Signage: Brigadier General Simon Bernard - Casemate Museum, Fort Monroe - Hampton, VA
Born in Dolke, France, on April 22, 1779, he fought during the Napoleonic Wars and in 1805 was recognized by Napolean for the intelligence he collected that was used in the defeat of the Austrians at the Battle of Austerlitz. On January 21, 1813, he was made aide-de-camp to the emperor. After Napoleans abdication on April 11, 1814, Bernard was allowed to remain in the Army under the restored monarch, Louis the 18th. But when Napoleon returned from exile on March 1, 1815, he transferred his allegiance and again served him as aide-de-camp. After Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, Bernard received permission to go to the United States in 1816. Recognizing his talents as an engineer, President James Madison put him in charge of a new board of officers to oversee the construction of a new system of coastal defenses. Bernard personally designed Fort Monroe and several fortifications, and under his direction the board created a network of coastal defense extending from Maine to Louisiana. When King Charles the 10th was overthrown in 1830, he was able to return to his native country. He was twice appointed as Minister of War and died on November 5, 1839 in Paris.