On Independence Day, I often turn to James McPherson’s Pulitzer winning Civil War account Battle Cry of Freedom.
‘Thought this year to examine records of Confederates for which great military bases are named.
U.S. Armored forces that defeated the Wehrmacht and liberated Western Europe from fascism, were trained at Fort Hood in Texas.
The fort is named for John Bell Hood, routed in the Battle of Atlanta whose remaining forces were later destroyed in Tennessee.
Our airborne forces get training at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The officers’ initial schooling was in Gen. George Marshall’s philosophy of essential teamwork.
The base is named for Gen. Braxton Bragg, loser of battles in the Confederate west. He feuded with his commanders, failed to coordinate offensive operations, hanged soldiers, and was universally despised by his men.
Of course, these guys fought to break up our country and perpetuate slavery. Do they merit being honored?
Beyond that, John Bell Hood and Braxton Bragg offer few skills for troops and officers of any generation to learn.
Some years back, buddy David Lawsky and I were exploring Little Roundtop, site of a Union stand that helped turn the Battle of Gettysburg. Who should show up but an Army unit getting lessons in close quarters infantry combat.
We were allowed to listen in.
Why name bases for, to use a favorite Donald Trump word, “Losers!”?
P.S.: Once had delightful lunch with McPherson, hearing him debunk those who airbrush the Confederacy as a noble lost cause.
I wrote a column on this, received angry letters from Deep South on my mistaken notions about “The War Between the States.”