The first of nine Army bases named in honor of Confederate military leaders is about to get a new name. In Virginia, Fort Pickett—named in honor of Confederate Major General George E. Pickett of “Pickett’s Charge” fame—will be renamed Fort Barfoot. Civil War Memory is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
I agree with your point that really understanding history takes time and a lot of thought. As I do more reading on various historical topics, my understanding of the past is slowly (sometimes very slowly) becoming more clear. It also makes me realize how much more there is to understand. I only wish I had started on this when I was younger. I can only hope to live long enough to read and understand more.
All installations, particularly military, named after traitors must be removed, no matter how distinguished or dimwitted they were in their actual lives.
Robert Edward Lee: declined to sell his name to an insurance company even as he desperately pondered how to earn a post-war living. But he also had his wife's enslaved property whipped.
George Pickett: graduated last in his class at West Point; survived as a general only so long as his patron, Longstreet, was around to give him detailed instructions before each battle. Poor George lost the final battle of the defense of Richmond-Petersburg when he went AWOL. Why? He accepted an invitation to attend a shad bake luncheon instead of staying in command of his troops at the far right of Lee's very thin grey line!
Fine examples of the best and worst of Confederate leadership? After whom to name our forts?
Post-Confederate diehards have poured eightscore years of veneration, propaganda, and statue-building into creating and propping up reputations of wrongheaded enslavers and empty-headed buffoons.
Truth be told, I do not yet know who Barfoot was. If the namesakes of these nine renamed bases receive their eightscore years of equivalent education to the public, then America's progeny should have a much more productive lesson. Perhaps America approaching the year 2200 will be as united as Lincoln had hoped in 1865.
Oh, I'd like to read the Smith book. Am unfortunately busy on Sunday!
I look forward to learning more about Captain Winsmith. Was he a Readjuster as well?
I agree that we owe a debt to examine the past. Ancient history, modern history, and our own. If we don’t do that work honestly and with an eye for making needed changes, moving forward with integrity is hard.
I will always struggle with any confederate monument on courthouse lawns. Just bad juxtaposition.
I was happy to hear the new name for an ill-advised installation. Fort Barfoot is a great improvement imo! I hope this ideal moves forward.