From The ECW Archives: Patrick Cleburne

Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne. Library of Congress.

March 16th is Patrick Cleburne’s birthday. Born in 1828, this Irishman served in the 41st Regiment of Foot in the British Army before managing to buy his way out and emigrating to the United States. He arrived in the “New World” in 1849 and became a U.S. citizen six years later.

During the Civil War, Cleburne fought for the Confederacy in the Western Theater, starting as the colonel of the 15th Arkansas and rapidly promoting to brigadier general and then major general by the end of 1862. Early in 1864, he brought forward a plan in the Army of Tennessee to emancipate, arm, and enlist enslaved men; none of the other army commanders acted or endorsed Cleburne’s idea and other Confederate officials ignored it at the time as well. Nicknamed “Stonewall of the West,” his battle list is lengthy and includes: Shiloh, Richmond (Kentucky), Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Dalton, Tunnel Hill, Resaca, Pickett’s Mill, Ringgold, Kennesaw, and Franklin. Cleburne was killed in action at the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864.

Here are a few posts from the ECW Archives about Patrick Cleburne and battles where he was involved:

Stones in the Road: “Remember Chickamauga”

Black Confederates: Laborers or Soldiers? (part four)

The Withdrawal from Resaca

Remembering Pickett’s Mill

From the Battle of Pickett’s Mill: The Extreme Right of the Confederate Line

“A Common Despair”—The Slaughter of Pickett’s Mill

Modern Photography: A Trip to Ringgold, Georgia

Jonesborough, Georgia: The Battle that Doomed Atlanta

Franklin 150th: To Die Like Men

Franklin 150th: “I never saw the dead lay near so thick.”

Franklin 150th: The Last Thing He Ever Saw….

Photography by Jack Melton, 2016. Used with permission.

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3 Responses to From The ECW Archives: Patrick Cleburne

  1. Todd Berkoff says:

    I don’t understand the modern fascination with this general. He was a competent division commander who was killed in action. I can find you 10 others. Yet somehow he is everyone’s favorite Civil War figure. Am I missing something?

    • Lyle Smith says:

      People are entitled to their own opinions? My own opinion is that Cleburne is not “everyone’s favorite Civil War figure”. I am thinking that must be Abraham Lincoln.

  2. Duffy says:

    Gen Cleburne,if anyone cares know his story was a very brave and honorable man who,although I think wrong,thought he was fighting the same abusive Gov he choose to leave years before…I’m also touched by his sense of honor when he believed Hoods plan seriously wrong but dressed in his best uniform and led his men in the charge at Franklin…Very rare for a officer of that rank !

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