Hampton Roads is the name given to the channel through which the waters of the Elizabeth, Nansemond, and James rivers blow into Chesapeake Bay. At the mouth of the James and on the north side of the Roads is Newport News, while to the south and east are Norfolk and Portsmouth on the Elizabeth. Together, these cities constitute the Port of Hampton Roads.
The entrance to Hampton Roads is guarded by forts Monroe and Wool. The Civil War battle between the Monitor and the CSS Virginia (Merrimack) took place here. The Hampton Roads Peace Conference, designed to bring the war to and end, took place here but had no effect. During World War II, the importance of the Roads increased.