Statement of Significance (as of designation - December 19, 1960):
Constructed between 1819 and 1834, Fort Monroe was one of the country's major military posts from the time of its establishement; Robert E. Lee, then a lieutenant, played a prominent role in the final stages of its construction. During the Civil War, the fort was a staging area for Union land and naval expeditions. On March 9, 1862, thousands of spectators stood on the ramparts of Fort Monroe to watch the momentous battle between USS MONITOR and CSS VIRGINIA, the first battle in history between ironclad vessels. From May 1865 to May 1867, the fort was the site for the imprisonment of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.