Bay Ridge

Lee surrenders: Confederate general’s name removed from Army base street

May 17, 2022 Theodore W. General
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The main street inside the Fort Hamilton Army Base, General Lee Avenue, will no longer carry the name of the famous – or as many might say, notorious – Civil War general, who resigned from the U.S. Army to join forces with the Army of the Confederate States of America.

Fort Hamilton’s main gate. Eagle Urban Media photo by Ted General

From 1841 to 1846, then-Capt. Robert E. Lee was the post engineer at Fort Hamilton. In 1852, he returned to West Point, where he was the superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy until 1855. 

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Public domain photo

In 1861 he resigned his commission from the Union Army and joined the Virginia state militia forces. Virginia seceded from the U.S. on April 17, 1861.

On Friday, May 20 at 10:30 a.m., the post’s main transportation artery will be formally renamed in honor of 1st Lt. John E. Warren Jr., a Brooklyn native, Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient. 

The ceremony will take place at the corner of White and Warren avenues in front of the New York Military Entrance Processing Station. The event is closed to the public but will be streamed via the post’s Facebook page.

Robert E. Lee as a young Army engineer. Public domain photo

The nation’s highest award for valor was presented to Warren posthumously for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action for risking his life above and beyond the call of duty. 

On Jan. 14, 1969, while serving as a platoon leader in Vietnam, the 23-year-old officer died using his body to shield his fellow soldiers from a thrown enemy grenade. Warren also received the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

According to Amanda Hay Caroffino, the fort’s public affairs officer, who interviewed Gloria Baskin-Warren, his only surviving family member, Warren was born and raised in Crown Heights. He attended Eastern District H.S. and then studied for two years at Brooklyn College before he was drafted into the Army.

The action by Fort Hamilton brass apparently is a result of legislation passed by Congress last year creating an eight-member national commission mandating the removal of Confederate names from bases, buildings, streets and ships within three years.

1st Lt. John E. Warren Jr. Photo courtesy of Gloria Baskin-Warren

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