.