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ARIZONA BORDERS AND CITIZEN SAFETY…
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The United States Border Patrol is a federal law enforcement agency within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Its 20,200 Agents[1] are primarily responsible for immigration and border law enforcement as codified in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Their duty is to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States and to deter, detect, and apprehend illegal aliens and individuals involved in the illegal drug trade who enter the United States other than through designated ports of entry.

Additionally, the CBP enforces federal controlled substances laws (as codified in the Controlled Substances Act) when violations occur or are found during the enforcement of federal immigration laws, via delegated authority from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Note that there are two personnel segments of U.S. Customs and Border Protection that people often confuse with each other, the CBP Officer [1], who wears a blue uniform and the Border Patrol Agent [2] who wears a green uniform.

Contents [hide]
1 History
2 Strategy
2.1 1986: Employer sanctions and interior enforcement
2.2 Inspection stations
2.2.1 El Paso Sector’s Operation Hold the Line
2.2.2 San Diego Sector’s Operation Gatekeeper
2.2.3 Tucson Sector’s Operation Safeguard
2.3 Northern border
2.4 Border Patrol moves away from interior enforcement
2.5 The new strategy
3 Capabilities
4 Expansion
5 Special Operations Group
5.1 Other specialized programs
6 Border Patrol organization
6.1 Border Patrol Sectors
7 Training
7.1 Uniforms
7.2 Border Patrol (OBP) Ranks and Insignia
7.2.1 Border Patrol Shoulder Ornaments
8 Awards
8.1 Newton-Azrak Award for Heroism
9 Border Patrol Uniform Devices
10 Equipment
10.1 Weapons
10.2 Transportation
11 Line of duty deaths
12 Armed incursions
13 Ramos and Compean
14 Criticisms
14.1 Ineffective
14.2 Allegations of abuse
14.3 Corruption
15 National Border Patrol Council
16 National Border Patrol Museum
17 In popular culture
17.1 Books
17.2 Film
17.2.1 Documentaries
18 See also
19 References
20 External links
21 External Video
21.1 GAO and OIG Reports

[edit] History

Immigration inspectors, circa 1924Mounted watchmen of the United States Immigration Service patrolled the border in an effort to prevent illegal crossings as early as 1904, but their efforts were irregular and undertaken only when resources permitted. The inspectors, usually called "mounted guards", operated out of El Paso, Texas. Though they never totaled more than 75, they patrolled as far west as California trying to restrict the flow of illegal Chinese immigration.

In March 1915, Congress authorized a separate group of mounted guards, often referred to as "mounted inspectors". Most rode on horseback, but a few operated automobiles, motorcycles and boats. Although these inspectors had broader arrest authority, they still largely pursued Chinese immigrants trying to avoid the National Origins Act and Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. These patrolmen were Immigrant Inspectors, assigned to inspection stations, and could not watch the border at all times. U.S. Army troops along the southwest border performed intermittent border patrolling, but this was secondary to "the more serious work of military training." Non-nationals encountered illegally in the U.S. by the army were directed to the immigration inspection stations. Texas Rangers were also sporadically assigned to patrol duties by the state, and their efforts were noted as "singularly effective".

The Border Patrol was founded on May 28, 1924 as an agency of the United States Department of Labor to prevent illegal entries along the Mexico–United States border and the United States-Canada border. The first two border patrol stations were in El Paso, Texas and Detroit, Michigan.[2] Additional operations were established along the Gulf Coast in 1927 to perform crewman control to insure that non-American crewmen departed on the same ship on which they arrived. Additional stations were temporarily added along the Gulf Coast, Florida and the Eastern Seaboard during the sixties when in Cuba triumphed the Cuban Revolution and emerged the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Prior to 2003, the Border Patrol was part of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), an agency that was within the U.S. Department of Justice. INS was disbanded in March 2003 when its operations were divided between CBP, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The priority mission of the Border Patrol, as a result of the 9/11 attacks and its merging into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States of America. However, the Border Patrol’s traditional mission remains as the deterrence, detection and apprehension of illegal immigrants and individuals involved in the illegal drug trade who generally enter the United States other than through designated ports of entry. The Border Patrol also operates 33 permanent interior checkpoints along the southern border of the United States.

Currently, the U.S. Border Patrol employs over 20,200 agents (as of the end of fiscal year 2009),[3] who are specifically responsible for patrolling the 6,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian international land borders and 2,000 miles of coastal waters surrounding the Florida Peninsula and the island of Puerto Rico. Agents are assigned primarily to the Mexico–United States border, where they are assigned to control drug trafficking and illegal immigration.[4] Patrols on horseback have made a comeback since smugglers have been pushed into the more remote mountainous regions, which are hard to cover with modern tracking strategies.[5]

[edit] Strategy
[edit] 1986: Employer sanctions and interior enforcement

Border Patrol Agents with a Hummer and Astar patrol for illegal entry into U.S.The Border Patrol’s priorities have changed over the years. In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act placed renewed emphasis on controlling illegal immigration by going after the employers that hire illegal immigrants. The belief was that jobs were the magnet that attracted most illegal immigrants to come to the United States. The Border Patrol increased interior enforcement and Form I-9 audits of businesses through an inspection program known as "employer sanctions". Several agents were assigned to interior stations, such as within the Livermore Sector in Northern California.

Employer sanctions never became the effective tool it was expected to be by Congress. Illegal immigration continued to swell after the 1986 amnesty despite employer sanctions. By 1993, Californians passed Proposition 187, denying benefits to illegal immigrants and criminalizing illegal immigrants in possession of forged green cards, I.D. cards and Social Security Numbers. It also authorized police officers to question non-nationals as to their immigration status and required police and sheriff departments to cooperate and report illegal immigrants to the INS. Proposition 187 drew nationwide attention to illegal immigration.

[edit] Inspection stations
United States Border Patrol Interior Checkpoints are inspection stations operated by the USBP within 100 miles of a national border (with Mexico or Canada) or in the Florida Keys. As federal inspection stations are also operated by the Mexican government within 50 km of its borders where they are officially known as a "Garita de Revisión." or Garitas, they are known also by that name to Latinos.

[edit] El Paso Sector’s Operation Hold the Line
El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent (and future U.S. congressman) Silvestre Reyes started a program called "Operation Hold the Line". In this program, Border Patrol agents would no longer react to illegal entries resulting in apprehensions, but would instead be forward deployed to the border, immediately detecting any attempted entries or deterring crossing at a more remote location. The idea was that it would be easier to capture illegal entrants in the wide open deserts than through the urban alleyways. Chief Reyes deployed his agents along the Rio Grande River, within eyesight of other agents. The program significantly reduced illegal entries in the urban part of El Paso, however, the operation merely shifted the illegal entries to other areas.

[edit] San Diego Sector’s Operation Gatekeeper

A Border Patrol Jeep stands watch over the U.S.-Mexico border at San Ysidro, California.San Diego Sector tried Silvestre Reyes’ approach of forward deploying agents to deter illegal entries into the country. Congress authorized the hiring of thousands of new agents, and many were sent to San Diego Sector.[citation needed] In addition, Congressman Duncan Hunter obtained surplus military landing mats to use as a border fence.[citation needed] Stadium lighting, ground sensors and infra-red cameras were also placed in the area.[citation needed] Apprehensions decreased dramatically in that area as people crossed in different regions.

[edit] Tucson Sector’s Operation Safeguard
California was no longer the hotbed of illegal entry and the traffic shifted to Arizona, primarily in Nogales and Douglas.[citation needed] The Border Patrol instituted the same deterrent strategy it used in San Diego to Arizona.

[edit] Northern border
In 2001, the Border Patrol had approximately 340 agents assigned along the Canada – United States border border. Northern border staffing had been increased to 1,128 agents to 1,470 agents by the end of fiscal year 2008, and is projected to expand to 1,845 by the end of fiscal year 2009, a sixfold increase. Resources that support Border Patrol agents include the use of new technology and a more focused application of air and marine assets.

The northern border sectors are Blaine (Washington), Buffalo (New York), Detroit (Selfridge ANGB, Michigan), Grand Forks (North Dakota), Havre (Montana), Houlton (Maine), Spokane (Washington), and Swanton (Vermont).

[edit] Border Patrol moves away from interior enforcement
In the 1990s, Congress mandated that the Border Patrol shift agents away from the interior and focus them on the borders.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Department of Homeland Security created two immigration enforcement agencies out of the defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). ICE was tasked with investigations, detention and removal of illegal immigrants, and interior enforcement. CBP was tasked with inspections at U.S. ports of entry and with preventing illegal entries between the port of entry, transportation check, and entries on U.S. coastal borders. DHS management decided to align the Border Patrol with CBP. CBP itself is solely responsible for the nation’s ports of entry, while Border Patrol maintains jurisdiction over all locations between ports of entry, giving Border Patrol agents federal authority absolutely[dubious – discuss] nationwide[dubious – discuss].

