It is long past time to honor the heroes who gave their lives to preserve the Union. As the names of southern generals are finally being removed from military bases across the south, here are two recommendations for future consideration. Rhode Island native and active abolitionist, Colonel John S. Slocum, was mortally wounded in 1861, at the Battle of Bull Run. He was 36 years old. Colonel Slocum is buried in Swan Point Cemetery. From the Military Hall of Honor:
It was Sunday morning, 21 July 1861, and McDowell’s army was about to fight the first major land battle of the war along a muddy northern Virginia creek called Bull Run. As the Rhode Island troops and the rest of their brigade paused to catch their breath at about 9:30 a.m., an alarm was sounded; the Rebels were in front, in force, and were advancing.
. . . The Rhode Islanders bore the brunt of the enemy assault, but under Colonel Slocum’s command they stood firm. As the crescendo of battle intensified, Colonel Slocum was suddenly shot down. Command of the regiment passed to Major Sullivan Ballou. Moments later, a Confederate cannonball killed Ballou’s horse and mangled the Major’s legs, but the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment remained steadfast and helped turn back the Confederate attack. Later, when the Federal line broke and provoked a panicky rout, the men of the 2nd Rhode Island calmly covered the Northern retreat. Mortally wounded in the battle were Colonel John S. Slocum, the regiment’s commander, and Major Sullivan Ballou.
Sullivan Ballou is also buried in Swan Point Cemetery. His moving and poetic letter home to his wife Sarah, as he anticipated dying in battle, was featured in the Ken Burns documentary “The Civil War” and created something of a sensation. Go here too listen.
Rhode Island can be rightfully proud of the men who lost their lives fighting the states who fought to preserve slavery.
Good News: Name-changes are coming for all those military installations named after the traitors. CBS News recently ran a segment on the process. “Forward march: Military bases removing names of Confederates.”
From an earlier CBS report: The Pentagon has directed the military to proceed with plans to rename nine Army bases and hundreds of other items whose names honor the Confederacy.
- Fort Benning, Ga. – rename Fort Moore after Lt. Gen. Hal and Julia Moore.
- Fort Bragg, N.C. – rename Fort Liberty after the value of liberty.
- Fort Gordon, Ga. – rename Fort Eisenhower after General of the Army Dwight Eisenhower.
- Fort A.P. Hill, Va. – rename Fort Walker after Dr. Mary Walker.
- Fort Hood, Texas – rename Fort Cavazos after Gen. Richard Cavazos.
- Fort Lee, Va. – rename Fort Gregg-Adams after Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams.
- Fort Pickett, Va. – rename Fort Barfoot after Tech. Sgt. Van T. Barfoot.
- Fort Polk, La. – rename Fort Johnson after Sgt. William Henry Johnson.
- Fort Rucker, Ala. – rename Fort Novosel after Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael J. Novosel, Sr.
Fort Barfoot now honors Col. Van Barfoot, who received the Medal of Honor for his bravery in World War II. It’s the first Army base in the United States to be named after a Native American.