In September 2011, the United States Army will leave Fort Monroe in Virginia and control of the site will revert to the state. The battle for preservation will then ensue.
Fort Monroe played a strategic role during the Civil War. Though located in Virginia, it remained an important Union base. From the fort, Union forces launched their campaign to take parts of the Carolina coasts. The Army of the James formed at the fort. Benjamin Butler made his decision not to return escaped slaves back to Confederate custody at the fort. Jefferson Davis spent his two years of imprisonment there after the war. The place has clear historical value.
However, as we've learned from the loss at the Wilderness, historical heritage may not be able to compete with shopping and development. It is very important for historical preservationists to launch a public relations campaign to win over the local people. The ultimate decision will rest with the Hampton City Council. These politicians will not turn over the site for commercial use if the voters do not want it. Our task must be to prevail with the local people. All else will follow.
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