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tv   American Artifacts Fort Monroe Casemate Museum  CSPAN  August 29, 2021 5:52am-6:11am EDT

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know, kind of what i talked about the three phases the his role in the battle his role in the historiography and his role in the preservation and he's i've said at the outset if you love gettysburg as much as we do, i think it's important to understand all of the phases of dance sickles his career love him or not hate him or not. love to hate him or hate to love them. so all right with that. i think we're almost out of time. i'm seeing the q in the back of the room. thank you and thanks. you're watching american history tv explore our nation's past every saturday on c-span 2. the largest stone fort in the united states sits at the mouth of the chesapeake bay near, hampton, virginia up next fort monroe case-mate museum director, robin reed gives us a tour showcasing the fort's history from the colonial era through its completion in 1834 and its role in the civil war.
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welcome to fort monroe located here on the very pleasant place. we call point comfort. actually, we call it old point comfort and that's been that way for a long long time. it is here that over 400 years of history have occurred. in fact some would say even longer some would say even thousands of years. we're inside the case-mate museum aptly named because you're actually inside a case-mate the case made is nothing more than a vault inside of fort wall. so you're actually inside the fort wall kind of unique for museums in this day in time. we're going to walk you through the case may museum and talk about the very interesting history that occurs here some of our stories will deal with the virginia indians the africans that first arrived here and they're plight during the american civil war. thousands and thousands of years ago the natives of this land started to migrate they migrated as far as far west as mexico.
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the mississippi river valley they migrated as far south as south america and central america. they migrated all the way here to point comfort where fort monroe is located today. they were hunters they were gatherers and they led they lived a very successful and prosperous life there. in 16:07 the english to come here and by that time the virginia unions had learned and mastered the art of cultivation. the english would struggle the first few years, but they too would prosper. we know from mr. john rolfe to secretary of colony that in 1619 20 and odd -- arrived here at point comfort. they were traded for goods. after that, we see the evolution of laws and rules and regulations that will start to manage the african population here in hampton. next. we're going to look at the 1812
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and find out why this fort is now an existence and how it came about. why is the largest stone fort in the united states here today the war of 1812 was a backdrop to that story? in 1812 the british once again invaded the united states they arrived right here at the chesapeake bay. and there was no one here to stop them and moved all the way up to chesapeake bay. they burned our capital city of washington dc and they were finally stopped at a place called baltimore the reason fort mchenry after the war of 1812 the president of the united states james madison said we knew establish fortifications all up and down our eastern seaboard. they recruited interesting enough general simone bernard a french engineer who came and helped us establish what we call the third system forts today.
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fort monroe is an example of the largest and best of all those forts. in 1819 there was decided that this location point comfort would be the location for fort monroe. they began constructed almost immediately and didn't finish until 1834. the model that we see today is exactly what it would look like. in 1834 when the first soldiers would come to populate this fortification and be the defense or the gibraltar of the chesapeake. the frenchman general simone. bernard was a very intelligent engineer and created many facets to this fort that made it one of the strongest strongholds here in the united states. one of the things he did is that he had several angles on this fort so as the enemy approached the individual fort walls, there could be crossfired from different angles on the fort on
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the enemy. you also notice it has a moat this moat. it was really originally designed to allow to move materials around the fort to help but that's construction. after the fort was completed the most obviously becomes another level of the fence for fort monroe. fort monroe the largest stone fort in the united states even today started its construction in 1819. it would take them all the way to 18. 34 to finish the construction of the fort the original intition of the fort was to house 32 pound artillery pieces to fire upon ships entering the chesapeake bay. it has a water exposure and really didn't worry too much about the defense of the land behind it. fort monroe will remain the strong force of our artillery
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and might all the way up into the american civil war. we're looking at a 32 pound artillery tube. we know that this tube was built in. 1846 every case mate that we're standing at would have one of these beasts inside of it to far out through the fort's window at the approaching enemy usually upon naval vessels. it would take anywhere from 9 to 11 men to load and fire a 32 pounder and it gets its name because of fired a 32 pound cannonball. this would be the workhorse of the military during the war of 1812 all the way up to the american civil war. in order to fire a 32 pounder you would need a crew of about 9 to 11 individuals and let me just kind of point out some of
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the positions that they would hold you would have a number one and a number two man. they're responsibility was to make sure that the firing mechanism of this gun was in place so they would punch the powder bag. they would set the fuse and they would run to lanyard in order to fire this gun at the front of the tube. you would have the men who would actually load the projectiles one man would be responsible of cleaning the tube out ramen the projectile down to the back of this gun, but also with there to help load the ammunition from the men carrying the projectiles and powder up from their supply. so two men in the back two men in the front you'd have a gunner who would be responsible for in these days. we call pointing the gun not aiming to gun towards whatever the terry objective might be sometimes you would have another commanding officer who'd be responsible for a series of guns
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being fired fired at the same time. it would take anywhere from about a minute to 75 seconds to load and fire of 32 pounder. these 32 pounders that we're looking at today. were the workhorse of the united states military all the way through the american civil war? fort monroe was a was one of the largest strongholds of the united states military. but it never fell into the confederate hands. the department of defense made sure that this fort was secure on the very eve of the american civil war. what you should know about these 32 pounders and what you should know about fort monroe is that these guns were never fired and anger. this fort was never attacked and that speaks to its strength and how imposing it is to the enemy. what did slavery look like
