Civil War

Should U.S. Forts Be Named After Confederate Traitors?

I don’t think anything should be named after Confederates, especially when the same people who lionize the Confederacy also refused to allow a Muslim community center to be built near Ground Zero.

Author Jamie Malanowski, one of the NYT’s Disunion Civil War bloggers thinks it’s time for legislation to rename forts carrying the names of Confederate commanders (Fort Bragg, Fort Lee, etc).

Changing the names of these bases would not mean that we can’t still respect the service of those Confederate leaders; nor would it mean that we are imposing our notions of morality on people of a long-distant era. What it would mean is that we’re upholding our own convictions. It’s time to rename these bases. Surely we can find, in the 150 years since the Civil War, 10 soldiers whose exemplary service not only upheld our most important values, but was actually performed in the defense of the United States.


  • LeShan Jones

    I’ve wondered about this subject myself, as I am active duty Army. I’m currently stationed on FT Bragg in North Carolina, named after GEN Braxton Bragg. Here on FT Bragg they’ll tell you they named it for a N. Carolina native who did well in the war with Mexico, that’s the only thing that makes sense because he was a piss-poor general in the Confederacy and his men hated him.
    FT Bragg was opened in 1918 well within the time period of the lost cause mythology, clearly they named it after Bragg as a peace offering to all the unreconstructed confederates that still were around at the time. On FT Bragg we have two streets named for rebel generals; Longstreet and Armistead. GEN Lew Armistead was killed during Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, and James Longstreet (who was over both Pickett and Armistead) was villanized by the south for daring to criticize Lee’s tactics at Gettysburg. The south pretty much blamed him for the loss and came to hate him for cooperating with the north after the war as well as trying to help the freedman’s bureau to enlist black voters, he even led a militia unit (a black one I think) against a New Orleans mob over voting rights.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Instead of generals, why not name bases after Medal of Honor recipients? They’ve sacrificed more.

  • Nanotyrnns

    When we got a new fancy bridge in Savannah to replace the old truss (named after Eugene Talmadge – a man so corrupt and crooked that when he died they probably had to screw him into the ground) that crossed the Savannah River, it was supposed to be named after the local Native American chief that had been there at the colony’s founding in 1733. Tomochichi. Nifty name. Probably a fine fella.

    Guess what we went with after a lot of sturm und drang? Yeah. The corrupt white guy. We HONORED that guy by naming TWO bridges after him.

    You’ll never get the South (i.e. “Congress”) to let go of their over-romanticized boner-inducing Lost Cause Heroes.

    I’m telling you, we wont be free of this nonsense until we just sell off the whole fucking Confederacy. Let them be someone else’s problem for a while. Maybe the Caymans? I hear there’s lots of money stashed in those Cayman Island post office boxes…

  • Mike_Norris

    I don’t know how many people know this, but here is an interesting comment on the matter: When the navy designed the ballistic missile submarines in the 1950’s, construction of the SSBN submarines actually began in 1960. It was decided that these submarines would be named for “patriotic Americans.” Forty-one of these submarines were built and they were called the “Forty-One for Freedom.” These submarines carried names like Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and even some obscure names like Tecumseh and Kamehameha.

    I don’t think there was an order of precedence in the naming of these ships, but it was decided that the first ship of the class would be named USS George Washington (SSBN 598). The second ship was Patrick Henry (SSBN 599), the third was Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN 600). So what was the fourth ship named? USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN 601). So, that’s right everyone, the fourth ship of forty-one designed to be the first response weapon in the event of an enemy nuclear attack, the second most powerful warships ever built by this country, was named for the traitor who lead the army that revolted against the United States in the American civil war. Do you want to ponder an irony that just simply cannot be explained? The fifth ship of the class, (SSBN 602), was USS Abraham Lincoln.

    • LeShan Jones

      That reminds me of something I saw once in a soldier clinic on FT Huachuca. There was a number of placards on the wall detailing various soldier for each of the army values (Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage).
      The placard for honor had Robert E.Lee pictured and extolled his belief that in order to keep his honor, he had to break his oath to his country and follow his “country’, meaning his state, out in open rebellion to the United States.
      Needless to say, I found that an awfully strange example of honor.

  • nicole

    I really love this idea, but, can you imagine this getting through Congress? If this ever happens, I don’t think it will be for a very, very long time.

  • trgahan

    It will never happen. Such a move would easily be branded as PC liberalism run amuck and a sign that “Real America” is being forced into extinction. Probably would be better to make a concerted effort to re-inject the historic reality of the Civil War into the public square to begin eroding the Lost Cause mythology that has dominated public discussion of this important moment in history.

  • joseph2004

    I agree with you on the fort names, but I’m wondering, who exactly refused to allow the Muslim community center to be built “near” Ground Zero? The only thing that’s threatened the project is a lack of funding.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Clearly you weren’t paying attention, joseph. While not in a position to officially “allow” or not allow the community center, Fox and many prominent “conservatives” did all they could to demonize the center and try to get those who were in a position to “disallow” it to do so.

      • LeShan Jones

        Not to mention the fact that people in other communities were outraged at the thought of a mosque being built in their neighborhoods at all. Mississippi and Oklahoma were two places they were upset about it at.