- Capt. Justin Wright / US Army / DVIDS
- The House of Representatives passed the defense spending bill with a measure preventing the Pentagon from further honoring the Confederacy. The US military, which defeated the Confederacy after a devastating toll of 620,000 dead, currently used 10 bases named for Confederate soldiers.
- Fort Lee, in Virginia, is named after Gen. Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Confederate States Army and a slaveholder.
- There’s no plan to rename the installations that honor the Confederacy.
- The measure comes amid a cultural reckoning about the legacy of the Civil War, with many citizens demanding the removal of statutes honoring leaders of a movement that fought to defend the enslavement of black people.
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The United States is still grappling with the legacy of the Civil War, but legislators in the House of Representatives are moving to prevent the military from naming any assets – including bases and warships – after Confederate soldiers or any locations of Confederate victory, Politico reported.
A draft of the National Defense Authorization Act passed the House last week, and contains explicit language barring the practice. Even if this amendment is signed into law, it wouldn’t retroactively apply to assets currently honoring the Confederacy like the cruiser USS Chancellorsville, named for an important Confederate victory.
After a significant cultural reckoning with the legacy of the Confederacy, including the removal of statues and monuments honoring the Confederate dead, the military still uses 10 bases that honor Confederate soldiers – men that fought to uphold the practice of slavery.
“We are naming ships of the United States Navy after people who fought war against the United States,” a veteran told Navy Times.
Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina is named for Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg.
Fort Bragg is home to the Airborne and Special Operations Forces. Established in 1918 as Camp Bragg, the base is one of the largest military installations in the world and employs about 57,000 military personnel, according to the Army.
Fort Bragg is also named after Braxton Bragg, a Confederate general and West Point graduate who was born in Warrenton, North Carolina. The Army’s history of the base doesn’t mention Bragg’s Confederate ties, saying instead that the base bears his name because of his success in the Mexican-American War that began in 1846.
According to the National Park Service, Bragg had resigned from the Army and “was overseeing his Louisiana plantation when the [Civil] war began.”
Bragg was apointed a brigadier general in 1861, commanding defenses from Pensacola, Florida to Mobile, Alabama. He later commanded the Army of Tennessee, and after a series of defeats, went to Richmond to advise Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He died in 1876.
Fort A.P. Hill is named for Ambrose Powell Hill, who was killed in the Civil War.
Fort A.P. Hill, located near Bowling Green, Virginia was established June 11, 1941 as a training installation, a role it still serves today. The Army estimates that 80,000 troops from all branches of the military trained here each year during the War on Terror. It also hosted the Boy Scout Jamboree every four years from 1981 to 2005, and in 2010 as well.
The Army calls A.P. (short for Ambrose Powell) Hill a “distinguished” Confederate general, and notes that John Wilkes Booth was killed nearby.
A.P. Hill served in the Confederate army.
- Library of Congress
Hill was born in Culpeper, Virginia, and was a graduate of West Point. He died in 1865 at the Third Battle of Petersburg, according to Military.com.
Fort Lee is named for Gen. Robert E. Lee, perhaps the most famous Confederate general.
- Terrance Bell / US Army Garrison Fort Lee Public Affairs
Fort Lee, in Prince George County, Virginia, is named for Robert E. Lee, the Virginia general who was a slave owner. Fort Lee was established as Camp Lee in 1917, but the original site was dismantled after the end of World War I, but re-established during World War II. In 1950, it was formally renamed Fort Lee, and it’s now the Army’s third-largest training site.
Robert E. Lee was one of the Confederacy’s most famous figures. He surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant in 1865, ending the Civil War.
- The Library of Congress
The commander of the Confederate States Army, Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865. He was reportedly a cruel slavemaster, breaking up slave families, ordering runaway slaves to be mercilessly whipped, and captured and enslaved free Black people when his army fought in Pennsylvania, according to The Atlantic.
Fort Pickett is named for Maj. Gen. George Pickett, who led an eponymous, ill-fated charge in the Battle of Gettysburg.
Fort Pickett is a Virginia National Guard installation near Blackstone, Virginia. It was established as Camp Pickett on July 3, 1942 at 3:00 PM – 79 years to the hour after Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett began his charge at the Battle of Gettysburg, as the Virginia National Guard notes.
Fort Pickett hosts the Virginia National Guard and Air Guard.
Maj. Gen. George Pickett left the US Army to join the Confederate Army in 1861.
- Library of Congress
Pickett graduated last in his class from West Point in 1846. He lost more than half his command during the charge up Cemetery Ridge during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, according to the National Parks Service.
Fort Gordon is home to the US Army Cyber Corps and Signal Corps.
Fort Gordon was established as Camp Gordon in Georgia during World War II. German and Italian prisoners of war were kept there during the war, and the remains of 22 POWs are buried there, according to the Army.
Gordon rose to become a Confederate general.
Fort Benning, also in Georgia, is named for Brig. Gen. Henry Benning, who was born in Georgia.
- Patrick Albright / US Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning Public Affairs / DVIDS
Brig. Gen. Henry Benning was “an outstanding lawyer-turned-soldier from Columbus,” and the base honoring him was founded October 7, 1918, according to the Army.
Fort Rucker is named after Col. Edmund Rucker.
- Airman 1st Class Lillian Miller / US Air Force / DVIDS
Fort Rucker, an Army Aviation training base in Alabama, was established May 1, 1942. Edmund Rucker was a Confederate colonel – not a general – and became an industrial leader in Alabama after the war. German and Italian prisoners of war were held nearby during World War II, according to the Army.
Louisiana’s Camp Beauregard is named for Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard.
Louisiana’s National Guard calls Camp Beauregard, located in Pineville, Louisiana, home. Beauregard was a West Point graduate, and championed the use of what we now recognize as the Confederate flag, according to The Washington Post.
Louisiana’s Fort Polk is named for Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk.
- Capt. Justin Wright / US Army / DVIDS
Polk was a second cousin of US President James Polk, and died during the Battle of Atlanta. Polk was a West Point graduate but served as an Episcopal priest until he joined the Confederacy, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Fort Polk, located in central Louisiana, hosts the Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center.
Fort Hood is named for Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood.
- Sgt. Gregory Hunter / 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment / DVIDS
Fort Hood opened in 1942 and is now the largest active-duty armored post in the Armed Forces, according to the Army. It’s named for John Bell Hood, who was a West Point graduate who served in the US Army until the Civil War, when he joined the Confederacy, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.