tv American Artifacts Fort Monroe Casemate Museum CSPAN March 31, 2021 7:42pm-8:02pm EDT
>> the largest stone fort in the united states it's at the mouth of the chesapeake bay near virginia. up next fort monroe director robin read gives us a tour showcasing the history from the colonial era to its completion. in 1834 and its role in the civil war. >> welcome to the very pleasant place that we call point comfort. actually we call it all played comfort and it's been named that for a long time. it is here that over 400 years of history have occurred. in fact someone say even longer, some say even thousand or years. you're actually inside a case mate. the case made is nothing more than case made is nothing more than a fault inside the fort wall so you're actually inside the full word. wall kind of unique for museums in this day and time. we will walk you through the casements museum and talk about the very interesting history that occurs here.
some of our stories will deal with the genie indians, the africans who first arrived here and there play during the american civil war. thousands and thousands of years ago, the natives of this land started to migrate and they migrated it as far as far west does mexico and the mississippi river valley. they migrated as far south as south america. they migrated all the way to point -- where fort mcmurray was located today. they were hunters, they were gatherers and they lived at very successful and prosperous lives there. and 16 oh seven, the english would come here and by that time, the virginia union had learned and mastered the art of cultivation. the english would struggle the first few years, they too would prosper. and we know for mr. john -- the secretary of, then in 60 19,
20 and some negroes arrived here in point -- they were traded for goods. after that, we see the evolution of laws and rules and regulations that would start to manage the african american population here in hampton. next, we're going to look at the war of 1812 and find out why this is now in existence and how it came about. it's delay are just eight ford 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 here at the chesapeake bay. and there was no one here to stop them and they moved all the way up to chesapeake bay, they burned our capital city of washington d.c. and they were finally stopped at a place called baltimore. the reason? for truman henry. after the war of 1812, the
president of the united states, james madison said, we need to establish fortifications all up and down our eastern seaboard. they recruited, interestingly enough, general simon bernard, at the french engineer who helped us establish what we call the third system forts that we used today. fort monroe is an example of the largest and best of all those forts. an 1819, it was decided that this location was be the location for fort monroe. they began construction 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 began to populate this fortification. and be the defensive for the gibraltar of the chesapeake. the frenchman, general simone
bernard was a very and tell agent engineer it created many facets to this. fort and he made it one of the strongest strongholds in the united states. one of the things he did is that he had several angles on the fort. so as the enemy approached, they could be cross fired from different angles on the fort on the enemy. the also notice that has a moat. this moat was originally designed to allow them to move materials around the fort to help with construction. after it was completed, the moat made another level of defense for fort monroe. for no is the largest stone fort in the united states, even today. it started its construction in 1819. it would take them all the way until 1834 to finish the construction of the fort. the original intention of the
fort was to house 32 pounds artillery pieces to fire up on ships in the chesapeake bay. it has a water exposure and really didn't worry too much about the offense of the land behind it. this fort would remain this strong fort of artillery might, all the way up until the american civil war. we're looking at a 32-pound artillery tube. we know that this tube was built in 1836. every case made that were standing in would have one of these beasts inside of them to fire out through the forts window at the approaching enemy, usually upon naval vessels. they would take anywhere from nine to 11 men to load and fire the 32 pounder, and it gets his name because it 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 nine to 11 individuals. let me kind of just point out some of the positions that they will foil. you have a number one and that number two man, their 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 views and they would run the lanyard in order to fire. at the front of the tube, you would have the man who would actually lower the projectiles. one man would be responsible of cleaning the two about, romney the project don't throw to the back of this gun, that also 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 corner who would be responsible for, in these days we call pointing the■é'ç g, not aiming the garden towards whatever the military objective might be. sometimes, you would have another commanding officer who would be responsible for a series of guns being fired at the same time. i would take anywhere from about a minute to 35 seconds to load and fire now 32 pounder. these 32 pounders that we're looking at today but, more the workhorse of the united states military, all the way through the american civil war. 40 monroe was one of the largest strongholds of the united states military. but it never fell -- fela fell in the confederate hands. the department of defense made sure that this fort was sick cure on the very eve of the
american civil war. would you should know about these 32 pounders, and what you should know about for row is that these guns were never fired in anger, this fort was never attacked and that speaks to its strength and how imposing it is to the enemy. what does slavery look like before the american civil war? slaves were used primarily for agriculture. and this map gives us a very good indication of what's -- where that agriculture sticking place. if you look at the eastern seaboard, you notice that the darker areas indicate that more slavery there was. the commonwealth of virginia, where they were going things like tobacco, cultivating cotton and you can see how intense or how populous the slave and slave people were here in virginia at the time. let's go down to georgia. if you notice where they're growing rice in different things down here.
