Ninteenth-Century Hampton

Ninteenth-Century Hampton (HM1GEA)

Location: Hampton, VA 23669
Buy Virginia State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 37° 1.469', W 76° 20.611'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites

"Historic and Rather Pretty Village"

An event that set the stage for Hampton new century took place on the night of June 24, 1813 when a large force of British infantry and marines landed on the western edge of town and overwhelmed a much smaller group of defenders. The invaders then sacked the town, murdering and pillaging as they went. The brutal attack helped solidify public opinion about the War of 1812 and galvanize the nation's resolve to protect its ports.

Within four years after the incident, granite blocks from a quarry along the Potomac River began arriving at Old Point Comfort. In 1819, construction began on Fort Monroe, one of the largest stone fortresses ever built. This "Gibraltar" would become a powerful federal presence and change the course of history for the entire region. At the same time, a companion bastion, eventually named Fort Wool, rose on an artificial island in Hampton Roads.

Once viewed as a "historic and rather pretty village" with tree-lined streets and brick sidewalks, Hampton would change almost overnight. As the Civil War began, thousands of additional troops poured into Fort Monroe. At the same time, thousands of escaped slaves—treated by the North as "contrabands of war"—were granted sanctuary near the fort. Realizing that Hampton could not be defended, Confederates put Hampton to the torch, leaving a smoldering heap of ashes.

The war also contained the seeds of Hampton recovery. Acting on the need for former slaves to gain an education, in 1868 Gen. Samuel Chapman Armstrong founded Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute to train teachers. The National Soldiers' Home for Union Civil War veterans was begun. Fabulous tourist hotels like the Hygeia and Chamberlin at Old Point Comfort came into being. Finally, northern entrepreneurs turned Hampton into one of the nation seafood capitals.


(left) 1861 engraving showing Fort Monroe, along with the Hygeia Hotel at Old Point Comfort. - Courtesy of the Hampton History Museum

(center) View from the Hampton River of Hamton Institute, now Hampton University. - Courtesy of the Hampton History Museum

(right) "Contraband" enslaved people settled in Hampton, building their homes near the ruins of the town burned by the Confederates Army in 1861. This image appeared in an 1865 issue of Harper's Weekly, based on a photograph taken in Hampton by Alexander Gardner. - Courtesy of the Hampton History Museum
Year Placed2010
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at 10:09am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 380494 N 4098432
Decimal Degrees37.02448333, -76.34351667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 1.469', W 76° 20.611'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 1' 28.14" N, 76° 20' 36.66" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 704 US-60, Hampton VA 23669, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. Who or what organization placed the marker?
  9. This marker needs at least one picture.
  10. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  11. Is the marker in the median?