Hampton RoadsHampton Roads is a channel through which the waters of the James River, Nansemond River, and Elizabeth River of Virginia pass (between Old Point Comfort to the north and Sewell’s Point to the south) into Chesapeake Bay. It is an important highway of commerce, especially for the cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Newport News, and is a chief rendezvous of the United States Navy. For a width of 500 feet the Federal government during 1902 through 1905 increased its minimum depth at low water from 25.5 feet to 30 feet. The entrance from Chesapeake Bay was (in 1911) defended by Fortress Monroe on Old Point Comfort and by Fort Wood on a small island called the Rip Raps near the middle of the channel; and at Portsmouth, a few miles up the Elizabeth River, is an important naval yard.
- (from an old encyclopedia)