Portsmouth street with Confederate officer’s moniker to be renamed

Warley Street sign in Navy housing will be replaced later this month

By Jim McGaw
Posted 12/8/23

PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth has no Confederate monuments or memorials to tear down, but it does have a street sign bearing a Confederate officer that will soon be replaced.

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Portsmouth street with Confederate officer’s moniker to be renamed

Warley Street sign in Navy housing will be replaced later this month

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth has no Confederate monuments or memorials to tear down, but it does have a street sign bearing a Confederate officer that will soon be replaced.

Warley Street, located in the U.S. Navy Melville housing complex off Stringham Road, was named after Lt.  Alexander F. Warley (1823–1895), who began his Navy career in the 1840s. Warley served as a midshipman on Old Ironsides and later fought in the Mexican War. 

However, after South Carolina seceded from the Union in December 1860, Warley joined the newly formed Confederate Navy and gained recognition for his service at New Orleans, where he commanded the CSS Manassas until the Confederate States were defeated there in 1862. 

Warley’s career in the Confederate Navy ended with his command of the CSS Albemarle and its destruction at Plymouth, North Carolina.

Naval Station Newport recently announced it will rename two streets in its military housing communities as part of part of a directive to replace names of Confederate States Navy officers from existing government-owned properties and facilities. (The other street was Maffitt Street in the Coddington Cove housing community in Middletown.)

Since the renaming project also intends to recognize the contributions and achievements of women and people of color, Warley Street will soon be known as Der-Vartanian Street in honor of Master Chief Petty Officer Anna Der-Vartanian. 

“In 1959, she was the first woman in the U.S. Armed Forces promoted to the grade of E-9,” Town Administrator Richard Rainer, Jr. told the Town Council last month. 

Der-Vartanian earned that distinction, the highest enlisted rate in the U.S. Navy, while serving as an assistant to the global strategy officer at the Naval War College. Der-Vartanian died in 2011 at the age of 90 and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

The town’s police, fire, public works, and emergency management departments have all been notified of the upcoming change, which takes affect on Dec. 28, Rainer said.

Naval War College, Confederate

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