U.S. Navy Makes Decision To Rename Two Ships, Removing Old Confederate Names

As part of continuous efforts to distance itself from Confederate past, the US Navy is renaming two of its ships. A former oceanographic survey ship, the USNS Maury, has been renamed in Marie Tharp's honor. Marie Tharp was the oceanographer who first charted the ocean's bottom in the Atlantic.

It was formerly known by the name Matthew Fontaine Maury, a former Navy commander and the "Pathfinder of the Waters" who founded modern oceanography.

During the American Civil War, Maury resigned from the Union Army and joined the Confederate Army because he would not fight for his native Virginia.

A vessel formerly known as USS Chancellorsville was renamed by the Navy to USS Robert Smalls in commemoration of an enslaved sailor who served the Confederates during the Civil War and later represented South Carolina in the US Congress.

It was once given that name in honor of General Robert E. Lee's biggest Civil War victory in the Battle of Chancellorsville, which took place between April 30 and May 6, 1863.

The renaming of these assets, according to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, "is not about rewriting history, but to remove the attention on the aspects of our history that don't correspond with the fundamentals of this country.

Following George Floyd's murder in 2020, Congress established a naming commission in response to widespread criticism of existing Confederate memorials.

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