The U.S. Army is reportedly considering renaming installations that honor Confederate leaders. Here are the 10 military bases named after a Confederate leader. Each of these posts were named for a Confederate officer and all were created either during World War I or World War II, when the U.S. military was rushing to open military installations.
The Army has previously maintained that “these historic names represent individuals, not causes or ideologies. It should be noted that the naming occurred in the spirit of reconciliation, not division.” There are no such installations for the other military departments though some Navy ships have been named after Confederate officers or battles.
Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia
Fort A.P. Hill is named after the Confederate General from Virginia, Ambrose Powell Hill (1825 – 1865, West Point 1847). Hill quickly became one of the highest ranked Confederate generals and was recognized for his performances with the unit he commanded known as “The Light Division.” He also served in the Seminole Wars and Mexican-American War. Just days before the Confederate surrender, Hill was killed by a Union soldier at Petersburg, Virginia. The fort was created during World War II.
Camp Beauregard, Louisiana
Camp Beauregard is named after the Confederate General from Louisiana, Pierre G.T. Beauregard (1818 – 1893, West Point class of 1838). Beauregard was a Louisiana-born author, civil servant, politician, inventor, and the first prominent general for the Confederacy. He also served in the Mexican-American War. The camp was established for World War I in 1917.
Fort Benning, Georgia
Fort Benning is named after a general in the Confederate States Army named Henry L. Benning (1814 – 1875) from Georgia. Benning was a lawyer, legislator, and Georgia Supreme Court judge. He commanded the “Benning’s Brigade” during the Civil War and was an ardent secessionist. Camp Benning was established in 1918 on an old plantation site.
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Fort Bragg is named after the North Carolinian Confederate general Braxton Bragg (1817-1876, West Point class 1837) for his actions during the Mexican-American war. Bragg served in the Second Seminole War, the Mexican War and commanded Fort Marion in Florida. Though opposed to the secession Bragg came out of military retirement to join the Confederate Army. He was commander of the Confederate Army of Mississippi, later renamed the Army of Tennessee. The fort was established in 1918 and is now one of the largest military complexes in the world.
Fort Gordon, Georgia
Fort Gordon is named after the Georgian Confederate general John Brown Gordon (1832 – 1904). Although lacking any military education or experience he would become one of the most successful commanders in General Robert E. Lee ’s army. After the war, Gordon returned to his home state of Georgia, where he was elected a United States Senator as well as Governor. Gordon was believed by many to be the head of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia but it was never confirmed. United States Army Garrison Fort Gordon, formerly known as Camp Gordon, was established in October 1941.
Fort Hood, Texas
Fort Hood in Texas is named after Confederate General John Bell Hood (1831 – 1879, West Point class 1852) who hailed from Kentucky. Hood served in California and Texas for the United States Military but resigned his commission in 1861 to join the Confederate Army. The fort was established in 1942 to fill a need for wide-open space to test and train during World War II and is located between Austin and Waco.
Fort Lee, Virginia
Fort Lee is named after the South’s commanding Army officer Robert E. Lee (1807-1870, West Point class of 1829) from Virginia. Abraham Lincoln offered Lee the command of the Federal forces in 1861 but Lee declined and tendered his resignation from the army when the state of Virginia seceded. Prior to the Civil War Lee received commendation for “greatly distinguished” service in the American-Mexican war. Fort Lee, formerly Camp Lee, was established in 1917 during World War I and is located in Prince George County, VA (between Petersburg and Hopewell).
Fort Pickett, Virginia
Fort Pickett is named after Major General George Pickett (1825-1875, West Point class of 1846). He participated in the Mexican-American War where he received to brevet promotion for being the first to climb a parapet at the Battle of Chapultepec. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Pickett resigned from the U.S. military and was appointed as a colonel in the Confederate army. Fort Pickett, originally named Camp Pickett, was formally dedicated in ceremonies at 3 p.m. on July 3, 1942, exactly 79 years to the day and hour of “Pickett’s Charge” in the Battle of Gettysburg.
Fort Polk, Louisiana
Fort Polk is named after Right Rev. Leonidas Polk (1806-1864, West Point class of 1827) who hailed from North Carolina. He was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. He resigned his ecclesiastical position to become a major general in the Confederate army. Polk died from a canon shot in a battle at Pine Mountain in 1864. Fort Polk was first established as Camp Polk, in 1941 and is located in Vernon Parish, LA.
Fort Rucker, Alabama
Fort Rucker is named after Colonel Edmund W. Rucker (1835-1924), a Civil War Confederate Officer, who was given the honorary title of “General.” While Rucker was from Tennessee, he settled in Birmingham, AL and became one of the city’s pioneer industrial leaders. The fort was established in 1941 during World War II and is located in Coffee and Dale counties, AL.
History of Naming Army Installations
The process for naming U.S. Army Installations has evolved since the founding of the United States. The naming of posts started as a tradition in the Continental Army where many posts and camps were named by the commander after high ranking officers or fallen heroes. Examples include Fort Washington, Fort Lee, Fort Putnam, Fort Mercer and Fort Mifflin.
For much of the 19th Century, the naming of posts was mainly left to a regional commander where the installation was located. Although not always, the names of installations usually reflected a local influence, such as Fort Apache in Arizona, established in 1871, and the Chickamauga Post in Georgia, established in 1902.
During World War I, which saw the establishment of numerous installations of various sizes and functions, responsibility for naming shifted to the War Department. The names usually, but not always, reflected some regional connection to its location, and usually with a historic military figure significant to the area: for example, Camp Lee near Richmond, Virginia, and changing the name of the Chickamauga Post in Georgia to Fort Oglethorpe.
The War Department held the responsibility until after WWII while better defining the criteria to “naming military reservations in honor of deceased distinguished officers regardless of the arm or service in which they have served” in 1939.
Shortly after World War II, the Army established the Army Memorialization Board and it assumed responsibility for deciding on the names of posts and other memorial programs and the criteria for naming them. The regulation stated that all those individuals memorialized must be deceased.
In 1958, responsibility for naming installations was removed from the Memorialization Board and transferred it to Headquarters, Department of the Army. In yet another change in 1981, the Army Chief of Staff was named as the responsible individual for the naming of installations.
The criteria established in 1946 has generally been the same with only minor modifications:
- A national hero of absolute preeminence by virtue of high position
- An individual who held a position of high and extensive responsibility (Army and above) and whose death was a result of battle wounds
- An individual who held a position of high and extensive responsibility and whose death was not a result of battle wounds
- An individual who performed an act of heroism or who held a position of high responsibility and whose death was a result of battle wounds, and
- An individual who performed an act of heroism or who held a position of high responsibility and whose death was not a result of battle wounds
Today, the naming of installations is the responsibility (Army Regulation (AR) 1-33) of the Assistant Secretary of Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) under the Army Memorial Program. The AMA provides a permanent, lasting honor to deceased Department of the Army
(DA) military and civilian personnel who served with valor or distinction.