In July 2004, the Livermore Sector of the United States Border Patrol was closed. Livermore Sector served Northern California and included stations at Dublin (Parks Reserve Forces Training Area), Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno and Bakersfield. The Border Patrol also closed other stations in the interior of the United States including Roseburg, Oregon and Little Rock, Arkansas. The Border Patrol functions in these areas consisted largely of local jail and transportation terminal checks for illegal immigrants. These functions were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

[edit] The new strategy

Cameras add "Smart Border" surveillance.In November 2005, the U.S. Border Patrol published an updated national strategy.[6] The goal of this updated strategy is operational control of the United States border. The strategy has five main objectives:

Apprehend terrorists and terrorist weapons illegally entering the United States;
Deter illegal entries through improved enforcement;
Detect, apprehend, and deter smugglers of humans, drugs, and other contraband;
Use "smart border" technology; and
Reduce crime in border communities, improving quality of life.
[edit] Capabilities
The border is a barely discernible line in uninhabited deserts, canyons, or mountains. The Border Patrol utilizes a variety of equipment and methods, such as electronic sensors placed at strategic locations along the border, to detect people or vehicles entering the country illegally. Video monitors and night vision scopes are also used to detect illegal entries. Agents patrol the border in vehicles, boats, aircraft, and afoot. In some areas, the Border Patrol employs horses, all-terrain motorcycles, bicycles, and snowmobiles. Air surveillance capabilities are provided by unmanned aerial vehicles.[3]

The primary activity of a Border Patrol Agent is "Line Watch". Line Watch involves the detection, prevention, and apprehension of terrorists, undocumented aliens and smugglers of aliens at or near the land border by maintaining surveillance from a covert position; following up on leads; responding to electronic sensor television systems and aircraft sightings; and interpreting and following tracks, marks, and other physical evidence. Major activities include traffic check, traffic observation, city patrol, transportation check, administrative, intelligence, and anti-smuggling activities.[4]

Traffic checks are conducted on major highways leading away from the border to detect and apprehend illegal aliens attempting to travel further into the interior of the United States after evading detection at the border, and to detect illegal narcotics.[3]

Transportation checks are inspections of interior-bound conveyances, which include buses, commercial aircraft, passenger and freight trains, and marine craft.[3]

Marine Patrols are conducted along the coastal waterways of the United States, primarily along the Pacific coast, the Caribbean, the tip of Florida, and Puerto Rico and interior waterways common to the United States and Canada. Border Patrol conducts border control activities from 130 marine craft of various sizes. The Border Patrol maintains watercraft ranging from blue-water craft to inflatable-hull craft, in 16 sectors, in addition to headquarters special operations components.[3]

Horse and bike patrols are used to augment regular vehicle and foot patrols. Horse units patrol remote areas along the international boundary that are inaccessible to standard all-terrain vehicles. Bike patrol aids city patrol and is used over rough terrain to support linewatch.[3] Snowmobiles are used to patrol remote areas along the northern border in the winter.

[edit] Expansion
Attrition in the Border Patrol was normally at 5%. From 1995-2001 attrition spiked to above 10%, which was a period when the Border Patrol was undergoing massive hiring. In 2002 the attrition rate climbed to 18%. The 18% attrition was largely attributed to agents transferring to the Federal Air Marshals after 9/11. Since that time the attrition problem has decreased significantly and Congress has increased journeyman Border Patrol Agent pay from GS-9 to GS-11 in 2002. The Border Patrol Marine Position was created in 2009 (BPA-M). This position will be updated to a GS-12 position sometime in 2010 or 2011. Border Patrol Field Training Officers may possibly be updated in 2010 to a temporary GS-12 pay rate. In 2005, Border Patrol attrition dropped to 4% and remains in the area of 4% to 6% as of 2009.[7]

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (signed by President Bush on December 17, 2004) authorized hiring an additional 10,000 agents, "subject to appropriation". This authorization, if fully implemented, would nearly double the Border Patrol manpower from 11,000 to 21,000 agents by 2010.

In July 2005, Congress signed the Emergency Supplemental Spending Act for military operations in Iraq/Afghanistan and other operations. The act also appropriated funding to increase Border Patrol manpower by 500 Agents. In October 2005, President Bush also signed the DHS FY06 Appropriation bill, funding an additional 1,000 Agents.

In November 2005, President George W. Bush made a trip to southern Arizona to discuss more options that would decrease illegal crossings at the U.S. and Mexican border. In his proposed fiscal year 2007 budget he has requested an additional 1,500 Border Patrol agents.

The Secure Fence Act, signed by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2006, has met with much opposition. In October 2007, environmental groups and concerned citizens filed a restraining order hoping to halt the construction of the fence, set to be built between the United States and Mexico. The act mandates that the fence be built by December 2008. Ultimately, the United States seeks to put fencing around the 1,945-mile (3,130 km) border, but the act requires only 700 miles (1,100 km) of fencing. DHS secretary Michael Chertoff has bypassed environmental and other oppositions with a waiver that was granted to him by Congress in Section 102 of the act, which allows DHS to avoid any conflicts that would prevent a speedy assembly of the fence.[8][9]

This action has led many environment groups and landowners to speak out against the impending construction of the fence.[10] Environment and wildlife groups fear that the plans to clear brush, construct fences, install bright lights, motion sensors, and cameras will scare wildlife and endanger the indigenous species of the area.[11] Environmentalists claim that the ecosystem could be affected due to the fact that a border fence would restrict movement of all animal species, which in turn would keep them from water and food sources on one side or another. Desert plants would also feel the impact, as they would be uprooted in many areas where the fence is set to occupy.[12]

Property owners in these areas fear a loss of land. Landowners would have to give some of their land over to the government for the fence. Citizens also fear that communities will be split. Many students travel over the border every day to attend classes at the University of Texas at Brownsville. Brownsville mayor Pat Ahumada favors alternative options to a border fence. He suggests that the Rio Grande River be widened and deepened to provide for a natural barrier to hinder illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.[13]

The United States Border Patrol Academy is located in Artesia, New Mexico.

[edit] Special Operations Group

A Border Patrol Special Response Team searches room-by-room a hotel in New Orleans in response to Hurricane Katrina.
CBP BORSTAR canine team conducting rappeling trainingIn 2007, the Border Patrol created the Special Operations Group (SOG) headquartered in El Paso, TX to coordinate the specialized units of the agency.[14]

Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC)
National Special Response Team (NSRT)
Border Patrol, Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR)
Air Mobile Unit (AMU)
[edit] Other specialized programs
The Border Patrol has a number of other specialized programs and details.

Air and Marine Operations
K9 Units
Mounted Patrol
Bike patrol
Sign-cutting (tracking)
Snowmobile unit
Infrared scope unit
Intelligence
Anti-smuggling investigations
Border Criminal Alien Program
Multi-agency Anti-Gang Task Forces (regional & local units)
Honor Guard
Pipes and Drums
Chaplain
Peer Support
[edit] Border Patrol organization

David V. Aguilar, Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border ProtectionThe current Acting Chief of the Border Patrol is Michael J. Fisher who succeeded in 2010 David V. Aguilar, who is now the Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

[edit] Border Patrol Sectors
There are 20 Border Patrol sectors, each headed by a Sector Chief Patrol Agent.

Northern Border (West to East):

Blaine Sector (Western Washington State, Idaho, and Western Montana.) – stations; Bellingham, Blaine, Port Angeles, Sumas.
Spokane Sector (Eastern Washington State)
Havre Sector (Montana)
Grand Forks Sector (North Dakota)
Detroit Sector (Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan) – stations; Downtown Detroit, Marysville, Gibralter, Sault Sainte Marie, Sandusky Bay.
Buffalo Sector (New York) – stations; Buffalo, Erie, Niagura Falls, Oswego, Rochester, Wellesley Island.
Swanton Sector (Vermont)
Houlton Sector (Maine)
Southern Border (West to East):

San Diego Sector (San Diego, California)
El Centro Sector (Imperial County, California)
Yuma Sector (Western Arizona)- stations; Wellton, Yuma, Blythe
Tucson Sector (Eastern Arizona)
El Paso Sector (El Paso, Texas and New Mexico) – stations; Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Deming, El Paso, Fabens, Fort Hancock, Las Cruces, Lordsburg, Santa Teresa, Truth or Consequences, Ysleta
Marfa Sector (Big Bend Area of West Texas) – stations; Alpine, Amarillo, Big Bend, Fort Stockton, Lubbock, Marfa, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Sanderson, Sierra Blanca, Van Horn
Del Rio Sector (Del Rio, Texas) – stations; Abilene, Brackettville, Carrizo Springs, Comstock, Del Rio, Eagle Pass North, Eagle Pass South, Rocksprings, San Angelo, Uvalde
Rio Grande Valley Sector (South Texas) – stations; Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Falfurrias, Fort Brown, Harlingen, Kingsville, McAllen, Rio Grande City, Weslaco
Laredo Sector (South Texas) – stations; Cotulla, Dallas, Freer, Hebbronville, Laredo North, Laredo South, Laredo West, San Antonio, Zapata
New Orleans Sector (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and West Florida)
Miami Sector (Florida East and South)
Caribbean

Ramey Sector (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico) and the Virgin Islands, it is the only Border Patrol Sector located outside the continental United States
[edit] Training
All Border Patrol Agents spend 15 weeks in training at the Border Patrol Academy (if they are fluent in Spanish) in Artesia, New Mexico, which is a component of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).Those who are not fluent in Spanish spend an additional eight weeks at the Academy. Recruits are instructed in Border Patrol and federal law enforcement subjects.

Border Patrol courses include: Immigration and Nationality Law, Criminal Law and Statutory Authority, Spanish, Border Patrol Operations, Care and Use of Firearms, Physical Training, Driver Training, and Anti-Terrorism.

