Major General Patrick R. Cleburne - Battle Of Franklin, Tennesse
Painting - Oil On Canvas
Major General Patrick R. Cleburne
Battle of Franklin, TN
November 30th 1864
Civil War Leader's of Erin Series
by Mark Maritato
Original Oil Painting Available
Medium: Oil on Panel
Size 18" w x 24" h
Shipping within contiguous United States included
Patrick Ronayne Cleburne was born in Ovens, County Cork, Ireland, the second son of Dr. Joseph Cleburne, a middle-class physician of Anglo-Irish ancestry. Patrick's mother died when he was 18 months old, and he was an orphan at 15. He followed his father into the study of medicine, but failed his entrance exam to Trinity College of Medicine in 1846. In response to this failure, he enlisted in the 41st Regiment of Foot of the British Army, subsequently rising to the rank of corporal.
Three years later, Cleburne bought his discharge and emigrated to the United States with two brothers and a sister. After spending a short time in Ohio, he settled in Helena, Arkansas, where he was employed as a pharmacist and was readily accepted into the town's social order. During this time, Cleburne became close friends with Thomas C. Hindman, who would later parallel his course as a Confederate Major General. The two men also formed a business partnership with William Weatherly to buy a newspaper, the Democratic Star, in December 1855. In 1856, Cleburne and Hindman were both wounded by gunshots during a street fight in Helena with members of the Know-Nothing Party following a debate. Cleburne was shot in the back, turned around and shot one of his attackers, killing him. The attackers hid until Cleburne collapsed on the street and then left. After the two recovered, they appeared before a grand jury to respond to all charges brought against them. They were exonerated and, afterward, went to Hindman's parents' house in Mississippi. By 1860, he was a naturalized citizen, a practicing lawyer, and very popular with the local residents.
When the issue of secession reached a crisis, Cleburne sided with the Southern states. His choice was not due to any love of slavery, which he claimed not to care about, but out of affection for the Southern people who had adopted him as one of their own. As the crisis mounted, Cleburne joined the local militia company (the Yell Rifles) as a private soldier. He was soon elected captain. He led the company in the seizure of the U.S. Arsenal in Little Rock in January 1861. When Arkansas left the Union, the Yell Rifles became part of the 1st Arkansas Infantry, later designated the 15th Arkansas, of which he was elected Colonel. He was promoted to brigadier general on March 4, 1862.
Cleburne served at the Battle of Shiloh and the Battle of Richmond (Kentucky), where he was wounded in the face when a minie ball pierced his left cheek, smashed several teeth, and exited through his mouth, recovering in time to participate in the Battle of Perryville. After the Army of Tennessee retreated to its namesake state in late 1862, Cleburne was promoted to division command and served at the Battle of Stones River, where his division advanced three miles as it routed the Union right wing and drove it back to the Nashville Pike and its final line of defense. He was promoted to major general on December 13.
During the campaigns of 1863 in Tennessee, Cleburne and his soldiers fought at the Battle of Chickamauga. They successfully resisted a much larger Union force under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman on the northern end of Missionary Ridge during the Battle of Missionary Ridge, and Joseph Hooker at the Battle of Ringgold Gap in northern Georgia, in which Cleburne's men again protected the Army of Tennessee as it retreated to Tunnel Hill, Georgia. Cleburne and his troops received an official Thanks from the Confederate Congress for their actions during this campaign. Cleburne's strategic use of terrain, his ability to hold ground where others failed, and his talent in foiling the movements of the enemy earned him fame, and gained him the nickname "Stonewall of the West." Federal troops were quoted as dreading to see the blue flag of Cleburne's Division across the battlefield. General Robert E. Lee referred to him as "a meteor shining from a clouded sky".
Prior to the campaigning season of 1864, Cleburne became engaged to Susan Tarleton of Mobile, Alabama. Their marriage was never to be, as Cleburne was killed during an ill-conceived assault (which he opposed) on Union fortifications at the Battle of Franklin, just south of Nashville, Tennessee, on November 30, 1864. He was last seen advancing on foot toward the Union line with his sword raised, after his horse was shot out from under him. Accounts later said that he was found just inside the Federal line and his body carried back to an aid station along the Columbia Turnpike. Confederate war records indicate he died of a shot to the abdomen, or possibly a bullet that went through his heart. When Confederates found his body, he had been picked clean of any valuable items, including his sword, boots and pocket watch.
According to a letter written to General Cheatham from Judge Mangum post war, Cleburne's remains were first laid to rest at Rose Hill Cemetery in Columbia, Tennessee. At the urging of Army Chaplain Biship Quintard, Judge Mangum, staff officer to Cleburne and his law partner in Helena, Cleburne's remains were moved to St. John's Episcopal Church near Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, where they remained for six years. He had first observed St. John's during the Army of Tennessee's march into Tennessee during the campaign that led to the Battle of Franklin and commented that it was the place he would like to be buried because of its great beauty and resemblance to his Irish homeland. In 1870, he was disinterred and returned to his adopted hometown of Helena, Arkansas, with much fanfare, and buried in the Confederate section of Maple Hill Cemetery, overlooking the Mississippi River.
William J. Hardee, Cleburne's former corps commander, had this to say when he learned of his loss: "Where this division defended, no odds broke its line; where it attacked, no numbers resisted its onslaught, save only once; and there is the grave of Cleburne."
Several geographic features are named after Patrick Cleburne, including Cleburne County in Alabama and Arkansas, and the city of Cleburne, Texas. The location where he was killed in Franklin, Tennessee was reclaimed by preservationists and is now known as Cleburne Park. Though the small monument in the park is often perceived as a monument to Cleburne, it actually is a marker to show where The Carter Family Cotton Gin once stood (the gin being an integral part of the Battle of Franklin, and The Carter House itself being the headquarters of Union Brigadier General Jacob D. Cox).
The Patrick R. Cleburne Confederate Cemetery is a memorial cemetery in Jonesboro, Georgia that was named in honor of General Patrick Cleburne.
June 30th, 2018
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