He discusses the military installations in the South and the generals that the bases were named after.
He points out that these bases are "named after generals who led soldiers who fought and killed United States Army soldiers." Mr. Malanowski says that it is time to rename these bases for men whose names are not linked to rebellion, slavery, and racism.
The New York Times opinion page article says that there are 10 US bases "named after generals who led soldiers who fought and killed United States Army soldiers." The following is a list of 11 posts that I assembled:
- Fort Rucker - Alabama - Edmund Rucker - Confederate "General" Honorary title - Industrialist
- Fort Gordon - Georgia - John Brown Gordon - Confederate Major General and State Governor
- Fort Benning - Georgia - Henry L. Benning - Confederate Brigadier General
- Camp Beauregard - Louisiana - P. G. T. Beauregard - Confederate General
- Fort Polk - Louisiana - Leonidas Polk - Confederate General and Episcopal Bishop
- Fort Bragg - North Carolina - Braxton Bragg - Confederate General
- Fort Hood - Texas - John Bell Hood - Confederate General
- Camp Pendleton State Military Reservation - Virginia - William N. Pendleton - Confederate Brigadier General
- Fort A. P. Hill - Virginia - A. P. Hill - Confederate Lieutenant General
- Fort Lee - Virginia - Robert E. Lee - Confederate General
- Fort Pickett - Virginia - George Pickett - Confederate General
There are also a number of Civil War generals whose names graced military posts that are now closed. On the Union side, there is Fort McClellan, Camp Stoneman, Fort Ord, Fort Winfield Scott, Fort McPherson, Camp Grant, Fort Sheridan, Camp Sherman, and Fort Meade. Some installations named after Confederate officers have also been closed such as Camp Maxey and Camp Wheeler. Actually, more bases named after Confederate generals seemed to have survived than Union generals. I found Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, Fort Custer in Michigan, and Camp Sherman in Ohio.
This issue is a subset of a greater question: "Should we accord Confederate soldiers the same honors that are bestowed upon soldiers who fought to defend the Union and end the rebellion?" This issue is part historic and part political. These bases are located in the South and serve to honor local heroes. The names also serve as reminders of the conflict and warnings for future generations. The names were undoubtedly part of the very pork barrel legislation that brought the bases to the South in the first place. However, these forts may also be tributes to the "Lost Cause" belief that arose after the war.
Those who want to retain the names of Southern leaders on bases, parks, and public buildings usually state the historical connection. Those that argue for name changes base their desire on removing any honors for those who supported, what Malanowski terms, "a racist slavocracy."
|General William Worth|
Another question that Malanowski raises is whether the honor is even appropriate. He cites the dubious credentials of Braxton Bragg, Leonidas Polk, John Hood, and George Pickett. If southern leaders wanted to honor their great generals, why not nominate Thomas Jackson, James Longstreet, J.E.B. Stuart, or either of the Johnstons?
|General Lewis Armistead|
There is no answer for the decisions made in selecting the names of these posts. We cannot impose today's values and attitudes on choices made decades ago. Time and new heroes will alter the names and the connection to man honored will fade into memory.