FLETC courses include: Communications, Ethics and Conduct, Report Writing, Introduction to Computers, Fingerprinting, and Constitutional Law.[15]

The physical aspects of the Border Patrol Training Program are extremely demanding. At the end of 55 days, trainees must be able to complete a one and a half mile run in 13 minutes or less, a confidence course in two and a half minutes or less, and a 220 yard dash in 46 seconds or less. This final test is much easier than the day to day physical training during the program.[15]

[edit] Uniforms
The Border Patrol currently wears the following types of uniforms:

CBP officers at a ceremony in 2007Dress uniform – The dress uniform consists of olive-green trousers with a blue stripe, and an olive-green shirt, which may or may not have blue shoulder straps. The campaign hat is worn with uniform.
Ceremonial uniform – When required, the following items are added to the dress uniform to complete the ceremonial uniform: olive-green Ike jacket or tunic with blue accents (shoulder straps and cuffs, blue tie, brass tie tack, white gloves, and olive-green felt campaign hat with leather hat band. The campaign hat is worn with uniform.
Rough duty uniform – The rough duty uniform consists of green cargo trousers and work shirt (in short or long sleeves). Usually worn with green baseball cap or tan stetson.
Accessories, footwear, and outerwear – Additional items are worn in matching blue or black colors as appropriate.
Organization patches – The Border Patrol wears two:
The CBP patch is worn on the right sleeves of the uniform. It contains the DHS seal against a black background with a "keystone" shape. A "keystone" is the central, wedge-shaped stone in an arch, which holds all the other stones in place.
Border Patrol agents retain the circular legacy Border Patrol patch, which is worn on the left sleeve.
The Border Patrol uniform is getting its first makeover since the 1950s to appear more like military fatigues and less like a police officer’s duty garb.[16] Leather belts with brass buckles are being replaced by nylon belts with quick-release plastic buckles, slacks are being replaced by lightweight cargo pants, and shiny badges and nameplates are being replaced by cloth patches.

[edit] Border Patrol (OBP) Ranks and Insignia
Location Title Collar insignia Shoulder ornament Pay grade
Border Patrol Headquarters Chief of the Border Patrol Gold-plated Senior Executive Service (SES)
Deputy Chief of the Border Patrol Gold-plated SES
Division Chief Gold-plated SES
Deputy Division Chief Gold-plated GS-15, General Schedule
Associate Chief Gold-plated GS-15
Assistant Chief Silver-plated GS-14
Operations Officer Oxidized GS-13

Border Patrol Sectors Chief Patrol Agent (CPA) Gold-plated SES or GS-15
Deputy Chief Patrol Agent (DCPA) Gold-plated SES/GS-15 or GS-14
Division Chief Gold-plated GS-15
Assistant Chief Patrol Agent (ACPA) Silver-plated GS-15 or GS-14
Patrol Agent in Charge (PAIC) Silver-plated GS-14 or GS-13
Assistant Patrol Agent in Charge (APAIC) Oxidized GS-13
Special Operations Supervisor (SOS) Oxidized GS-13
Field Operations Supervisor (FOS) Oxidized GS-13
Supervisory Border Patrol Agent (SBPA) Oxidized GS-12
Senior Patrol Agent (SPA) (Note: Being phased out through attrition) No insignia Currently GS-11 (Will be upgraded to full performance level GS-12 sometime during the 1st quarter of 2011)
Border Patrol Agent (BPA) No insignia GS-5, 7, 9, 11 (Upgrade to GS-12 pending)

Border Patrol Academy Chief Patrol Agent (CPA) Gold-plated GS-15
Deputy Chief Patrol Agent (DCPA) Gold-plated GS-15
Assistant Chief Patrol Agent (ACPA) Silver-plated GS-14
Training Operations Supervisor (TOS) Oxidized GS-14
Supervisory Border Patrol Agent (Senior Instructor) Oxidized GS-13
Supervisory Border Patrol Agent (Instructor) Oxidized GS-13

[edit] Border Patrol Shoulder Ornaments

[edit] Awards
Newton-Azrak Award for Heroism Commissioners Distinguished Career Service Award Commissioners Exceptional Service Medal Commissioners Meritorious Service Award Commissioners Special Commendation Award Chiefs Commendation Medal
No Image Available No Image Available No Image Available

Commissioners Excellence in Group Achievement Award Purple Cross Wound Medal Academy Honor Award Winner Border Patrol Long Service Medal 75th Anniversary of the Border Patrol Commemorative Medal
No Image Available No Image Available

[edit] Newton-Azrak Award for Heroism
The Border Patrol’s highest honor is the Newton-Azrak Award for Heroism. This Award is bestowed to Border Patrol Agents for extraordinary actions, service; accomplishments reflecting unusual courage or bravery in the line of duty; or an extraordinarily heroic or humane act committed during times of extreme stress or in an emergency.

This award is named for Border Patrol Inspectors Theodore Newton[17] and George Azrak,[18] who were murdered by two drug smugglers in San Diego County in 1967.

[edit] Border Patrol Uniform Devices
Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue Unit (BORSTAR) Special Response Team (NSRT) Honor Guard Border Patrol Pipes and Drums Cap Badge
No Image Available
K-9 Handler Chaplain Field Training Officer Peer Support

[edit] Equipment
[edit] Weapons

A Border Patrol Agent carrying an M14 rifle.Border Patrol Agents are issued the H&K P2000 double action pistol in .40 S&W. It can contain as many as 13 rounds of ammunition (12 in the magazine and one in the chamber).

Like other law enforcement agencies, the Remington 870 is the standard shotgun.

Border Patrol Agents also commonly carry the M4 Carbine and the H&K UMP 40 caliber submachine gun. The M14 rifle is used for mostly ceremonial purposes.

As a less than lethal option, the Border Patrol also uses the FN303.

[edit] Transportation
Unlike in many other law enforcement agencies in the United States, the Border Patrol operates several thousand SUVs and pickup trucks, which are known for their capabilities to move around in any sort of terrain. This vehicles may have individual revolving lights (strobes or LEDs) and/or light bars and sirens. An extensive modernization drive has ensured that these vehicles are equipped with wireless sets in communication with a central control room. Border Patrol vehicles may also have equipment such as speed radar, breathalyzers, and emergency first aid kits. Some sectors make use of sedans like the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor or the Dodge Charger as patrol cars or high speed "interceptors" on highways. The Border Patrol also operates ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and small boats in the riverine environment. In 2005, all Border Patrol and ICE aircraft operations were combined under CBP’s Office of Air and Marine. All CBP vessel operation in Customs Waters are conducted by Office of Air and Marine.

Color schemes of Border Patrol vehicles are either a long green stripe running the length of the vehicle or a broad green diagonal stripe on the door. Most Border Patrol vehicles are painted predominantly white.

The Border Patrol also extensively uses horses for remote area patrols. The U.S. Border Patrol has 205 horses As of 2005[update]. Most are employed along the Mexico–United States border. In Arizona, these animals are fed special processed feed pellets so that their wastes do not spread non-native plants in the national parks and wildlife areas they patrol.[19]

[edit] Line of duty deaths
Total line of duty deaths (since 1904): 105[20]

Aircraft accident: 14
Assault: 2
Automobile accident: 28
Drowned: 4
Fall: 4
Gunfire: 30
Gunfire (Accidental): 3
Heart attack: 6
Heat exhaustion: 1
Motorcycle accident: 2
Stabbed: 2
Struck by train: 3
Struck by vehicle: 3
Vehicle pursuit: 2
Vehicular assault: 3
[edit] Armed incursions
On August 7, 2008, Mexican troops crossed the border into Arizona and held a U.S. Border Patrol Agent at gunpoint. Agents stationed at Ajo, Arizona said that the Mexican soldiers crossed the border into an isolated area southwest of Tucson and pointed rifles at the agent, who has not been identified. The Mexicans withdrew after other American agents arrived on the scene.[21]

[edit] Ramos and Compean
In February 2005, Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were involved in an incident while pursuing a van in Fabens, Texas. The driver, later identified as Aldrete Davila, was shot by Agent Ramos during a scuffle. Davila escaped back into Mexico, and the agents discovered that the van contained a million dollars worth of marijuana (about 750 pounds). None of the agents at the scene orally reported the shooting, including two supervisors. The Department of Homeland Security opened up an internal affairs investigation into the incident.[22] See also [23][24][25]

[edit] Criticisms
[edit] Ineffective
In 2006, a documentary called The Illegal Immigration Invasion[26] linked the scale of illegal immigration into the United States chiefly to the ineffectiveness of the Border Patrol. The film claimed that this is due to the lack of judicial powers of the Border Patrol and the effective hamstringing of the agency by the federal government. The film interviews people that deal with illegal immigration on a daily basis, as well as local citizens living in the border areas.

