In the aftermath of a wild weekend stemming from the chaos in Charlottesville and the ongoing discussion over free speech and white supremacy, many people saw a video of a mob of activists assembling in Durham, N.C., to tear down a statue dedicated to a Confederate soldier.

The mob celebrated its destruction wildly, symbolic of achieving some objective in the fight for whatever social cause the event represented. Authorities stood by while the statue was torn down, spit on, and kicked by the crowd. The previous events in Charlottesville which led to this display in North Carolina all stemmed from a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and the complicated role statues and memorials to the Confederate rebellion play in 2017 America.

It may come as a surprise then that the United States Army, the organization which bore the greatest burden in defeating the Confederacy, losing hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the process, would honor the memory of 10 Confederate officers by naming modern Army installations after them. The reason, like all subjects related to the Civil War, is complicated.

Army bases, which the Army refers to as a post, fort, or camp, actually have regulations which stipulate the requirements for naming. Generally, they are named only for distinguished soldiers, but the spirit and intent of how names are chosen has changed over time. According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History,

In the Continental Army, many posts and camps were named by the commander or supervising engineer for high ranking officers, including those still living,” and that “For much of the Army’s history in the 19th Century, the naming of posts was still mainly a local prerogative. For example, War Department General Order Number 79, dated 8 November 1878, left the naming of installations to the commander of the regional Military Division in which the installation was located.”

In the years between the World Wars, it became the common practice for the War Department to entertain recommended names for posts from installation commanders, corps and branch commanders, and the Historical Section Army War College, as well as from outside the Army. Public opinion and political influence sometime weighed heavily on the decisions.”

After public opinion refocused on the bases named after Confederate generals in 2015, Brigadier General Malcolm Frost, at the time Chief of Public Affairs for the Army, said:

Every Army installation is named for a soldier who holds a place in our military history. Accordingly, these historic names represent individuals, not causes or ideologies,” and “It should be noted that the naming occurred in the spirit of reconciliation, not division.”