Posted on August 30, 2022

West Point and Naval Academy Should Scrub Names of Confederate Officers, Panel Tells Congress

Travis Tritten,, August 29, 2022

The names of Robert E. Lee and other less famous Confederate officers should be removed from landmarks and memorials at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy, a commission created by Congress says.

The Naming Commission on Monday released the latest of its recommendations to rid the military of tributes to secessionists who fought against the U.S. during the Civil War. The report on the two military academies — some of the oldest institutions in the country — comes after the group proposed renaming nine Army bases honoring Confederates.

The halls, housing and roads at the academies dedicated to those Confederate officers should all receive new names, according to the eight-member panel, which is chaired by retired Adm. Michelle Howard and includes retired Gen. Robert Neller, a former Marine Corps commandant.

Officers who served with the South when the Confederacy explicitly took up arms in support of slavery are memorialized at the Reconciliation Plaza monument created in 2001 at West Point and Lee’s name is on five West Point landmarks, including a child development center, according to the commission.

“Lee’s armies were responsible for the deaths of more United States soldiers than practically any other enemy in our nation’s history,” the commission wrote in its second report to Congress.

The panel also discovered a triptych, or multi-paneled art piece, at the entrance of West Point’s Bartlett Hall that says “Ku Klux Klan” and appears to show a hooded figure with a rifle. It urged Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first Black person to hold the position, to create rules for removing such references.


After a simmering national debate over Confederate monuments, Congress created the commission in January 2021 as part of the annual defense authorization bill. Its goal was to remove the tributes {snip}

During the Civil War about one-fifth of West Point’s students, which included many from secessionist states, left the academy to serve with the Confederacy, according to the commission. {snip}


“The commissioners do not make these recommendations with any intention of ‘erasing history.’ The facts of the past remain and the commissioners are confident the history of the Civil War will continue to be taught at all service academies with all the quality and complex detail our national past deserves,” the panel wrote in the report. “Rather, they make these recommendations to affirm West Point’s long tradition of educating future generations of America’s military leaders to represent the best of our national ideals.”