GENERAL PATRICK CLEBURNHOORAY FOR IRELAND
He never had cause to support slavery. He joined the Confederacy to support his friends in Arkansas. Just before he was killed at Franklin he knew the cause was lost and called a meeting of his fellow commanders and proposed to them the notion that the slaves should be emancipated if they would take up arms for the Confederacy. It may be what got him killed.
On St Patrick’s Day of 1828 a scrappy little fellow named Patrick Ronayne Cleburne burst into the cosmos in Killumny, County Cork, Ireland. His dad was named Joseph so he was likely named for Saint Patrick. Joseph was quite an ordinary medical doctor and in his youth Patrick aspired to be a doctor too. His mom, Mary Ronayne Cleburne, died when Patrick was only 18 months old, and his dad died when he was 15 years old. In 1846 Patrick failed the admission test to attend the Trinity College of Medicine. Having nothing better to do with himself and in need of a job Patrick enlisted as a private in the 41st
Regiment of Foot. He rose to the rank of corporal before he could afford to buy his way out of the British army. He then made is way to America with his older brother during the potato famine and eventually settled in Helena, Arkansas, where he made his living as a pharmacist. Helena is situated on the right bank of the Mississippi River a few miles below Memphis. It has never been much of a place, but the good citizens of Helena held him in
GENERALPATRICK RONAYNE CLEBURNE
A closer view of the headstone.
high regard. By 1855 he had made friends with a guy named Thomas C. Hindman and they started up a newspaper together. As newsmen they attended a debate put forth by members of the Know Nothing Party. The debate ended in a gunfight and both Patrick and Hindman were shot in the back. Patrick wheeled around and killed the guy who shot him. When they recovered they were exonerated of any wrong doing in the shooting fray. By 1860 he was a naturalized citizen, a practicing lawyer, and very popular in the community. When Arkansas seceded from the Union Patrick and Hindman both enlisted as privates in a local militia unit known as the Yell Rifles. Patrick was elected as their captain and he pulled Hindman along with him.
They all marched off merrily with Ben McCulloch to invade Missouri, and they held the field at the end of the day at Wilson’s Creek, but were so badly used up in that fight that they had to retreat back to Arkansas and be reorganized. In March of 1862 Patrick had been promoted to brigadier general and given command of a brigade in General Albert Sydney Johnston’s Army of Central
GENERAL HINDMAN - MADE IT TO MEXICO, BACK BY 1867, RAN FOR CONGRESS, MURDERED IN 1868 FOR TRYING TO GET THE BLACKS TO VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATS
When you enter cemetery go straight ahead until the road dead ends. Turn left at Hindman's grave and follow the road uphill. Cleburne's grave is on the left at the top of the hill.
Kentucky. They went from Bowling Green down to Corinth to fortify the crucial rail junction there, and then launched a surprise attack against the federal army mustering at Shiloh. The surprise attack worked wonderfully well for the Confederates. Patrick’s brigade was attached to General Hardee’s corps, and they struck the federal left near Shiloh Church. It was ground being held by General Sherman and two of Sherman’s green divisions fled the field in terror. It would not be the only time Patrick would kick Sherman’s ass, but it was the first time. The Confederates had a good plan, but it fell apart when Johnston was killed near the Peach Orchard. Command fell onto the shoulders of General Pierre Toussaint Beauregard and he chose not to press his advantage. That night the federal army was reinforced with the result that the Battle of Shiloh did not end well for the Confederacy. They trudged off back to Corinth but the federal army then had to be reorganized and a determined pursuit was not made by them for several months. By then the Confederates had moved all of the stores they had accumulated there to Vicksburg. When the federals finally captured Corinth they
REBEL POSITION THAT WAS OVERRUN BY YANKEES ON LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN
The 73rd New York encountered weak resistance by the Confederates in this meadow and ran over them.
found themselves in possession of an empty sack. Patrick found himself in command of a division but was wounded at the Battle of Richmond in Kentucky. The bullet entered his left cheek, took out several important teeth and exited through his mouth. He was back in command at Perryville on October 20, 1862, but it wasn’t much of a fight. Perryville was the culmination of General Braxton Bragg’s Heartland Campaign. It was a lame attempt by the Confederacy to regain control of Kentucky and Tennessee. The federals had one corps of the Army of the Ohio commanded by General Don Carlos Buell. Both Bragg and Buell loved being generals, but neither of them actually knew how to win a fight. The armies both sort of circled around one another until they found a way to retreat.
