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

Fort Wool

Robert E. Lee

 
 
Fort Wool Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 22, 2010
1. Fort Wool Marker
Inscription. In the summer of 1834, having supervised Fort Monroe's completion, engineer Robert E. Lee took up residence in Fort Calhoun's officer's quarters. Three years earlier, ominous fissures had materialized in the citadel's stone piers and arches. Unexpectedly, the weight added by the fort's walls was causing a renewed settling of the Rip Raps, and all construction was halted until the settling subsided. Lee was assigned responsibility for the placement of load stone and sand on the fort's exterior and interior to hasten the island's settling process. Lee began to sense that to finish the fort might be "too great a labor even for a Hercules."

President Andrew Jackson contemplated fundamental changes to the bastion and apparently ordered alterations in its design. A frustrated Lee complained that "the President has played the devil with the plan for Fort Calhoun."

Lee's other duties were light and routine. He dealt with captains of vessels carrying stone to the island, which required examining the material for quality, size, and weight, followed by the filing of repetitious reports. He was also subjected to a bevy of bothersome inspections. During sweltering July temperatures, the Inspector General of the Army, Col. John E. Wool, arrived for yet another visit. Nettled by this redundancy, Lee hoped that Wool would enjoy
Fort Wool Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 22, 2010
2. Fort Wool Marker
his "dose of heated granite."

After two months at Fort Calhoun, and because of his good work, Lee was reassigned to Washington, where he was promoted to be assistant to the U.S. Army's Chief of Engineers.
 
Erected by VisitHampton.com and Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Location. 36° 59.21′ N, 76° 18.128′ W. Marker is in Norfolk, Virginia. Touch for map. Fort Wool is not accessible by car and can only be accessed by guided boat tour. Marker is in this post office area: Norfolk VA 23503, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Fort Wool (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Monroe Concrete Seawall Eastern Terminus (approx. one mile away); First Africans in Virginia (approx. one mile away); Old Point Comfort Light (approx. one mile away); Lantaka (approx. 1.1 miles away); Spanish 1-½ Pounder (approx. 1.1 miles away); 12-Pounder Howitzer (approx. 1.1 miles away); 3 – Inch Ordnance Rifle (approx. 1.1 miles away).
 
More about this marker. Although Fort Wool is not accessible by car, it can be seen from the Chesapeake Bay shore of Fort Monroe or from the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (I-64). Access
Robert E. Lee image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 22, 2010
3. Robert E. Lee
Newly married to the granddaughter of George Washington's wife, twenty-four-year-old 2nd Lt. of Army Engineers Robert E. Lee brought his bride Mary Custis to Old Point Comfort in the spring of 1831, where, as his older brother Charles Carter Lee wrote, "he and his bride would retreat to the walls and waves of Castle Calhoun."
Portrait, William E. West, 1838
Courtesy Washington and Lee University
to Fort Wool is available via Miss Hampton II cruises leaving from the Hampton Maritime Center at 710 Settlers Landing Rd, Hampton, VA 23669 (see link below).
 
Also see . . .
1. Fort Wool. Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau (Submitted on July 23, 2015.) 

2. Miss Hampton II Harbor Cruises. Boat tours of Hampton Roads include a stop at the historic Civil War island of Fort Wool (weather permitting). (Submitted on July 23, 2015.) 
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US Civil
 
Fort Wool image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 22, 2010
4. Fort Wool
This exterior view of the west end of Fort Wool shows the original case-mates' tightly fitted massive granite blocks, gun embrasures, and differently shaded granite. Lee place the load stone, to settle the island, on this ground and elsewhere. Photograph 2009 - Courtesy David K. Hazzard
Fort Wool, Harper's Weekly, 1864 image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 22, 2010
5. Fort Wool, Harper's Weekly, 1864
In this early scene of the Rip Raps, buildings have been erected, cranes are in place, and piles of stone ring the island. Harper's Weekly, 1864 - Courtesy Hampton History Museum
Fort Wool image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, June 22, 2010
6. Fort Wool
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 23, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 205 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 23, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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