List of U.S. Army installations named for Confederate soldiers facts for kids
Numerous military installations in the United States are named after general officers in the Confederate States Army (CSA). These are all U.S. Army or Army National Guard posts, named mostly following World War I and during the 1940s.
There are 10 major U.S. military bases named in honor of Confederate military leaders, all in former Confederate States:
- Camp Beauregard (1917), near Pineville, Louisiana, a Louisiana National Guard installation named for Louisiana native and Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
- Fort Benning (1917), near Columbus, Georgia, named after Henry L. Benning, a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army
- Fort Bragg (1918), in North Carolina, named for Confederate General Braxton Bragg
- Fort Gordon (1917), near Grovetown, Georgia, named in honor of John Brown Gordon, who was a major general in the Confederate army
- Fort A.P. Hill (1941), near Bowling Green, Virginia, named for Virginia native and Confederate Lieutenant General A. P. Hill
- Fort Hood (1942), in Killeen, Texas, named after Confederate General John Bell Hood, who is best known for commanding the Texas Brigade during the American Civil War
- Fort Lee (1917), in Prince George County, Virginia, named for Confederate General Robert E. Lee
- Fort Pickett (1942), near Blackstone, Virginia, a Virginia National Guard installation named for Confederate General George Pickett
- Fort Polk (1941), near Leesville, Louisiana, named in honor of the Right Reverend Leonidas Polk, an Episcopal Bishop and Confederate General
- Fort Rucker (1942), in Dale County, Alabama, named for Edmund Rucker, a colonel appointed acting brigadier general in November 1864, but whose promotion went unconfirmed by the Confederate Congress (disbanded March 18, 1865)
Other installations are:
- Camp Maxey, near Paris, Texas, a Texas National Guard installation named after Confederate Brigadier General Samuel B. Maxey
- Camp Pendleton, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, a Virginia National Guard installation named after Confederate Brigadier General William N. Pendleton
Other 20th century installations, now deactivated, named for Confederate Generals were:
- Camp Breckinridge, in Kentucky, named for John C. Breckinridge
- Camp Forrest, a large WWII-era training base near Tullahoma, Tennessee named for Nathan Bedford Forrest
- Camp Pike, a U.S. Army Reserve installation co-located with Camp Joseph T. Robinson outside Little Rock, Arkansas named after Confederate General Albert Pike
- Camp Van Dorn, another massive WWII-era training facility near Centreville, Mississippi named for CSA Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn
- Camp Wheeler, in Georgia, named for Joseph Wheeler
Calls to rename
In 2015, the Pentagon declared it would not rename any military installations named after Confederate generals, saying “the naming occurred in the spirit of reconciliation, not division”, and declined to make further comment in 2017.
In June 2020, during nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd by police officers, the U.S. military began rethinking its traditional connection to Confederate Army symbols, including base names. The use of confederate flags, and statues or memorials dedicated to Confederate Army officers, has been seen as part of racism in the country.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy indicated they were "open to a bipartisan discussion", but then-President Donald Trump said his administration would "not even consider" renaming what he called "Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations" that "have become part of a Great American Heritage, a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom." If Congress were to pass such legislation, said Trump's press secretary, the president would not sign it. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's firing on November 9, 2020, is believed to be related to his openness to renaming the bases.
In July 2020, U.S. Army general Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a House Armed Services Committee hearing that prominent Army bases named for rebel generals are divisive and can be offensive to black people in uniform, noting that the Army is about 20% black. Soldiers on a base named after a Confederate general "can be reminded that that general fought for the institution of slavery that may have enslaved one of their ancestors," Milley said. He recommended creating a commission to study the matter.
Retired Army General David Petraeus said, "how strange it was that the leaders of the fight against the Union were more widely honored—with their names on federal forts, roads, barracks, gates, housing areas, etc.—than were those who fought for the country. And, of course, those fighting to secede were doing so to preserve the rights of their states to enslave others, with those 'others' now roughly 20 percent of the soldiers serving on those bases." Mick Mulroy, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for James Mattis and a retired Marine, said American soldiers "should serve on bases that are named after the heroes that have sacrificed and fought for our country, not against it" and suggested that they should be re-named after Medal of Honor recipients.
On July 24, 2020, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill S. 4049, their version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included a provision that the 10 army bases named after prominent Confederate military leaders be renamed. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said that she added the provision to the defense bill to rename the bases that "honor individuals who took up arms against our nation, in a war that killed more than half a million Americans." A month after the 2020 presidential election, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the revised version of the bill on December 8, and the Senate followed with a vote to approve on December 11. Trump vetoed the bill on December 23, but the veto was overturned in the House on December 28 and in the Senate on January 1, 2021.
After NDAA became law, Congress directed the Pentagon to establish, within 45 days, an eight-person Commission on the Naming of Items of the Department of Defense that Commemorate the Confederate States of America or Any Person Who Served Voluntarily with the Confederate States of America. The commission will have four individuals appointed by the Secretary of Defense, two by the House Armed Services Committee (one by the chairman and one by the ranking member) and two by the Senate Armed Services Committee (one by the chairman and one by the ranking member). As part of its remit, the commission will be required to brief Congress by October 2021 on their progress and then issue a formal plan by October 2022 that will detail a list of assets to be removed or renamed and the cost associated with doing so. On January 8, 2021, during the presidential transition, acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller named four members to serve on the naming commission. Miller and all named members have been described as loyalists of outgoing President Trump. These appointments were put on review by the Biden administration on February 2. The appointments made by Miller (former Trump White House officials Earl Matthews and Sean McLean along with Trump Pentagon political appointees Joshua Whitehouse and Ann Johnston) were all rescinded by the new Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin on February 12, 2021.
President Joe Biden, who took office on January 20, 2021, has expressed support for removing Confederate names from military bases. While the NDAA sets up a process that could take three years to achieve, if at all, Biden can use executive authority to remove the names at any time. On February 12, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin named the four representatives of the Department to the commission: retired U.S. Navy Admiral Michelle Howard, retired U.S. Marine Corps General Robert Neller, Dr. Kori Schake of the American Enterprise Institute, and retired U.S. Army Brigadier General and Emeritus Professor of History at the U.S. Military Academy Ty Seidule.
List of U.S. Army installations named for Confederate soldiers Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.