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ACHP Honors Army Partnership That Preserved Fort Monroe, Virginia
WASHINGTON, D.C.– The U.S. Army and its partners were recognized with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s (ACHP) Chairman’s Award for Federal Achievement in Historic Preservation for exemplary actions to preserve and protect into the future the richly historic and irreplaceable Fort Monroe, Virginia.
“When the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) legislation mandated the closure of Fort Monroe, it marked the beginning of a process that would involve hundreds of people and countless hours of work, to ensure that the future of this National Historic Landmark would be secure even after leaving Department of the Army ownership and protection,” said John L. Nau, III, chairman of the ACHP, in presenting the award. “This is the accomplishment that we honor today.”
Fort Monroe dates to 1819, originally constructed as part of a proposed chain of forts stretching from Florida to Maine after the War of 1812 demonstrated the need for coastal defenses. The unique sevensided fort surrounded by a moat covered 63 acres when initially completed. It was then the largest fort in the United States of America, and larger than any fort in Europe that didn't enclose a town. The fort helped make possible the retaining of much of the area's coastline under U.S. control during the Civil War, and from its walls the epic fight between the C.S.S. Virginia and the U.S.S. Monitor was witnessed.
On May 23, 1861, three escaped slaves were given refuge by Fort Monroe commander Major General Benjamin Butler. Making policy on the spot, he declared them to be “contraband of war” and refused to return them to Confederate masters. By war’s end, more than 10,000 enslaved persons had been sheltered by the fort. Additionally, Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis was held captive there for more than two years after the war ended.
Joe Calcara, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations and Environment, and Colonel Anthony Reyes, Fort Monroe Garrison Commander, accepted the award on behalf of the Department of the Army.
Receiving partnership commendations for their key roles among the more than 32 consulting parties involved in preserving the fort were: Kathleen Kilpatrick, Virginia State Historic Preservation Officer; William Armbruster, Executive Director of the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority; Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and Chris Lehnertz, Acting Associate Director for Cultural Resources, National Park Service.
THE ACHP: The ACHP, an independent federal agency, promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of the nation’s historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. It also provides a forum for influencing federal activities, programs, and policies that impact historic properties. For more detailed information, see www.achp.gov.