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before the american civil war? slaves were used primarily for agriculture and this map gives us a very good indication of where that agriculture was taking place. if we look at the eastern seaboard, you notice that the darker the areas are indicates the more slavery. there was the commonwealth of virginia certainly was growing things like tobacco cultivating cotton and you can see how intense or how populous the slave enslaved people were here in virginia at the time. let's go down to georgia. you can notice where they're growing rice in different things down here. once again, we have a concentration of enslaved individuals. the mississippi river valley same thing they're growing cotton and other cultivating cash crops that allow whites to be able to capitalize on that. once again look at the
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concentration of enslaved people in the mississippi river valley. in bay of 1861. there was a perfect storm. several things came together to create what we call today the contraband decision. the first thing that occurred is that abraham lincoln promoted and a sign major general benjamin butler to come and take command of fort monroe. almost on the heels of that the commonwealth of virginia who had been sitting on the fence on whether or not to stay under the protection of the united states are joined to confederacy finally made a decision and that decision was indeed. they would join the new confederate government and invite the national capital to be removed to the city of richmond, virginia. butler takes command, virginia leaves the union during all this
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three individuals three brave individuals baker townsend mallory would steal a ship? row across the chesapeake bay present themselves at the gate of the american soldiers and say we're run away slaves seek be refugees and protection. they were invited into the fort the very next day major general benjamin butler interviewed the three individuals and he found out that these individuals were being used for the use of the confederate army to build trenches and to do chores around the confederate camp. that same day the owners of these individual slaves came to retrieve them citing the fugitive slave act, which was the law of the land of the united states saying that you had a runaway slave you by law had to return them to their owners. benjamin butler being the lawyer that he was in his former life said this ah so you're quoting
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united states law my understanding. is that the state of virginia has left the union united states law no longer applies to you now if you want to swear allegiance to the united states, you can have your slaves back, but if not, i'm going to seize them as contrabands of war because you're using them against my soldiers in the united states army. i will seize them and i will keep them and you no longer can have your slaves. this will create a mass of folks coming to fort monroe to seek their freedom. what start out with three men become 10,000 by the end of the american civil war and four short years. jefferson davis demand as a contradiction jefferson davis in this early life was a graduate united states military academy. he served in the frontier with the united states army. he was secretary of war under president pierce. he served the united states
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congress. they also served in the united states senate. and he and his wife. were the host during james buchanan's administration in washington, dc? when the south left and formed their own government, they invited jefferson davis. to become its first and only president. jefferson davis would accept that invitation and become the president of the confederate states of america. we're standing in the cell where jefferson davis was held at the conclusion of the american civil war. in 1965 jefferson davis received word from general robert e. lee the commander of the army of northern virginia that they no longer could hold the federal army back from attacking the city of richmond. with that news jefferson davis adjourned his cabinet and sent his family on the road for their protection.
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jefferson davis soon after that would follow he would finally catch up with his family right below right above the florida state line. it is here where a federal mounted unit was able to capture him and his family. jefferson davis was placed on a boat and moved back up here to fort monroe and incarcerated in this very cell. some people ask why the main reason is that jefferson davis was indicted on three federal charges one for treason two complicit in the assassination of abraham lincoln and three the mistreatment of federal soldiers in prison by the confederate states army. in order to answer those charges and federal court. he had to be in a place where his last residency occurred and that would be enrichment the white house of the confederacy. it is here. he will stay four months. he will remain incarcerated here at fort monroe for almost two
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years. he would never see his day of court. he would never be acquitted and he would retire and write his memoirs and live to the age of 80. with the understanding that jefferson davis was charged with three federal indictments. many folks in the united states men of wealth men of influence decided that that was not going to be the best way to heal the nation to try jefferson davis with the fear that he might be acquitted would cast a shadow over. 3.2 million people going to war and over 750,000 of them losing their lives. at the conclusion of the american civil war the priority of not only our congress. and the president but the citizens of the united states was to reunite the country to make us once again a strong union. for this reason many confederate officers would not be charged
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with the role of treason. in fact, we see many of those officers actually have roles and occupy positions within ulysses s scratch administration. we're looking at the american flag of the united states. this flag is from the american civil war. and tradition has that this flag actually hung in jefferson. davis's cell to remind him on a daily basis of the crimes that he had committed against his former federal government. the history of jefferson davis is a very complex one and one that we hear at the caseman museum tries to look at all aspects of this cell doors probably one of the most important artifacts from jefferson davis's incarceration here at fort monroe. it's behind this very door that he would look out and realize
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that the american civil war was over and that the confederacy was no longer part of the historic narrative of the united states. we've taken on a tour the case on ecm all the way through the american civil war but there's so much more here to see. in the late 19th and early 20th century fort monroe comes a very important trading ground for the united states military. it is here that almost every artillerus in the united states. army was trained this fort would later become a very important defensive position for the chesapeake bay showing some of the most modern weapons of our time. later, fort monroe would come to center of training and doctrine command for the united states army. the rest of our museum talks about not only the military history that occurred here, but the social aspects of point comfort here at fort monroe. it is here to the rest of our exhibits. you'll learn how the social
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aspects of virginia merge with the military aspects of fort monroe. this is a living breathing viable community and would stay that way always until it's closure in 2011. you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website cspan dot org slash history. weekends on c-span 2 are an intellectual feast every saturday american history tv documents america's story and on sundays book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors funding for c-span 2 comes from these television companies and more including buckeye broadband.


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