Fort Monroe, VA – 01 DEC 2010

I had to take a connecting flight through Chicago, just before landing they announced there were four Marines accompanying the body of a comrade and would we all remain seated to allow them to deplaned. It was the first time I ever saw people remain seated after a plan door had been opened. These were the images I was able to capture.

The next day I was back at Fort Monroe; when I visited in June, I had no idea I would be teaching here in December: This place was so unique; I had to include an aerial view:
See the water surrounding the hexagon land? That's the moat, inside which my training room was located. It required driving through a small carriage size brick tunnel.
There are three tunnel entrances but only one with base-relief columns. After taking this shot, I discovered an antique postcard in the post museum with the same image: The window on the left has been turned into a pedestrian walkway.I read a book about the ghosts of Fort Monroe, it said you could see the hardware used for the pulley draw-bridge but I think it must have been a draw-gate not a bridge since the fort was built in 1834 and the above image is Civil-War era and shows no sign of a draw-bridge.
This is the same gate on a silver Victorian card holder:
There are many reports of ghost sightings and mischievous spirits. It's no wonder, with so many old buildings with great historical events involving people such as Abraham Lincoln, General Grant, Jefferson Davis & his wife, Chief Black Hawk, and Edgar Allen Poe.
Built as peacetime garrison for about 600 Soldiers, its original mission was to provide coastal defense.
It supported around 5,000 Soldiers during the Civil War, and remained part of the Union despite being surrounded by Confederate territory.

Fort Monroe will be closed under the Base Realignment and Closure Act, but many of the buildings on the installation are protected as national historic landmarks, according to the base's official Web site ( .
Fort Monroe is the largest stone fort ever built in the United States and the only moat-encircled fort remaining in active duty.
The casemates, or vaulted chambers inside the fort's walls, consist of a series of arches above, below and in the walls that connect the chambers to one another, giving the structure formidable strength. Casemates allowed solders to fire cannons from relative safety. Fort Monroe's outside walls are 10 feet thick. The casemates in these walls have been used for defense, living quarters, a prison, an officers' club and a museum.
I loved everything being decorated for Christmas.
When I took this next shot at sunset, I thought there was a Christmas tree at the top:
But when I returned in the morning, I could see the lighthouse still has its' lens and it was just wrapped in Christmas lights.
The museum must have a large collection of vintage sheet music if they could display this many with Christmas themes.
Tinky Winky assists with mapping coordinates. There was a wealth of artifacts found in the moat, including all these bottles which show 100 years of changing glass technology. Row 1 & 2: Beer bottles, Row 3: Wine, Row 4 & 5: Soda, Row 6: Whiskey, Row 7: Liquor and Row 8: Flask.
TW wanted to be shot out of cannon...I didn't have the heart to tell her, she was facing the wrong direction:
An important decision was made here in 1861 when General Butler refused to return three escaped slaves to their Masters, declaring them contraband of war. By the end of the war, 10,000 people had applied to gain "contraband" status.
Tinky Winky helps Edgar Allen Poe write The Cast of the Amontillado. I learned that this 32-pounder seacoast gun could inflect maximum damage by shooting red hot iron shots which cause enemy ships to catch fire. This is inside the casemate. Above you can see a second gun in the background, there were several rooms of them. Below shows the original tracks which were used to rotate the weapon.
Behind the Casemate Museum is an "L" shape tunnel that leads to a pedestrian walk-way across the moat. There is a warning sign for bicyclists to dismount (the second tunnel is about six feet high).
I had to lighten these shots to show the details, but there wasn't much light and it really felt very spooky, not a place to visit after dark.
While I was photographing inside the tunnel, I heard loud, fast, footsteps approaching...I turned to grab a shot but it moved too fast:
I was told there is a pet cemetery on the top of the casemate but it took me several attempts before I found it. Not here:
Found it: