Forgotten Forts Series - Fort Norfolk

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
My fourth installment in the Forgotten Forts Series

Fort Norfolk - Norfolk, Virginia

Fort Norfolk was begun in the late 1700s as part of the 1794 harbor defense program established by George Washington. Fort Norfolk was meant for the defense of the city of Norfolk which had been shelled during the Revolutionary War and for the most part destroyed and the nearby navy yard. The orginal fortification consisted of mostly earthworks. In 1809 the fort was updated as a brick fortification. The fort saw no action during the War of 1812 and because of larger and more strategically placed fortifications like Fort Monroe and Wool the fortress soon was put on on caretaker status until 1849 when the United States Navy took over the installation for their own use.

LVA00013x.jpg
In the early days of the Civil War when Gosport Navy Yard was abandoned so too was Fort Norfolk. Confederate forces were quick to occupy both locations in April of 1861. During the forts occupation by Confederate forces its stores were put to quick use supplying the newly completed CSS Virginia and other CSN vessels. With Union troops bearing down on Norfolk in 1862 Confederates withdrew leaving the fort to the Union troops. Under Union command the fort served as both a hospital and also as a prison mostly for the crews of captured blockade runners until 1863 when the fort was then transferred back to the navy for their use. Fort Norfolk would be saved from any serious combat in the war and came away without much damage.
IA1a (Fort Norfolk From River).jpg


Later in the 1900s Fort Norfolk would be taken charge of by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Today it still survives amongst large buildings that line the banks flanking Norfolk. It is open to the public free of charge and open weekdays. When I was stationed briefly in Norfolk during my time in the Marine Corps I was able to visit this fort. The local government has dumped quite a few dollars into this fort trying to save it and have done an excellent job however it remains primarily unknown to most people.

http://fortwiki.com/Fort_Norfolk
http://hamptonroads.com/2009/03/fort-norfolk-be-spruced-and-preserved
http://www.usgwarchives.net/va/portsmouth/shipyard/imageindex/imageindex.html
 

ExNavyPilot

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2010
Location
Chesapeake, VA
Here's a link to a Mapquest satellite shot of Fort Norfolk today.
http://mapq.st/TvuLuN
It's easily recognizable when compared to the 1860 map in the original post.

Embarrassingly, I have not yet toured the place. It's only open during the week, which makes it a bit hard to see unless I play hooky take leave from work. Guess I'll have to make the trip soon.

Interesting (?) factoid: The fort is along the Elizabeth River at one end of Front Street. At the other end of Front Street, about 500 yds from the fort, is the Norfolk headquarters for the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, the same people who wanted everyone to call fish "sea kittens" because then they'd be less likely to catch and eat them. I wonder what Confederate or Union soldiers would have made of that. :O o: :nah disagree: :confused: :x3: :unsure: :giggle: :eek:
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Interesting (?) factoid: The fort is along the Elizabeth River at one end of Front Street. At the other end of Front Street, about 500 yds from the fort, is the Norfolk headquarters for the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, the same people who wanted everyone to call fish "sea kittens" because then they'd be less likely to catch and eat them. I wonder what Confederate or Union soldiers would have made of that. :O o: :nah disagree: :confused: :x3: :unsure: :giggle: :eek:

Anytime I was shooting into the city from Sewells Point and saw the big PETA sign on the side of the building I threw up in my mouth a little.
 

M E Wolf

Colonel
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Location
Virginia
Hummmm this is a good series, NFB22. I'm going to "Report" it for the sake of the owner/CivilWarTalk to take a look see and see if we can't put Lost Forts somewhere so you can have a home for this very necessary subject. As frequently as these forts and/or battlefields disappear and or any historical location is lost--those who remember die off--it will be gone forever.

Now to find the other three installments!!!!!! :thumbsup:

M. E. Wolf
POSTED IN THE CAPACITY OF MODERATOR
Nov. 29, 2012 6:50 p.m.
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
Hummmm this is a good series, NFB22. I'm going to "Report" it for the sake of the owner/CivilWarTalk to take a look see and see if we can't put Lost Forts somewhere so you can have a home for this very necessary subject. As frequently as these forts and/or battlefields disappear and or any historical location is lost--those who remember die off--it will be gone forever.

Now to find the other three installments!!!!!! :thumbsup:

M. E. Wolf
POSTED IN THE CAPACITY OF MODERATOR
Nov. 29, 2012 6:50 p.m.

Thanks Wolf, just trying to share a little knowledge to remind people of some of the more forgotten sites. If more people hear about them and visit theres less of a chance they'll be lost like so many battlefields and forts that already have.

The first three were Fort Alcatraz, Fort Clinch, and Fort Warren
 

M E Wolf

Colonel
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Location
Virginia
NFB22,

If you are so inclined, do please copy paste your previous posts in this thread and reference the other posts in the other threads on Forts Alcatraz, Clinch and Warren. This might be helpful to link the other threads you started about these lost Forts.

If people are interested in reading about this one, they might enjoy reading the others. This way you wouldn't have to answer individually about other articles/threads/posts. They can see your hard work by clicking onto the next link.

Really enjoyable. Please continue sir!

M. E. Wolf
 

NFB22

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Location
Louisville, KY
NFB22,

If you are so inclined, do please copy paste your previous posts in this thread and reference the other posts in the other threads on Forts Alcatraz, Clinch and Warren. This might be helpful to link the other threads you started about these lost Forts.

If people are interested in reading about this one, they might enjoy reading the others. This way you wouldn't have to answer individually about other articles/threads/posts. They can see your hard work by clicking onto the next link.

Really enjoyable. Please continue sir!

M. E. Wolf

I tried to do that on the last one, it just slipped my mind on this one. Here is the Fort Clinch writeup with the previous threads listed at the bottom of the original post.

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/forgotten-forts-series-fort-clinch.77816/
 
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