Abraham Eustis

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Abraham Eustis (March 26, 1786 – June 27, 1843) was a lawyer and notable U.S. Army officer, eventually rising to become a Brevet Brigadier General. He saw service in Florida and became a notable artillery specialist and the first commander of Fort Monroe, located at the entrance to the harbor of Hampton Roads in Virginia.

In the State of Florida, Lake Eustis and the town of Eustis were each named in his honor. Camp Abraham Eustis, a World War I-era U.S. Army base along the James River, was named for him. Later renamed Fort Eustis and now located in the independent city of Newport News, Virginia, it is part of an expanded and active facility, Joint Base Langley-Eustis.


Eustis was born in Petersburg, Virginia. He was educated at Harvard College and Bowdoin College. He joined the army in May 1808, and served during the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War (1832), and the Seminole Wars in Florida.

In 1830, Eustis became the first commander of Fort Monroe, which guards the entrance to Hampton Roads at Old Point Comfort in southeastern Virginia. There for many years, he commanded the school for Artillery Practice.

In May 1838, Eustis took command of Fort Butler, one of the main military posts built for the forced removal of the Cherokee known as the Trail of Tears. Nearly 5,000 Cherokee of North Carolina and adjacent Georgia were taken to Fort Butler, thence to the main internment camp at Fort Cass. The troops stationed at Fort Butler were those of Eustis's command from the Second Seminole War in Florida (Duncan 2003:190).

He was the father of Brig. Gen. Henry L. Eustis.

Fort Eustis[edit]

Fort Eustis was originally known as Camp Abraham Eustis when it was established during World War I on historic Mulberry Island and an adjacent portion of the mainland along the James River in Warwick County, upstream from Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. It became Fort Eustis and a permanent Army base in 1923.

Fort Eustis is currently home to the U.S. Army Transportation Corps, and is now located within the corporate limits of the independent city of Newport News (which merged with the former Warwick County in 1958). An Army Aviation School is also located there. The James River Reserve Fleet of mothballed vessels, known locally as the "Ghost Fleet" is located in the river offshore.

With the base closure of Fort Monroe in nearby Hampton, a portion of the work there has shifted to Fort Eustis.


  • Eustace Families Association website
  • Fort Eustis history
  • Duncan, Barbara R. and Riggs, Brett H. Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook. University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill (2003). ISBN 0-8078-5457-3

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