[edit] Allegations of abuse
There are allegations of abuse by the United States Border Patrol such as the ones reported by Jesus A. Trevino, that concludes in an article published in the Houston Journal of International Law (2006) with a request to create an independent review commission to oversee the actions of the Border Patrol, and that creating such review board will make the American public aware of the "serious problem of abuse that exists at the border by making this review process public" and that "illegal immigrants deserve the same constitutionally-mandated humane treatment of citizens and legal residents".[27]
In 1998, Amnesty International investigated allegations of ill-treatment and brutality by officers of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and particularly the Border Patrol. Their report said they found indications of human rights violations during 1996, 1997 and early 1998.[28]
An article in Social Justice by Michael Huspek, Leticia Jimenez, Roberto Martinez (1998) cites that in December 1997, John Case, head of the INS Office of Internal Audit, announced at a press conference that public complaints to the INS had risen 29% from 1996, with the "vast majority" of complaints emanating from the southwest border region, but that of the 2,300 cases, the 243 cases of serious allegations of abuse were down in 1997. These serious cases are considered to be distinct from less serious complaints, such as "verbal abuse, discrimination, extended detention without cause."[29]
[edit] Corruption
Incidences of corruption in the U.S. Border Patrol include:

Pablo Sergio Barry, an agent charged with one count of harboring an illegal immigrant, three counts of false statements, and two counts of making a false document.[30] He plead guilty.[31]
Christopher E. Bernis, an agent indicted on a charge of harboring an illegal immigrant for nine months while employed as a U.S. Border Patrol agent.[32]
Jose De Jesus Ruiz, an agent whose girlfriend was an illegal immigrant, he was put on administrative leave pending an investigation.[32]
Oscar Antonio Ortiz, an illegal immigrant[33] who used a fake birth certificate to get into the Border Patrol admitted to smuggling more than 100 illegal immigrants into the U.S., some of them in his government truck,[34] and was helping to smuggle illegal immigrants and charged with conspiring with another agent to smuggle immigrants.
An unidentified patrol agent who was recorded on a wire tap stating that he helped to smuggle 30 to 50 immigrants at a time.[33]
[edit] National Border Patrol Council
National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) is the labor union which represents over 14,000 Border Patrol Agents and support staff. The NBPC was founded in 1968, and its parent organization is the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO. The NBPC’s executive committee is staffed by current and retired Border Patrol Agents and, along with its constituent locals, employs a staff of a dozen attorneys and field representatives. The NBPC is associated with the Peace Officer Research Association of California’s Legal Defense Fund.[35]

[edit] National Border Patrol Museum
The National Border Patrol Museum is located in El Paso, Texas. The museum exhibits uniforms, equipment, photographs, guns, vehicles, airplanes, boats, and documents which depict the historical and current sector operations throughout the United States.

[edit] In popular culture
[edit] Books
Border Patrol by Alvin Edward Moore
The Border Patrol by Deborah Wells Salter
EWI: Entry Without Inspection (Title 8 U.S.C. § 1325 Improper entry by alien) by Fortuna Testarona Valiente
Tracks in the Sand: A Tale of the Border Patrol by Kent E Lundgren,
On The Line: Inside the U.S. Border Patrol by Alex Pacheco and Erich Krauss
Patrolling Chaos: The U.S. Border Patrol in Deep South Texas by Robert Lee Maril
The U.S. Border Patrol: Guarding the Nation (Blazers) by Connie Collwell Miller
My Border Patrol Diary: Laredo, Texas by Dale Squint
Holding the Line: War Stories of the U.S. Border Patrol by Gerald Schumacher
The Border Patrol Ate My Dust by Alicia Alarcon, Ethriam Cash Brammer, and Ethriam Cash Brammer de Gonzales
The Border: Exploring the U.S.-Mexican Divide by David J. Danelo
Beat The Border: An Insider’s Guide To How The U.S. Border Works And How To Beat It by Ned Beaumont
West of the Moon: A Border Patrol Agent’s Tale by D. B. Prehoda
The Journey: U.S. Border Patrol & the Solution to the Illegal Alien Problem by Donald R. Coppock
Border patrol: With the U.S. Immigration Service on the Mexican boundary, 1910-54 by Clifford Alan Perkins
Border Patrol: How U.S. Agents Protect Our Borders from Illegal Entry by Carroll B. Colby
In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America’s Border and Security by Tom Tancredo
[edit] Film
Border Patrolman, a 1936 film in which a Border Patrolman Bob Wallace, played by George O’Brien, resigns in protest after being humiliated by the spoiled granddaughter of a millionaire.
Border Patrol, a 1943 film starring William C. Boyd, Andy Clyde, George Reeves, and Robert Mitchum
Borderline, a 1950 film noir starring Fred MacMurray about drug smuggling across the U.S./Mexico border
Border Patrol, a 1959 syndicated television series, starring Richard Webb as the fictitious deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol
Borderline, a 1980 movie starring Charles Bronson about a Border Patrol Agent on the U.S./Mexico border
The Border, a 1982 film starring Jack Nicholson
El Norte, a 1983 film portraying Central American Indian peasants traveling to the United States.
Flashpoint, a 1984 film starring Kris Kristofferson
Last Man Standing, a 1996 film starring Bruce Willis and Ken Jenkins as Texas Ranger Captain Tom Pickett who is investing the killing of an unnamed Immigration Inspector (played by Larry Holt) across the border in Mexico.
Men in Black, a 1997 science fiction comedy action film starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith and Vincent D’Onofrio. The Border Patrol was portrayed as Immigration Inspectors
The Gatekeeper, a 2002 film by John Carlos Frey about the struggles of migrants at the Mexican/US border.
The Shepherd: Border Patrol, a 2007 film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme
Linewatch, a 2008 film starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., as a Border Patrol agent defending his family from a group of Los Angeles gang members involved in the illegal trade of importing narcotics into the United States.
[edit] Documentaries
Border Patrol: American’s Gatekeepers A&E with former United States Attorney General Janet Reno
Investigative Reports: Border Patrol: America’s Gatekeepers A&E Investigates
History the Enforcers : Border Patrol History Channel
[edit] See also
Border Protection Personnel
United States portal
Law enforcement/Law enforcement topics portal
List of United States federal law enforcement agencies
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Border control
Ignacio Ramos
Illegal immigration
H.R. 4437
Minuteman Project
MQ-9 Reaper
No More Deaths
Office of CBP Air
United States Mexico barrier
United States-Canadian Border
la migra
[edit] References
^ "Reinstatements to the northern border". CPB.gov. US Customs and Border Protection. 2008-05-19. www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/border_patrol/reinsta…. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/border_patrol/border_…
^ a b c d e f "Boarder Patrol overview". CPB.gov. US Customs and Boarder Protection. 2008-08-22. www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/border_patrol/border_…. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ a b "Who we are and what we do". CPB.gov. US Customs and Boarder Protection. 2008-09-03. www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/border_security/border_patrol/who_we_…. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ Gaynor, Tim (2008-01-23). "U.S. turns to horses to secure borders". Reuters. www.reuters.com/article/inDepthNews/idUSN2323280820080124…. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
^ www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/border_security/border_patro…[dead link]
^ Nuñez-Neto, Blas (2006-010-25) (PDF). Border security: The role of the U.S. Border Patrol. Congressional Research Service. p. 35. digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs//data/2006/upl-meta-c…. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ Coyle, Marcia (2008-03-03). "Waivers for border fence challenged: Environmental groups take their complaints to Supreme Court". The Recorder.
^ Archibold, Randal C. (2008-04-02). "Government issues waiver for fencing along border". New York Times. www.nytimes.com/2008/04/02/us/02fence.html. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
^ "Conservation groups call for an immediate halt to construction of border fence in San Pedro National Conservation Area". US Newswire. 2007-10-05.
^ Gordon, David George (May 2000). "A ‘grande’ dispute". National Geographic World: p. 4.
^ Cohn, Jeffrey P. (2007). "The environmental impacts of a border fence". BioScience 57 (1): 96. doi:10.1641/B570116. www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1641/B570116. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ "Expansive border fence stirs fights over land". Tell Me More. NPR. 2008-03-03.
^ 2007 State of the Border Patrol video[dead link]
^ a b "FAQs: Working for the Border Patrol-basic training". CPB.gov. US Customs and Boarder Protection. 2008-05-29. www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/careers/customs_careers/border_career…. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ Spagat, Elliot (2007-08-16). "Border Patrol uniform gets first makeover since the 1950s". North County Times. www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/08/17/news/sandiego/18_64_3…. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ "Border Patrol Inspector Theodore L. Newton Jr.". The Officer Down Memorial Page. www.odmp.org/officer.php?oid=9933. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ "Border Patrol Inspector George F. Azrak". The Officer Down Memorial Page. www.odmp.org/officer.php?oid=1368. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ Rostien, Arthur H. (2005-06-09). "Border Patrol horses get special feed that helps protect desert ecosystem". Environmental News Network. www.enn.com/top_stories/article/1731. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ "United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – Border Patrol". The Officer Down Memorial Page. www.odmp.org/agency/4830-united-states-department-of-home…. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ Meyers, Jim (2008-08-06). "Mexican troops cross border, hold border agent". Newsmax.com. newsmax.com/insidecover/mexican_troops_border/2008/08/06/…. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ "Glenn Beck: Ramos & Compean – the whole story". The Glenn Beck Program. Premiere Radio Networks. 2008-07-29. www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/196/13098/. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". Ramos-Compean. ramos-compean.blogspot.com/. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ "2 Border Patrol agents face 20 years in prison". WorldDailyNet. 2006-08-07. www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51417. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ "Ramos and Campean – court appeal". www.scribd.com/doc/219384/Ramos-and-Campean-Court-Appeal. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ (Google video) The illegal immigration invasion. October Sun Films. 2006-04-06. video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1451035544403625746. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ Jesus A. Trevino (1998). "Border violence against illegal immigrants and the need to change the border patrol’s current complaint review process" (PDF). Houston Journal of International Law 21 (1): 85–114. ISSN 0194-1879. www.hjil.org/ArticleFiles/21_1_10.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ United States of America: Human rights concerns in the border region with Mexico. Amnesty International. 1998-05-19. web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engAMR510031998. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ Huspek, Michael; Roberto Martinez, and Leticia Jimenez (1998). "Violations of human and civil rights on the U.S.-Mexico border, 1995 to 1997: a report" (Reprint). Social Justice 25 (2). ISSN 1043-1578. findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3427/is_n2_v25/ai_n28711…. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
The data compiled in this report suggest that law enforcement in the southwest region of the United States may be verging on lawlessness. This statement receives fuller support from announcements emanating from the INS. In December 1997, John Chase, head of the INS Office of Internal Audit, announced at a press conference that public complaints to the INS had risen 29% from 1996, with the "vast majority" of complaints emanating from the southwest border region. Over 2,300 complaints were filed in 1997 as opposed to the 1,813 complaints filed in 1996. Another 400 reports of "minor misconduct" were placed in a new category. Chase was quick to emphasize, however, that the 243 "serious" allegations of abuse and use of excessive force that could warrant criminal prosecution were down in 1997, as compared with the 328 in 1996. These "serious" cases are considered to be distinct from less serious complaints, such as "verbal abuse, discrimination, extended detention without cause.

