Page 2 of the Fortress Monticello


It's really strange that nobody has figured out what Monticello's true purpose was. I thought about every twentieth person that visited Monticello would realize that the height was to throw off the aim of a cannon and then I'd have to have them swear not to tell the English.

Then twenty people came to visit and left but nobody said anything and then fifty came and went. I couldn't believe that nobody noticed. When two hundred came and nobody had figured out why I put in windows that covered two floors I had a small celebration. It was because I didn't have to prevent spies from hearing about it and coming by to check it out for themselves. At the same time I could not believe that I had been that incorrect in my surmisal of others. The skill to detect such camouflage was far less common than I had thought.

By my death in that life nobody out of a thousand people had ever figured it out but now the the number stands at over 25 million visitors and yet nobody has even figured out what Thomas Jefferson put in a disappearing stairway and all those tunnels for.

By 1805 everyone knew war with England was inevitable. I knew it was by 1796 so I rebuilt Monticello into the fort it now is. The capital wasn't at all secure from an invasion since it was very close to the mouth of the Potomac River and also an easy overland march from Baltimore. They could easily take the capital long before our army could be alerted, rallied, and gotten to the capital so that they could defend it. It was obvious that we needed an alternate location for the federal government that was further inland. Monticello was chosen so that if an army marched there, by the time they got halfway to it 50,000 of our troops would have converged behind them and cut them off from any hope of escape.

It was a big trap for the English.

Monticello being 100 miles inland was perfect for an emergency location for the US Government. Interestingly Monticello is almost exactly half way between the US capital and the Greenbrier which was built 150 years later for exactly the same purpose as Monticello was.

The only two differences are that Monticello was built mostly above ground and that it has remained a secret for much longer.

The senators were to stay at Monticello but where would the Representatives have stayed? At George Divers House.

There are other building that I designed including George Divers House, which is now The Farmington Country Club. Built from 1785-1802 you can see the round windows for cannon.

The part that bulges out on the side looks a lot like a turret on a castle. It was. That side of that building didn't have a clear field of fire as I recall. It was easier for enemy soldiers to get close to it than on the other sides. If the enemy army got right under the cannons on that side of the building they couldn't be shot so the turret was needed in order to be able to easily fire down on them.

I've never been to Monticello or even Virginia so all this information is from my memories and what I have found on the internet. I'm certain if I was there I could point out many additional facts and actually remember much more information.

There are records in the war department about the tests of the cannons and other information. It is labeled as fortress Manhattan, not Monticello. The defenses at Monticello did their job in a different way than was expected. The English got a spy to send them copies of the records about the cannons and their ranges, etc.

During the War of 1812 they assumed 'Manhattan' was a secret fort at Manhattan Island but they couldn't figure out where it was. They looked and sent men ashore by long boats at night to look for the fort. Then they assumed it was on Staten Island, then maybe Long Island.

They had several sets of contingency orders from the Admiralty in England that were based on where 'Manhattan Fortress' was. They were under strict orders to locate the fort first and then use the orders specific to the fort being in that location. The fort could never be located and they were pretty certain it didn't exist. However they did not have a set of orders to be used if there was no Manhattan Fortress near New York city. .

Consequently England never attacked New York City in the War of 1812. That is the only reason they didn't attack it. Obviously it was the number two target of the English. Until now nobody has been able to adequately explain why New York was not attacked in the War of 1812

One building that I had a hand in designing did not have a strong floor under the windows for cannon but there were slots in a lattice work that could be quickly assembled which would support 12 pound cannons. There were/are more secret defenses disguised as common houses around Charlottesville that I either designed or helped design.

Like this one on the right, it was just a simple suggestion a younger Thomas Jefferson exuberantly made in 5 minutes presentation to the White House architect. He took it and ran with it but there was little that I added after that one suggestion.

You don't see any kind of defense system on this picture of the original 'White House' do you?

Well try this next picture of the stone walls of the presidents mansion or White House (left) after the War of 1812 when the White House was burned. Now notice that the easy to remove wood facade was burned off on the right side of the roof. That is a battlements just like on old world castles. The slots are called embrasures and were primarily for cannon. There were other locations on the presidents mansion where riflemen were stationed.

There is a lot more to Monticello's United States defenses than just these examples. I'll add them on this page when I remember them. So come back again later. Like they said in the film, National Treasure 'The clues are right in front of your eyes'.

Except they missed the rest of it. Instead of map to it being on the back of the 'Declaration of Independence' the map is the person behind the Declaration of Independence'.

The map who sits at this computer can guide you to at least 20 national treasures of which the secret Monticello is only the first.

Where to locate trinkets in Monticello

There are active archeology projects going on at Monticello and maybe I can remember a few places with easy to locate artifacts.

There was a hitching post in front where trinkets often fell out of men's pockets when they got off their horses. The archeologists could pick them up easily there.

There is a place in the back where men were directed if they wanted to water their horse. That location was often muddy and if objects fell they were usually not recovered, especially copper and silver coins. You can probably find some artifacts there using metal detectors since even gold coins fell from men's pockets while getting on and off their mounts. That area may be located by posts in the ground that were probably broken off at ground level.

However if you really want to find items that fell out of pockets and were almost never retrieved then you might want to excavate the guest latrine. Now that would be a real gold mine as nothing ever got recovered that went in there!.


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