This detail from a Civil War-era map shows Elizabeth City County, a strategically important location at the southeastern tip of Virginia that is bordered by the Chesapeake Bay and the Hampton Roads channel that connects the James, Nansemond, and Elizabeth rivers to the Chesapeake. Noted on the map is the location in Hampton Roads channel of the 1862 battle between two ironclad ships—the USS Monitor and the CSSVirginia (created from the federal steam frigate USS Merrimack, misspelled on the map as Merrimac). Also shown on the map is the location of Fort Monroe, the military installation controlled by Federal forces throughout the war that took in enslaved people who sought self-emancipation. The fort is located on Point Comfort, which was also the place where the first enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to Virginia in 1619.
The political entity of Elizabeth City County, created in 1634, lasted until 1952 when it was merged into the city of Hampton.