and once again, you have a concentration of enslaved individuals. mississippi river valley, same thing. they're growing cotton and author cultivating cash crops that would allow whites to be able to capitalize on that. once again, look at the concentration of enslaved people in the mississippi river valley. invasive 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 assigned major general benjamin butler to come and take command of fort men row. almost on the heels of that, the commonwealth of virginia, who had been sitting on the fence of -- under the protection of the
united states, the 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 williams -- leaves the union. during all of this, three individuals, three brave individuals baker, thompson, mallory white's dealership, roll cross the chesapeake bay, present themselves at the gate of the american soldiers and say, the runaway slaves, seeking refugee and protection. they were invited into the fort. the very next day, major general benjamin butler interviewed the three individuals. and you 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 in the united states and you had a runaway slave, you buy law had to return them to their owners. benjamin butler being the lawyer that he was, and his former life, said this. so, you're quoting the united states law. my understanding is that the state of virginia has left the union. united states law no longer applies to you. 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 contraband of war because you are using them against my soldiers and 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 into for monroe to seek their freedom. with started with three men, become 10,000 by the end of the american civil war and -- in four short years.
jefferson davis demand as a contradiction. jefferson davis in his early life was a graduate of the military ketamine. he served in the front u.s. is already. researchers threw for up president peers. he served the united states congress, he also served in the united states senate. and he and his wife were the host during james mckinnon's administration in washington d.c.. on the south left and for their own government, they invited jefferson davis to become his 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 1865, 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 joined the cabinet, sent his family on the road for the protection. jefferson davis soon after that would follow. he would finally catch up with his family right above the florida state line. it is here where a federal unit was able to capture him and his family. jefferson davis was pushed put on a boat and move 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. to, 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, in federal court, he had to be in a place where homes lost residency occurred, and that would be in richmond, the white house and confederacy. here, he would stay for months, he will remain incarcerated and for tomorrow for almost two years. 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 for three federal indictments, many folks in the united states, and of wealth, might have influence -- the best way to heal the nation. the try jefferson davis with the fear that he might be acquitted, and 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 commerce and the president, but the citizens of united states was to reunite the country. make us once again a strong union. for this reason, many confederate officers would not be charged with the rule of treason. in fact, we've seen many of those officers actually have roles and occupy positions within ulysses s grands 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 hang in jefferson davis is 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
was a very complex one and one that we here at the case museum, tries to look at all aspects of. this cell doors probably one of the most important artifacts for jefferson davis is incarceration here at fort monroe. it's behind this very door that he would look out and realize 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 taking you on a tour of the case museum all the way through the american civil war, butter so much more here to see. in the late 19 and early 20th century, becomes a very important trading ground for the united states military. it is year than almost every or tillerson united states army was trained. this four would later become a very important defensive position for the chesapeake bay, showing some of the most modern weapons of our time. later, 40 monroe come the
center of training and doctrine command for the united states army. the rest of our museum talks about, not only the middle carried history, but the social aspects of point comfort at 14 monroe it is here through the rest of exhibits, to know the social aspects of the virginia merged with the military aspects of fort monroe. this is a living, breathing viable community and would stay that way all the way until this closure in 2011.
fulton, missouri's westminster college invited winston churchill to speak in march of 1946, not long after the british prime minister who guided britain through world war ii was voted out of office. the townspeople welcomed churchill into president harry truman with a parade and 2700 gathered in the college gym and heard churchill declare an iron curtain has descended across the continent. next we look back over 75 years at one of the cold year's most iconic speeches. timothy riley joins us from fulton, missouri with an excerpt from instant shirttails speech. from stettin in the baltic to trieste in the adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of