Patrick and his men were dismayed at Bragg’s lack of aggression at Perryville. The federals were heavily outnumbered and ought to have been easily defeated. The opposing armies next met at the Battle of Stone’s River near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The federal commander was General Rosecrans and he had a much stronger army than Buell did at Perryville. Patrick’s Division struck the federal right
on Dec 31, 1862 and pushed them back three miles to the Nashville Pike. It weakened the federal position but Bragg failed to take advantage of it. The armies bashed away at one another for two more days and it was costly to both sides. On January 3, 1863 the federals limped back to Nashville, and the Confederates limped back to Chattanooga. Bragg went into winter quarters there and set about rebuilding his army and strengthening his defensive position. He excelled at that sort of thing. After Gettysburg, General Longstreet, and what was left of his battered corps, was ordered to reinforce Bragg. In September General Rosecrans reappeared and bluffed Bragg out of his strong position in Chattanooga and caused him to retreat to Chickamauga. Rosecrans then bungled his attack, ran headlong into Longstreet, and the whole federal army was broken. They retreated in wild disarray to Chattanooga and occupied those strong defensive works. Once again Bragg failed to follow through with what would have been the complete destruction of the federal forces. Most of his generals, with the exception of Patrick Cleburne, wanted Bragg replaced in command by General Longstreet. Bragg responded by ordering Longstreet to confront the federals
MISSIONARY RIDGE FROM LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN
This photo provides some scope for the size of the battlefield.
at Knoxville. They were commanded by General Burnside who was not a threat to anyone and remained content to stay out of trouble. Bragg occupied Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain and patiently waited for Rosecrans and his broken army to starve to death. They had no supply line. Rosecrans, however, was replaced in command by General Grant and while Bragg continued to dawdle Grant restored the supply line and sent reinforcements. In October Fighting Joe Hooker arrived and took up a position west of Lookout Mountain to protect Chattanooga from the south. Bragg made a half-hearted attempt to drive Hooker out from Lookout Mountain, but of course, failed to do so. On November 23 General Sherman and his corps arrived by train from Memphis. His arrival was delayed because he had to rebuild the tracks along the way. Under cover of darkness on November 24 Sherman moved across the Tennessee River to a position where he could assault Missionary Ridge from the north. General “Pap” Thomas, The Rock of Chickamauga, captured Orchard knob to the west of Missionary Ridge. The Confederate right was weakly anchored atop Lookout Mountain and Fighting Joe Hooker somehow managed to capture it with a single
The whole area of Missionary Ridge is overbuilt to the point that there is very little available parking. I had to trespass in a grade school parking lot to get this picture. I was unable to locate Cleburne's position on Missionary Ridge because it is so easy to get lost on those many unmarked roads. If you can make your way to the Greenwood Cemetery you will have found it though.
brigade led by the 73rd
New York. On November 25 Sherman launched his attack across unfavorable ground against Patrick Cleburne’s division. For two days Patrick kicked Sherman’s ass time after time. Sherman finally stopped attacking from that direction. Hooker came off the mountain and somehow managed to carry Bragg’s right flank. Pap Thomas attacked the middle and found it weakly defended because most of the artillery there and most of the troops had been moved to support the right against Hooker and the left against Sherman. When Pap carried the middle Bragg had to retreat in a panic. Patrick Cleburne covered his retreat as rear guard. The retreat into Georgia was successful when Patrick suckered Hooker into an attack at Ringgold Gap and kicked his ass too.
Bragg was finally replaced in Georgia by Joe Johnson, and Johnson saved his army time after time by outmaneuvering Sherman. Patrick continued to kick Sherman’s ass whenever he could, but Sherman finally captured Atlanta and began his devastating March to Savannah. In saving the army Johnson was not aggressive enough to suit his superiors and he was replaced with that old lunatic General John Bell Hood. In previous battles General Hood had
LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN FROM WHERE THE FLAG WAS RAISED.
When General Grant saw Old Glory raised at this position atop Lookout Mountain he knew that Bragg's right flank had been turned and it was safe to launch Pap Thomas to assault the middle of the Confederate line from orchard Knob.
lost his right arm and his left leg, but there was still plenty of fight left in him. His staff had to carry him around in back of an ammo wagon. The problem with Hood was that he was foolishly aggressive. He launched an attack into Tennessee that finally destroyed his army.
On November 30, 1864 Patrick Cleburne was killed at the Battle of Franklin. By then he had become known as the Stonewall of the West. Robert E. Lee said of him that “He was light a bright comet shining through on a cloudy day”. Patrick’s pal, Thomas Hindman, also rose in rank to Major General and fought alongside Patrick in several engagements. Hindman survived the war and made it to Mexico City with his family. He hoped to continue the cause from there but found little support. In 1868 he returned to Arkansas and entered the realm of Reconstruction politics. He advocated that freed slaves be given suffrage and encouraged to vote on the side of conservative Democrats to oppose Northern policies. It was an issue that got him promptly murdered. He and Patrick are buried in the same cemetery in Helena, Arkansas.
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