Fascinating story is my ancestor who ended up at Fort Monroe at the end of the Civil War. I was born and raised here, started doing genealogy, and found a relative who served in the Civil War. Samuel Sawyer’s fascinating story is that he served from the beginning of the war to the end. He was in all the major battles including the Bloody Angle, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, and his 32nd NC Regiment came furtherest north to capture the capital. Col. Brabble bragged of the regiment’s bravery at Gettysburg and Robert E. Lee issued the Regiment with the 2nd Flag of the Confederacy because, “they were most worthy of carrying it”. Just days before the end of the war, Samuel was wounded and captured at Petersburg where he lost his right arm. He was sent to Fort Monroe May 17, 1865 and discharged on taking oath July 9, 1865. Upon, discovering this, I took my kids to tour Fort Monroe and enjoyed all of it. There was so much I had never known. The history here needs to be told. We are the beginning of America from Jamestown to the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Military & Shipyards, and beyond.
We were moved here to Hampton, VA when my father was stationed at Fort Monroe. My childhood was spent at baseball games my father umpired on the field where the new bowling alley was built and basketball games he refereed at the Y. Sitting up on the balcony in the Y, looking down on the game was exciting. My fondest memories involve the Chamberlain Hotel. My father was also the bartender in the small bar to the left as you entered the hotel from the staircase side of the building. Sitting on the bar stool, legs tucked under me so I could reach the Maraschino cherries and eating them till I was a little ill on the stomach. The NCO pool were we would swim, play and make friends all day. The hospital, where I went through years of allergy shots because of a reaction I had to a bee sting so many years ago. I still enjoy visiting the Fort, dining at the Deadrise and visiting the Chamberlain for happy hour with the Residents. It is still a place full of happy memories for me.