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    Navy Renaming USS Chancellorsville to Honor Union Army Hero, Statesman Who Was Born into Slavery

    Navy Renaming USS Chancellorsville to Honor Union Army Hero, Statesman Who Was Born into Slavery

    The Navy's top civilian leader announced that he will rename the guided missile cruiser Chancellorsville after a commission called for a name last spring.

    The cruiser is named after the 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville, which, despite heavy casualties, is considered Gen. Robert E. Lee's greatest victory in the war. The battle also led to the wounding of Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who was shot by his own men after being mistaken for Union cavalry. He died a week after the battle.

    Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro announced that he would name the ship after Robert Smalls, a former slave who was conscripted into Confederate service in 1862, stole a Confederate steamer ship and escaped from , then turned the ship over to the Union Navy. Smalls would go on to be appointed a brigadier general of the South Carolina militia and serve in the South Carolina legislature, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives for five terms.

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    “The renaming of these assets is not about rewriting history, but to remove the focus on the parts of our history that don't align with the tenets of this country, and instead allows us to highlight the events and people in history who may have been overlooked,” Del Toro said in a press release Monday.

    “Robert Smalls is a man who deserves a namesake ship and, with this renaming, his story will continue to be retold…

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