Navy Renames Two Ships to Erase Ties to Confederate History

The guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) transits the Philippine Sea, June
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan J. Batchelder/U.S. Navy via AP

Officials with the United States Navy have renamed two ships whose names have ties to the Confederacy.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Tuesday:

The U.S. guided-missile cruiser Chancellorsville, which was homeported in San Diego for many years, has been renamed Robert Smalls, honoring a Civil War-era maritime pilot who commandeered a Confederate ship in 1862 and turned it over to the Union forces.

Smalls was born a slave and went on to become a mariner, a businessman, a publisher and a congressman who represented South Carolina, the state where he was born.

The decision to make the change was due to its former name, which was in honor of the Battle of Chancellorsville, an event that resulted in heavy casualties, according to the American Battlefield Trust.

Per the website, it was considered “Gen. Robert E. Lee’s greatest military victory.  It was the last battle for Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, who was mortally wounded by friendly fire.”

According to History, the battle that occurred in 1863 was a “masterpiece of strategy and tactics,” which military leaders have continued studying and copying:

Per the Union-Tribune, the ships’ name change came about because of the efforts of a congressionally backed commission that has worked to erase the military’s ties with the Confederacy. Right now, the vessel is forward deployed in Japan.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced the renaming of the USNS Maury, an ocean survey ship that will be called the USNS Marie Tharp, per

“This renaming honors Marie Tharp, a pioneering geologist and oceanographic cartographer who created the first scientific maps of the Atlantic Ocean floor and shaped our understanding of plate tectonics and continental drift,” Del Toro stated.

While working alongside a colleague, Tharp found mid-ocean ridges running more than 40,000 miles around the world, and “in 1977, the pair produced the first complete map of the ocean floor,” the report said.

The ship’s former name was after Confederate naval officer Matthew Maury, “who is considered the father of the science of oceanography,” the outlet continued.

In October, 13 News Now reported the military was gearing up to remove “all mentions of the Confederacy,” with nine bases receiving permission for the changes:

The nine bases to undergo name changes include Virginia’s Fort Lee, Fort A.P. Hill, and Fort Pickett, each named after Confederate generals.


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