^ June 23, 2005 "Border agent accused of hiding an illegal entrant". Arizona Daily Star. 2005-06-23. www.azstarnet.com/sn/border/81082.php June 23, 2005. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ "Border agent pleads guilty to harboring illegal entrant". Arizona Daily Star. 2005-09-22. www.azstarnet.com/sn/border/94491.php. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ a b "U.S. border agent indicted". Arizona Daily Star. 2005-03-11. www.azstarnet.com/sn/border/65117.php. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ a b "Boarder agent said to also be smuggler". SignOnSanDiego.com. Union-Tribune Publishing. 2005-08-05. www.signonsandiego.com/news/mexico/tijuana/20050805-9999-…. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ Spagat, Elliot (2006-07-28). "Border agent gets 5 years for smuggling". The Washington Post. www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/28/…. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
^ "About NBPC". National Border Patrol Council. 2008-08-14. www.nbpc.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&a…. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
[edit] External links
Official US Border Patrol website
US Border Patrol history
National Border Patrol Strategy(PDF)
Border Patrol official recruiting page
Border Patrol Supervisor’s Association (BPSA)
Border Patrol agents killed in the line of duty
Large Border Patrol site
Border Patrol Museum official site
National Border Patrol Council official site
National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers
Friends of the Border Patrol
Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding the U.S. Border Patrol
Civilian Border Patrol Organizations: An Overview and History of the Phenomenon by the Congressional Research Service.
Border Patrol hiring forums and information for potential agents
National Border Patrol Museum
Pictures of Border Patrol vehicles
Crossing Guards in Training LA Times report on Border Patrol training.
The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration
Border Patrol unofficial Auxiliary NOT a Government Agency and not affiliated with the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
[edit] External Video
Border Stories
[edit] GAO and OIG Reports
GAO Report: Border Patrol – Southwest Border Enforcement Affected by Mission Expansion and Budget August 1992
GAO Report: Border Control – Revised Strategy is Showing Some Positive Results December 1994
g96065.pdf GAO Report: Border Patrol – Staffing and Enforcement Activities March 1996
GAO Report: ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION – Southwest Border Strategy Results Inconclusive; More Evaluation Needed December 1997
USDOJ OIG Report: Operation Gatekeeper July 1998
GAO Report: ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION – Status of Southwest Border Strategy Implementation 1999
GAO Report: Border Patrol Hiring December 1999
GAO Report: Southwest Border Strategy – Resource and Impact Issues Remain After Seven Years August 2001
National Border Patrol Strategy March 2005
GAO Report: Effectiveness of Border Patrol Checkpoints July 2005
DHS OIG Report: An Assessment of the Proposal to Merge Customs and Border Protection with Immigration and Customs Enforcement November 2005
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United States Capitol
home security systems reviews
Image by Jack Says Relax
The western front of the United States Capitol in 2011.
General information
Architectural style American Neoclassicism
Town or city Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
Country United States of America
Construction started September 18, 1793

The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall. Though it has never been the geographic center of the federal district, the Capitol is the origin by which the quadrants of the District are divided and the city was planned.

Officially, both the east and west sides of the Capitol are referred to as fronts. Historically, however, only the east front of the building was intended for the arrival of visitors and dignitaries. Like the federal buildings for the executive and judicial branches, it is built in the distinctive neoclassical style and has a white exterior.
Contents

History
See also: History of Washington, D.C. and List of National Historic Landmarks in Washington, D.C.
The US Capitol dome at night (photo 2010)

Prior to establishing the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C., the United States Congress and its predecessors had met in Philadelphia (Independence Hall and Congress Hall), New York City (Federal Hall), and a number of other locations (Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland, Nassau Hall in Princeton, New Jersey).[2] In September 1774, the First Continental Congress brought together delegates from the colonies in Philadelphia, followed by the Second Continental Congress, which met from May 1775 to March 1781.

After adopting the Articles of Confederation, the Congress of the Confederation was formed and convened in Philadelphia from March 1781 until June 1783, when a mob of angry soldiers converged upon Independence Hall, demanding payment for their service during the American Revolutionary War. Congress requested that John Dickinson, the governor of Pennsylvania, call up the militia to defend Congress from attacks by the protesters. In what became known as the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, Dickinson sympathized with the protesters and refused to remove them from Philadelphia. As a result, Congress was forced to flee to Princeton, New Jersey, on June 21, 1783,[3] and met in Annapolis, Maryland and Trenton, New Jersey before ending up in New York City.

The United States Congress was established upon ratification of the United States Constitution and formally began on March 4, 1789. New York City remained home to Congress until July 1790,[4] when the Residence Act was passed to pave the way for a permanent capital. The decision to locate the capital was contentious, but Alexander Hamilton helped broker a compromise in which the federal government would take on war debt incurred during the American Revolutionary War, in exchange for support from northern states for locating the capital along the Potomac River. As part of the legislation, Philadelphia was chosen as a temporary capital for ten years (until December 1800), until the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. would be ready.[5]

Pierre (Peter) Charles L’Enfant was given the task of creating the city plan for the new capital city.[6] L’Enfant chose Jenkins Hill as the site for the Capitol building, with a grand boulevard connecting it with the President’s House, and a public space stretching westward to the Potomac River.[7] In reviewing L’Enfant’s plan, Thomas Jefferson insisted the legislative building be called the "Capitol" rather than "Congress House". The word "Capitol" comes from Latin and is associated with the Roman temple to Jupiter Optimus Maximus on Capitoline Hill.[8] In addition to coming up with a city plan, L’Enfant had been tasked with designing the Capitol and President’s House, however he was dismissed in February 1792 over disagreements with President George Washington and the commissioners, and there were no plans at that point for the Capitol.[9]
Design competition
Design for the U.S. Capitol, "An Elevation for a Capitol", by James Diamond was one of many submitted in the 1792 contest, but not selected.

In spring 1792, Thomas Jefferson proposed a design competition to solicit designs for the Capitol and the President’s House, and set a four-month deadline. The prize for the competition was 0 and a lot in the federal city. At least ten individuals submitted designs for the Capitol; however the drawings were regarded as crude and amateurish, reflecting the level of architectural skill present in the United States at the time.[10] The most promising of the submissions was by Stephen Hallet, a trained French architect.[11] However, Hallet’s designs were overly fancy, with too much French influence, and were deemed too costly.[12]

A late entry by amateur architect William Thornton was submitted on January 31, 1793, to much praise for its "Grandeur, Simplicity, and Beauty" by Washington, along with praise from Thomas Jefferson. Thornton was inspired by the east front of the Louvre, as well as the Paris Pantheon for the center portion of the design.[13][14] Thornton’s design was officially approved in a letter, dated April 5, 1793, from Washington.[15] In an effort to console Hallet, the commissioners appointed him to review Thornton’s plans, develop cost estimates, and serve as superintendent of construction. Hallet proceeded to pick apart and make drastic changes to Thornton’s design, which he saw as costly to build and problematic.[16] In July 1793, Jefferson convened a five-member commission, bringing Hallet and Thornton together, along with James Hoban, to address problems with and revise Thornton’s plan. Hallet suggested changes to the floor plan, which could be fitted within the exterior design by Thornton.[17][18] The revised plan was accepted, except that Jefferson and Washington insisted on an open recess in the center of the East front, which was part of Thornton’s original plan.[19]

The original design by Thornton was later modified by Benjamin Henry Latrobe and then Charles Bulfinch.[20] The current dome and the House and Senate wings were designed by Thomas U. Walter and August Schoenborn,[21] a German immigrant, and were completed under the supervision of Edward Clark.[22]
Construction
The Capitol when first occupied by Congress (painting circa 1800 by William Russell Birch)

L’Enfant secured the lease of quarries at Wigginton Island and along Aquia Creek in Virginia for use in the foundations and outer walls of the Capitol in November 1791.[23] Surveying was underway soon after the Jefferson conference plan for the Capitol was accepted.[17] On September 18, 1793 George Washington, along with eight other Freemasons dressed in masonic regalia, laid the cornerstone, which was made by silversmith Caleb Bentley.[24][25]

Construction proceeded with Hallet working under supervision of James Hoban, who was also busy working on construction of the White House. Despite the wishes of Jefferson and the President, Hallet went ahead anyway and modified Thornton’s design for the East front and created a square central court that projected from the center, with flanking wings which would house the legislative bodies. Hallet was dismissed by Jefferson on November 15, 1794.[26] George Hadfield was hired on October 15, 1795 as superintendent of construction, but resigned three years later in May 1798, due to dissatisfaction with Thornton’s plan and quality of work done thus far.[27]

The Senate wing was completed in 1800, while the House wing was completed in 1811. However, the House of Representatives moved into the House wing in 1807. Though the building was incomplete, the Capitol held its first session of United States Congress on November 17, 1800. The legislature was moved to Washington prematurely, at the urging of President John Adams in hopes of securing enough Southern votes to be re-elected for a second term as president.[28]
Early religious usage

