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Fort Monroe

Morning bugle call, the evening gun, grey ships of war stealing in from a misty sea with long plumes of soft black smoke, military uniforms on the streets and trig bright houses are, probably, the average civilian’s impressions of a stay at Old Point Comfort where is located Fort Monroe. “Fort ” or “Fortress,” for the place changes its sex indifferently according to the state of mind of the speaker, it probably satisfies the popular conception of a mighty stronghold of defense more completely than any other such establishment in the United States. And, indeed, it is a great defensive work, guarding one of the most vital points of entrance in this country, menacing hostile approach to the very capital of the country itself. At the southern limit of the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay is a long sandy peninsula whose extremity in times of flood is cut off from the mainland by a narrow wash of water, and on this sometimes isolated tip of the peninsula is situated Fort Monroe. The grounds of the reservation, which includes all of the residence portion of the little community, too, embrace about 280 acres of almost always dry land. The walls of the fort itself encircle the greater part of this number of acres. From the summit of these walls one looks out upon a wide prospect of waters. To the south is Hampton Roads, into which empty the waters of the James, the Elizabeth and the Nansemond Rivers. To the east lies the wide expanse of the lower Chesapeake Bay, giving access to the Potomac and the network of...

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