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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hampton, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Ninteenth-Century Hampton

“Historic and Rather Pretty Village”

 
 
Ninteenth-Century Hampton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 1, 2014
1. Ninteenth-Century Hampton Marker
Inscription. An event that set the stage for Hamptonís new century took place on the night of June 24, 1813 when a large force of British infantry and marines landed on the western edge of town and overwhelmed a much smaller group of defenders. The invaders then sacked the town, murdering and pillaging as they went. The brutal attack helped solidify public opinion about the War of 1812 and galvanize the nation's resolve to protect its ports. Within four years after the incident, granite blocks from a quarry along the Potomac River began arriving at Old Point Comfort. In 1819, construction began on Fort Monroe, one of the largest stone fortresses ever built. This “Gibraltar” would become a powerful federal presence and change the course of history for the entire region. At the same time, a companion bastion, eventually named Fort Wool, rose on an artificial island in Hampton Roads.

Once viewed as a “historic and rather pretty village” with tree-lined streets and brick sidewalks, Hampton would change almost overnight. As the Civil War began, thousands of additional troops poured into Fort Monroe. At the same time, thousands of escaped slaves—treated by the North as “contrabands of war”—were granted sanctuary near the fort. Realizing that Hampton could not be defended, Confederates
Ninteenth-Century Hampton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, September 1, 2014
2. Ninteenth-Century Hampton Marker
put Hampton to the torch, leaving a smoldering heap of ashes.

The war also contained the seeds of Hamptonís recovery. Acting on the need for former slaves to gain an education, in 1868 Gen. Samuel Chapman Armstrong founded Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute to train teachers. The National Soldiers' Home for Union Civil War veterans was begun. Fabulous tourist hotels like the Hygeia and Chamberlin at Old Point Comfort came into being. Finally, northern entrepreneurs turned Hampton into one of the nationís seafood capitals.

(captions)
(left) 1861 engraving showing Fort Monroe, along with the Hygeia Hotel at Old Point Comfort. - Courtesy of the Hampton History Museum
(center) View from the Hampton River of Hamton Institute, now Hampton University. - Courtesy of the Hampton History Museum
(right) "Contraband" enslaved people settled in Hampton, building their homes near the ruins of the town burned by the Confederates Army in 1861. This image appeared in an 1865 issue of Harper's Weekly, based on a photograph taken in Hampton by Alexander Gardner. - Courtesy of the Hampton History Museum
 
Erected 2010.
 
Location. 37° 1.469′ N, 76° 20.611′ W. Marker is in Hampton, Virginia. Marker
Hampton Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher
3. Hampton Markers
is at the intersection of Settlers Landing Road (U.S. 60) and South King Street, on the left when traveling west on Settlers Landing Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hampton VA 23669, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Twentieth-Century Hampton (here, next to this marker); Eighteenth-Century Hampton (a few steps from this marker); Seventeenth-Century Hampton (a few steps from this marker); Langley Field: Creating an Air Force (a few steps from this marker); Langley Field: Discovering Aerospace (a few steps from this marker); Hampton (a few steps from this marker); British Approach to Hampton / The War of 1812 (within shouting distance of this marker); Hampton Is Burned (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hampton.
 
Categories. African AmericansEducationWar of 1812War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 2, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 500 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 2, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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