In its early days, the Capitol building was not only used for governmental functions. On Sundays, church services were regularly held there – a practice that continued until after the Civil War. According to the US Library of Congress exhibit "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic" "It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801–1809) and of James Madison (1809–1817) the state became a church. Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson’s example, although unlike Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, Madison came in a coach and four. Worship services in the House—a practice that continued until after the Civil War—were acceptable to Jefferson because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Preachers of every Protestant denomination appeared. (Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.)"[29]
War of 1812
The Capitol after the burning of Washington, D.C. in the War of 1812 (painting 1814 by George Munger)
See also: Burning of Washington

Not long after the completion of both wings, the Capitol was partially burned by the British on August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812. George Bomford, and Joseph Gardner Swift, both military engineers, were called upon to help rebuild the Capitol. Reconstruction began in 1815 and was completed by 1819. Construction continued through to 1826, with the addition of the center Rotunda area and the first dome of the Capitol. Latrobe is principally connected with the original construction and many innovative interior features; his successor, Bulfinch, also played a major role, such as the design of the first dome.
The House and Senate Wings
Daguerreotype of east side of the Capitol (1846 by John Plumbe)

By 1850, it became clear that the Capitol could not accommodate the growing number of legislators arriving from newly admitted states. A new design competition was held, and President Millard Fillmore appointed Philadelphia architect Thomas U. Walter to carry out the expansion. Two new wings were added – a new chamber for the House of Representatives on the south side, and a new chamber for the Senate on the north.[30]

When the Capitol was expanded in the 1850s, some of the construction labor was carried out by slaves "who cut the logs, laid the stones and baked the bricks".[31] The original plan was to use workers brought in from Europe; however, there was a poor response to recruitment efforts, and African Americans—free and slave—comprised the majority of the work force.[32]
The Capitol Building with flowers in the foreground (photo 2010)
Capitol dome
Main article: United States Capitol dome

The 1850 expansion more than doubled the length of the Capitol, dwarfing the original, timber-framed 1818 dome. In 1855, the decision was made to tear it down and replace it with the "wedding-cake style" cast-iron dome that stands today. Also designed by Walter, the new dome stood three times the height of the original dome and 100 feet (30 m) in diameter, yet had to be supported on the existing masonry piers. Like Mansart’s dome at Les Invalides (which he had visited in 1838), Walter’s dome is double, with a large oculus in the inner dome, through which is seen The Apotheosis of Washington painted on a shell suspended from the supporting ribs, which also support the visible exterior structure and the tholos that supports Freedom, a colossal statue that was added to the top of the dome in 1863. This statue was cast by a slave named Philip Reid. The weight of the cast iron for the dome has been published as 8,909,200 pounds (4,041,100 kg).
Later expansion
US Senate chamber (photo circa 1873)

When the Capitol’s new dome was finally completed, its massive visual weight, in turn, overpowered the proportions of the columns of the East Portico, built in 1828. The East Front of the Capitol building was rebuilt in 1904, following a design of the architects Carrère and Hastings, who also designed the Senate and House office buildings.

The next major expansion to the Capitol started in 1958, with a 33.5 feet (10.2 m) extension of the East Portico.[citation needed] During this project, the dome underwent its last restoration.[33] A marble duplicate of the sandstone East Front was built 33.5 feet (10.2 m) from the old Front. (In 1962, a connecting extension incorporated what formerly was an outside wall as an inside wall.) In the process, the Corinthian columns were removed. It was not until 1984 that landscape designer Russell Page created a suitable setting for them in a large meadow at the National Arboretum as the National Capitol Columns, where they are combined with a reflecting pool in an ensemble that reminds some visitors of Persepolis. Besides the columns, hundreds of blocks of the original stone were removed and are stored behind a National Park Service maintenance yard in Rock Creek Park.[34]

In 1960, the dome underwent its last restoration.[33]
National Capitol Columns at the National Arboretum (photo 2008)

On December 19, 1960, the Capitol was declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.[35] The building was ranked #6 in a 2007 survey conducted for the American Institute of Architects’ "America’s Favorite Architecture" list.[36] The Capitol draws heavily from other notable buildings, especially churches and landmarks in Europe, including the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.[37] On the roofs of the Senate and House Chambers are flagpoles that fly the U.S. flag when either is in session. On September 18, 1993, to commemorate the Capitol’s bicentennial, the Masonic ritual cornerstone laying with George Washington was reenacted. Strom Thurmond was one of the Freemason politicians who took part in the ceremony.

On June 20, 2000, ground was broken for the Capitol Visitor Center, which subsequently opened on December 2, 2008.[38] From 2001 through 2008, the East Front of the Capitol (site of most presidential inaugurations until Ronald Reagan began a new tradition in 1981) was the site of construction for this massive underground complex, designed to facilitate a more orderly entrance for visitors to the Capitol. Prior to the center being built, visitors to the Capitol had to queue on the parking lot and ascend the stairs, whereupon entry was made through the massive sculpted Columbus Doors, through a small narthex cramped with security, and thence directly into the Rotunda. The new underground facility provides a grand entrance hall, a visitors theater, room for exhibits, and dining and restroom facilities, in addition to space for building necessities such as an underground service tunnel.

million in work around the base of the dome was done, and before the August 2012 recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to spend million to repair the exterior of the dome, which has at least 1,300 cracks that have led to rusting inside. The House wants to spend less on government operations, making it unlikely the money will be approved.[33]
Interior
Main article: United States Capitol rotunda
See also: United States Capitol Subway System

The Capitol building is marked by its central dome above a rotunda and two wings, one for each chamber of Congress: the north wing is the Senate chamber and the south wing is the House of Representatives chamber. Above these chambers are galleries where visitors can watch the Senate and House of Representatives. It is an example of the neoclassical architecture style. The statue on top of the dome is the Statue of Freedom.[39]

Underground tunnels and a private subway connect the main Capitol building with each of the Congressional office buildings in the surrounding complex. All rooms in the Capitol are designated as either S (for Senate) or H (for House), depending on whether they are north (Senate) or south (House) of the Rotunda. Additionally, all addresses in Washington, D.C. are designated NE, NW, SE, or SW, in relation to the Rotunda. Since the Capitol Rotunda is not located in the center of the District—it is slightly farther east and south—the four D.C. quadrants are not the same shape and size.
Art
The fresco painted on the interior of the Capitol’s dome titled The Apotheosis of Washington was painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865 (photo 2005)

The Capitol has a long history in art of the United States, beginning in 1856 with Italian/Greek American artist Constantino Brumidi and his murals in the hallways of the first floor of the Senate side of the Capitol. The murals, known as the Brumidi Corridors,[40] reflect great moments and people in United States history. Among the original works are those depicting Benjamin Franklin, John Fitch, Robert Fulton, and events such as the Cession of Louisiana. Also decorating the walls are animals, insects and natural flora indigenous to the United States. Brumidi’s design left many spaces open so that future events in United States history could be added. Among those added are the Spirit of St. Louis, the Moon landing, and the Challenger shuttle crew.

Brumidi also worked within the Rotunda. He is responsible for the painting of The Apotheosis of Washington beneath the top of the dome, and also the famous Frieze of United States History.[41] The Apotheosis of Washington was completed in 11 months and painted by Brumidi while suspended nearly 180 feet (55 m) in the air. It is said to be the first attempt by the United States to deify a founding father. Washington is depicted surrounded by 13 maidens in an inner ring with many Greek and Roman gods and goddesses below him in a second ring. The frieze is located around the inside of the base of the dome and is a chronological, pictorial history of the United States from the landing of Christopher Columbus to the Wright Brothers’s flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The frieze was started in 1878 and was not completed until 1953. The frieze was therefore painted by four different artists: Brumidi, Filippo Costaggini, Charles Ayer Whipple, and Allyn Cox. The final scenes depicted in the fresco had not yet occurred when Brumidi began his Frieze of the United States History.
Capitol Rotunda (photo 2005)

Within the Rotunda there are eight large paintings about the development of the United States as a nation. On the east side are four paintings depicting major events in the discovery of America. On the west are four paintings depicting the founding of the United States. The east side paintings include The Baptism of Pocahontas by John Gadsby Chapman, The Embarkation of the Pilgrims by Robert Walter Weir, The Discovery of the Mississippi by William Henry Powell, and The Landing of Columbus by John Vanderlyn. The paintings on the west side are by John Trumbull: Declaration of Independence, Surrender of General Burgoyne, Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, and General George Washington Resigning His Commission. Trumbull was a contemporary of the United States’ founding fathers and a participant in the American Revolutionary War; he painted a self-portrait into Surrender of Lord Cornwallis.

First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln hangs over the west staircase in the Senate wing.[42]
National Statuary Hall Collection viewed from the South (photo date unknown)[43]

The Capitol also houses the National Statuary Hall Collection, comprising two statues donated by each of the fifty states to honor persons notable in their histories. One of the most notable statues in the National Statuary Hall is a bronze statue of King Kamehameha donated by the state of Hawaii upon its accession to the union in 1959. The statue’s extraordinary weight of 15,000 pounds (6,804 kg) raised concerns that it might come crashing through the floor, so it was moved to Emancipation Hall of the new Capitol Visitor Center. The 100th, and last statue for the collection, that of Po’pay from the state of New Mexico, was added on September 22, 2005. It was the first statue moved into the Emancipation Hall.
Features

Under the Rotunda there is an area known as the Crypt. It was designed to look down on the final resting place of George Washington in the tomb below. However, under the stipulations of his last will, Washington was buried at Mount Vernon, and as such the area remains open to visitors. The Crypt now houses exhibits on the history of the Capitol. A star inlaid in the floor marks the point at which Washington, D.C. is divided into its four quadrants; however, the exact center of the city lies near the White House. At one end of the room near the Old Supreme Court Chamber is a statue of John C. Calhoun. On the right leg of the statue, a mark from a bullet fired during the 1998 shooting incident is clearly visible. The bullet also left a mark on the cape, located on the back right side of the statue.

