Fort Monroe: My Union ancestor recovers

Letter F: Sixth of twenty-six posts in the April 2016 Blogging From A to Z Challenge. Wish me luck and please join me on the journey!

During the U.S. Civil War, Fort Monroe near Hampton, Virginia, became known as the “Freedom Fort” for providing refuge to African Americans liberating themselves from slavery.

Fort Monroe, Virginia. On 15 March 1865, my great, great grandfather Union Pvt. Arthur Bull was admitted to the hospital at Fort Monroe with functional disease of the heart. Photo by David
Fort Monroe, Virginia. On 15 March 1865, my great, great grandfather Union Pvt. Arthur Bull was admitted to the hospital at Fort Monroe with functional disease of the heart. He remained until he returned to duty in May 1865. Photo by David

The fort is also part of my family history because — 151 years ago this month — my Union Army ancestor Arthur Bull recuperated there from war related illness.

The following major historical events occurred while my great, great grandfather Arthur was laid up in hospital at Fort Monroe — far from his family and the federal comrades-in-arms he had fought with:

Place provides a rich framework for people in the history of a family, and Fort Monroe is one such place for me. Huge and imposing, yes — yet during the U.S Civil War it was also a safe haven for those fleeing the brutal slave system and a welcome resting place where my Union Army ancestor Arthur Bull could heal from the rigors of war.

Are there places of importance in your family history? Read more about them to learn about your ancestors’ lives.

Another important place in my family is Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y., as you will read in the next post.

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7 thoughts on “Fort Monroe: My Union ancestor recovers”

  1. I know relatively little about the American Civil War so I found it interesting to learn about Fort Monroe serving as hospital and sanctuary.

    1. Because of its historical significance, portions of Fort Monroe have been given national monument status and more acres were transferred last year to the U.S. National Park Service. I am thrilled that it is being preserved, and hope to visit there one day.

    1. I found his pension record at the National Archives, then researched his unit and its movements, along with Civil War and other history sources, to figure out where he was at key historic moments. Very enjoyable process of discovery over the course of several years.

  2. My maternal side lived off and on in the same area of London, UK. We stayed there a few times so we could walk the streets. Visiting is a way to get to know more. You get a sense of distances when you walk the streets.
    Fran @travelgenee from the TravelGenee Blog

    1. That is so true! Before I visited the battlefields where my ancestor fought in the U.S. Civil War, I had only seen them on maps. I was blown away by the sheer immensity of some of them, which I never would have appreciated without making a road trip there. Thanks for your visit!

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