Why the US military Named Bases and Ships for Confederate Leaders

Airborne troops at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, during the Vietnam era. National Archives

2. Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Although he has his defenders, most of whom emerged in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Braxton Bragged gained the reputation of being an inept tactician, and a bungler as a general in command of large armies. Regardless, the people of North Carolina regarded him as a hero of the Confederacy, particularly during the revisionist period of the Lost Cause in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His many defeats were forgiven, his victory at Chickamauga hailed by proponents of the Confederacy and its military prowess against the more powerful troops of the Union. In North Carolina Bragg was regarded as a defender of his homeland, rather than a traitor to his country.

In September, 1918, during the mobilization of World War I, a military base for the purpose of training artillery units was established near Fayetteville, North Carolina. The US Army’s Chief of Field Artillery, General William Snow, named the new facility Camp Bragg in honor of is fellow artillerist Braxton Bragg. The naming took place at a time when the US Army practiced segregation, as did North Carolina, at the height of the Jim Crow south. In 1922 Camp Bragg, by then a National Guard training site, became a permanent US Army facility named Fort Bragg.