Eleven presidents have lain in state in the Rotunda for public viewing, most recently Gerald Ford. The tomb meant for Washington stored the catafalque which is used to support coffins lying in state or honor in the Capitol. The catafalque is now on display in the Capitol Visitors Center for the general public to see when not in use.

The Hall of Columns is located on the House side of the Capitol, home to twenty-eight fluted columns and statues from the National Statuary Hall Collection. In the basement of the Capitol building in a utility room are two marble bathtubs, which are all that remain of the once elaborate Senate baths. These baths were a spa-like facility designed for members of Congress and their guests before many buildings in the city had modern plumbing. The facilities included several bathtubs, a barbershop, and a massage parlor.

A steep, metal staircase, totaling 365 steps, leads from the basement to an outdoor walkway on top of the Capitol’s dome.[44] The number of steps represents each day of the year.[45]
Height
Main article: Heights of Buildings Act of 1910
See also: The Height of Buildings Act of 1899
See also: List of tallest buildings in Washington, D.C.

Contrary to a popular myth, D.C. building height laws have never referenced the height of the Capitol building, which rises to 289 feet (88 m).[46] Indeed, the Capitol is only the fifth-tallest structure in Washington.
House Chamber

The House of Representatives Chamber has 448 permanent seats. Unlike Senators, Representatives do not have assigned seats.[47] It is adorned with relief portraits of famous lawmakers and lawgivers throughout history. Of the twenty-three relief portraits only Moses is sculpted from a full front view and is located across from the dais where the Speaker of the House ceremonially sits.
President George W. Bush delivering the annual State of the Union address in the House chamber (photo 2003)

There is also a quote etched in the marble of the chamber, as stated by venerable statesman Daniel Webster: "Let us develop the resources of our land, call forth its powers, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests, and see whether we also, in our day and generation, may not perform something worthy to be remembered."[49]
Senate Chamber
Main article: United States Senate Chamber
Old Supreme Court Chamber (photo 2007)

The current Senate Chamber opened in 1859[50] and is adorned with white marble busts of the former Presidents of the Senate (Vice Presidents).[51]
Old Supreme Court Chamber
Main article: Old Supreme Court Chamber

From 1800 to 1806, this room served as the Senate Chamber and from 1806 until 1860, the room was used as the Supreme Court Chamber. In 1860, the Supreme Court began using the newly vacated Old Senate Chamber. Since 1935, the Supreme Court has met in the United States Supreme Court Building.
Exterior
Grounds
See also: United States Capitol Complex
Capitol Hill and its reflection pool.
Aerial view of the Capitol Grounds from the West (photo date unknown, pre-2001)[52]

The Capitol Grounds cover approximately 274 acres (1.11 km²), with the grounds proper consisting mostly of lawns, walkways, streets, drives, and planting areas. Formerly, a number of monumental sculptures were located on the east facade and lawn of the Capitol including The Rescue and George Washington. The current grounds were designed by noted American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who planned the expansion and landscaping performed from 1874 to 1892. In 1875, as one of his first recommendations, Olmsted proposed the construction of the marble terraces on the north, west, and south sides of the building that exist today.

Olmsted also designed the Summer House, the open-air brick building that sits just north of the Capitol. Three arches open into the hexagonal structure, which encloses a fountain and twenty-two brick chairs. A fourth wall holds a small window that looks onto an artificial grotto. Built between 1879 and 1881, the Summer House was intended to answer complaints that visitors to the Capitol had no place to sit and no place to obtain water for their horses and themselves. Modern drinking fountains have since replaced Olmsted’s fountain for the latter purpose. Olmsted intended to build a second, matching Summer House on the southern side of the Capitol, but congressional objections led to the project’s cancellation.
Flags

Up to four U.S. flags can be seen flying over the Capitol. Two flagpoles are located at the base of the dome on the East and West sides. These flagpoles have flown the flag day and night since World War I. The other two flagpoles are above the North (Senate) and South (House of Representatives) wings of the building, and fly only when the chamber below is in session. The flag above the House of Representatives is raised and lowered by House pages. The flag above the United States Senate is raised and lowered by Senate Doorkeepers. To raise the flag, Doorkeepers access the roof of the Capitol from the Senate Sergeant at Arms’ office. Several auxiliary flagpoles, to the west of the dome and not visible from the ground, are used to meet congressional requests for flags flown over the Capitol.[citation needed] Constituents pay for U.S. flags flown over the Capitol to commemorate a variety of events such as the death of a veteran family member.
Major events
See also: State funerals in the United States and United States presidential inauguration
The body of former President Ronald Reagan lying in state (photo June 10, 2004)

The Capitol, as well as the grounds of Capitol Hill, have played host to major events, including presidential inaugurations held every four years. During an inauguration, the front of the Capitol is outfitted with a platform and a grand staircase. Annual events at the Capitol include Independence Day celebrations, and the National Memorial Day Concert.
In 1922 the US Post Office featured the US capitol on a US Postage stamp

The general public has paid respect to a number of individuals lying in state at the Capitol, including numerous former presidents, senators, and other officials. Other Americans lying in honor include Officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson, the two officers killed in the 1998 shooting incident. Chestnut was the first African American ever to lie in honor in the Capitol. The public also paid respect to civil rights icon Rosa Parks at the Capitol in 2005. She was the first woman and second African American to lie in honor in the Capitol.
Security
See also: United States Capitol shooting incident (1954), 1983 United States Senate bombing, and United States Capitol shooting incident (1998)

On January 30, 1835, what is believed to be the first attempt to kill a sitting President of the United States occurred just outside the United States Capitol. When President Andrew Jackson was leaving the Capitol out of the East Portico after the funeral of South Carolina Representative Warren R. Davis, Richard Lawrence, an unemployed and deranged housepainter from England, either burst from a crowd or stepped out from hiding behind a column and aimed a pistol at Jackson which misfired. Lawrence then pulled out a second pistol which also misfired. It has since been postulated that the moisture from the humid weather of the day contributed to the double misfiring.[53] Lawrence was then restrained, with legend saying that Jackson attacked Lawrence with his cane, prompting his aides to restrain him. Others present, including David Crockett, restrained and disarmed Lawrence.

On July 2, 1915, prior to the United States’ entry into World War I, Eric Muenter (aka Frank Holt), a German professor who wanted to stop American support of the Allies in World War I, exploded a bomb in the reception room of the U.S. Senate. The next morning he tried to assassinate J. P. Morgan, Jr., son of the financier, at his home on Long Island, New York. In a letter to the Washington Evening Star published after the explosion, Muenter writing under an assumed name, said he hoped that the detonation would "make enough noise to be heard above the voices that clamor for war." J.P. Morgan’s company served as Great Britain’s principal U.S. purchasing agent for munitions and other war supplies.
The Capitol at night (photo 2006)

In 1954, Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire on members of Congress from the visitors’ gallery. On March 1, 1971, a bomb exploded on the ground floor of the Capitol, placed by the radical left domestic terrorist group, the Weather Underground. They placed the bomb as a demonstration against U.S. involvement in Laos. On November 7, 1983, a group called the Armed Resistance Unit claimed responsibility for a bomb that detonated in the lobby outside the office of Senate Minority Leader Robert Byrd.[54] Six people associated with the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee were later found in contempt of court for refusing to testify about the bombing.[55] In 1990, three members of the Armed Resistance Unit were convicted of the bombing, which they claimed was in response to the invasion of Grenada.[56] On July 24, 1998, Russell Eugene Weston Jr. burst into the Capitol and opened fire, killing two Capitol Police officers. The Capitol is believed to have been the intended target of the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, before it crashed near Shanksville in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after passengers tried to take over control of the plane from hijackers.[57][58]

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the roads and grounds around the Capitol have undergone dramatic changes. The United States Capitol Police have also installed checkpoints to inspect vehicles at specific locations around Capitol Hill,[59][60] and have closed a section of one street indefinitely.[60] The level of screening employed varies. On the main east-west thoroughfares of Constitution and Independence Avenues, barricades are implanted in the roads that can be raised in the event of an emergency. Trucks larger than pickups are interdicted by the Capitol Police and are instructed to use other routes. On the checkpoints at the shorter cross streets, the barriers are typically kept in a permanent "emergency" position, and only vehicles with special permits are allowed to pass. All Capitol visitors are screened by a magnetometer, and all items that visitors may bring inside the building are screened by an x-ray device. In both chambers, gas masks are located underneath the chairs in each chamber for members to use in case of emergency.[citation needed] Structures ranging from scores of Jersey barriers to hundreds of ornamental bollards have been erected to obstruct the path of any vehicles that might stray from the designated roadways.[61]
Capitol Visitor Center
Opening ceremony of the Capitol Visitor Center, December 2008. The plaster cast model of the Statue of Freedom is in the foreground.
Main article: United States Capitol Visitor Center

The underground, three-level, 580,000-square-foot (54,000 m2) United States Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) opened on December 2, 2008. The CVC is meant to bring all visitors in through one handicap accessible security checkpoint, yards away from the Capitol itself, increasing security and offering visitors educational exhibits, a food court, and restrooms. The estimated final cost of constructing the CVC was US1 million.[62] The project had long been in the planning stages, but the 1998 killings of two Capitol Police officers provided the impetus to start work. Construction began in the fall of 2001.

Critics say that security improvements have been the least of the project’s expense. Construction delays and added features by Congress added greatly to the cost. Citizens Against Government Waste have called the CVC a "Monument to Waste".[63] However many, including those who work in the Capitol, consider it a necessary and appropriate historical project. It is located completely underground, though skylights provide views of the Capitol dome.

Fort Monroe, Virginia
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Image by dbking
www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Fort-Monroes-L…

Fort Monroe, Virginia (also known as Fortress Monroe) is a military installation located at Old Point Comfort on the tip of the Virginia Peninsula at the mouth of Hampton Roads on the Chesapeake Bay in eastern Virginia in the United States.

In 1634, the area became part of Elizabeth River Shire, and was included in Elizabeth City County when it was formed in 1643. The area including Fort Monroe became part of the independent city of Hampton when Elizabeth City County and the Town of Phoebus agreed to consolidate with Hampton in 1952.

Fort Monroe was completed in 1834, and is named in honor of U.S. President James Monroe. Completely surrounded by a moat, the six-sided stone fort is the only one of its kind left in the United States.

In 1609, Captain John Smith and the colonists of the Virginia Company who established the Jamestown Settlement on the James River in 1607 recognized the strategic importance of the site for purposes of coastal defense and built Fort Algernourne at the location of the present Fort Monroe. Throughout the Colonial period, fortifications were manned at the location from time to time.

Early 19th century
Following the War of 1812, the United States again came to realize the importance of protecting Hampton Roads and the inland waters from attack by sea, and construction was begun in 1819 on what would become the largest stone fort ever built in the United States. The fort features a moat completely surrounding the inner structures. As a young 1st Lieutenant and engineer, Robert E. Lee was stationed there from 1831 to 1834, and played a major role in the final construction of both Fort Monroe and its opposite, Fort Calhoun, later renamed Fort Wool, a man-made island across the navigational channel from Old Point Comfort in the middle of the mouth of Hampton Roads.

When construction was completed in 1834, Fort Monroe was referred to as the "Gibraltar of Chesapeake Bay." The fort accomplished this mission by mounting an impressive complement of the most powerful artillery of the time, 32-pounder guns with a range of over one mile. In conjunction with Fort Calhoun (later Fort Wool), this was just enough range to cover the main shipping channel into the area.

American Civil War 1860/61
Fort Monroe played an important role in the American Civil War. On December 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union. Four months later, on April 12, 1861, troops of that state opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston’s harbor. Five days later, Virginia became the eighth Southern state to withdraw from the Union, and join the newly formed Confederacy.

President Abraham Lincoln had Fort Monroe quickly reinforced so that it would not fall to Confederate forces. It was held by Union forces throughout the Civil War and several sea and land expeditions were launched from there by Union forces.

A few weeks after the Battle of Fort Sumter in 1861, US General-in-Chief Winfield Scott proposed to President Lincoln a plan to bring the states back into the Union: cut the Confederacy off from the rest of the world instead of attacking its army in Virginia. His plan was to blockade the Confederacy’s coastline and control the Mississippi River valley with gunboats. In cooperation with the Navy, troops from Fort Monroe extended Union control along the coasts of the Carolinas as Lincoln ordered a blockade of the southern seaboard from the South Carolina line to the Rio Grande River on April 19, and on April 27 extended it to include the North Carolina and Virginia coasts.

On April 20 the Union Navy burned and evacuated the Norfolk Navy Yard, destroying nine ships in the process, leaving only Fort Monroe at Old Point Comfort as the last bastion of the United States in Tidewater Virginia. Occupation of Norfolk gave the Confederacy its only major shipyard and thousands of heavy guns, but they held it for only one year. CS Brigadier General Walter Gwynn, who commanded the Confederate defenses around Norfolk, erected batteries at Sewell’s Point, both to protect Norfolk and to control Hampton Roads.

The Union dispatched a fleet to Hampton Roads to enforce the blockade, and in 1861 on May 18 and May 19, federal gunboats based at Fort Monroe exchanged fire with the Confederate batteries at Sewell’s Point. The little-known Battle of Sewell’s Point resulted in little damage to either side. Several land operations against Confederate forces also were mounted from the fort, notably the Battle of Big Bethel in June 1861.

Fort Monroe is also the place at which, on May 27, 1861, Major General Benjamin Butler made his famous “contraband” decision, by which escaping slaves reaching Union lines would not be returned to bondage. The order resulted in waves of enslaved people fleeing to Union lines around Fort Monroe, which was Butler’s headquarters in Virginia.

In March 1862, the naval Battle of Hampton Roads took place off Sewell’s Point between the first ironclad warships, CSS Virginia and USS Monitor. While the outcome was inconclusive, the battle marked a change in naval warfare and the end to wooden fighting ships.

Later that spring, the continuing presence of the Union Navy based at Fort Monroe enabled Federal water transports from Washington DC to land unmolested to support Major General George B. McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign. Formed at Fort Monroe, McClellan’s troops moved up the Virginia Peninsula during the spring of 1862, reaching within a few miles of the gates of Richmond about 80 miles to the west by June 1. For the next 30 days, they laid siege to Richmond. Then, during the Seven Days Battles, McClellan decided to fall back to the James River well below Richmond, ending the campaign. Fortunately for McClellan, during this time, Union troops regained control of Norfolk, Hampton Roads, and the James River below Drewry’s Bluff (a strategic point about 8 miles south of Richmond).

In 1864, the Union Army of the James under Major General U.S. Grant was formed at Fort Monroe, and the Siege of Petersburg during 1864 and 1865 was supported on the James River from a base at City Point (now Hopewell, Virginia). Maintaining the control of Hampton Roads at Fort Monroe and Fort Wool was crucial to the naval support Grant required for the successful Union campaign to take Petersburg, which was the key to the fall of the Confederate capitol at Richmond. As Petersburg fell, Richmond was evacuated in 1865 on the night of April 2-April 3. That night, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet escaped Richmond, taking the Richmond and Danville Railroad to moving first to Danville and then North Carolina. However, the cause was lost, and Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered what was left of the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant at Appomattox Court House the following week.

After the last Confederate cabinet meeting was held on April 26, 1865 at Charlotte, North Carolina, former Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured at Irwinville, Georgia and placed under arrest. He was confined in an unheated, open casemate at Fort Monroe for two years. Some historians have speculated that his treatment in captivity was intended to be fatal. In poor health, Davis was released in May, 1867 on bail which was posted by prominent citizens of both northern and southern states, including Horace Greeley and Cornelius Vanderbilt who had become convinced he was being treated unfairly. The federal government proceeded no further in its prosecution due to the constitutional concerns of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase.

Over time the armament at Fort Monroe was improved, taking advantage of new technologies. In addition, the fort controlled several sub installations around Hampton Roads, making the area one of the most heavily defended in the United States.

The Jamestown Exposition held in 1907 at Hampton Roads, featured an extensive naval review, including the Great White Fleet. Beginning in 1917, the former exposition site at Sewell’s Point became a major base of the United States Navy. Currently, Norfolk Navy Base is the base supporting naval forces operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Indian Ocean. It is the world’s largest Naval Station; in fact, based on supported military population, it is the largest naval installation in the world.

Fort Monroe and Fort Wool stood guard during World War I and World War II, and successfully protected Hampton Roads and the important military and civilian resources located inland.

By World War II, Fort Monroe served as headquarters for an impressive array of coast artillery guns ranging from 3-inch rapid fire guns to 16-inch guns capable of firing a 2,000 pound projectile 25 miles. In addition, the Army controlled submarine barriers and underwater mine fields. But this vast array of armaments was all made obsolete by the development of the long-range bomber and the aircraft carrier after the second World War.

After the operational armament was removed, Fort Monroe received a mission that it still maintains to this day. Since World War II, it has served as the major headquarters for training soldiers for war. In 1973, Fort Monroe became home to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), which combines the training of soldiers with the development of operational doctrine and the development and procurement of new weapons systems.

Fort Monroe supports a daytime population of about 2,096, including 1,105 people in uniform, 1,991 civilian and contract employees, and about 814 family members residing on post.

In addition to continuing to serve as an active military installation, Fort Monroe has become a popular historical site. The Casemate Museum, opened in 1951, depicts the history of Fort Monroe and Old Point Comfort, with special emphasis on the Civil War period. It offers a view of Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ prison cell. Also shown are the quarters occupied by 1st Lt. Robert E. Lee in 1831-34, and the quarters where President Abraham Lincoln was a guest in May 1862.

Nearby, Fort Monroe’s companion guardian of Hampton Roads, Fort Wool, located at Rip Raps is also available for tours.

Note: Fort Wool is located adjacent to one of the man-made islands of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and is accessible only by water. The availability of public tours of both Fort Wool and Fort Monroe are subject to Homeland Security Alert conditions.

Base Realignment and Closure, 2005
The information on this page may change as a result of the 2005 U.S. Base Realignment and Closure Program (BRAC 2005).

The Department of Defense released a list on 13 May 2005 of military installations recommended for closure and/or realignment–among them is Fort Monroe. The list has been approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and will be submitted to Congress and President Bush, who must then approve it by 23 September.

It is unclear as to what will become of the base after closing. Given the historic significance of the base, it is inevitable that substantial parts of it will be turned into another of the many historical sites located throughout the greater Hampton Roads area.

However, the city of Hampton has recently received numerous proposals for high-end residential and commercial development on the site once Fort Monroe is decommissioned. Because of the scarcity and desirability of waterfront property, the fort area is prime development property. Development will be facilitated by the fact that most of the land on which the fort stands was loaned by the state of Virginia to the federal government, and will revert to the state once Fort Monroe closes.

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