Saint Patrick’s Day Tribute to General Cleburne
By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day from Dixie!
The 150th Anniversary--War Between the States Sesquicentennial continues with events including the soon to reopen Jefferson Davis Presidential Library at Beauvoir on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
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Jefferson Davis President of the Confederacy was of Welsh and his Mother Jane Cook of Scotch-Irish descent.
A lot has been written about the 150,000 Irishmen who fought for the Union during the War Between the States but do you know about the 30,000 equally brave Irishmen who fought for the Confederacy? It is written that by population a comparable number of Irishmen fought for the Confederacy as did those who supported the Union.
The 8th Alabama Irish Brigade made their mark in history fighting for the Confederacy and is remembered for their Erin Go Braugh! flag with a field of green with Faugh A Ballagh on bottom that is Irish for “clear the way.”
Sunday, March 17, 2013 is Saint Patrick’s Day and it’s also the 185th birthday of Patrick Ronayne Cleburne.
Among the Union Armies fighting Irish was the 69th New York but….
Did you know the Confederacy’s units included the 10th Louisiana and the 10th Tennessee Infantry which was formed at Fort Henry in 1861 and defended Fort Donelson before becoming part of the Army of Tennessee?
Who was Patrick R. Cleburne?
Patrick Ronayne Cleburne was born on March 17, 1828, in Ovens, County Cork, Ireland. He was an Anglo-Irish soldier who served in the 41st Regiment of Foot of the British Army. He is however best known for his service to the Confederates States of America.
He was only eighteen months old when his Mother died and a young fifteen when his Father passed away. He tried to follow in his Father’s footsteps, Dr. Joseph Cleburne, in the field of medicine but failed his entrance exam to Trinity College of Medicine in 1848. He immigrated to America three years later with two brothers and a sister and made his home in Helena, Arkansas.
In 1860 Cleburne became a naturalized citizen, lawyer and was popular with the residents.
He sided with the Confederacy at the outbreak of the War Between the States and progressed from the rank of private of the local militia to major general.
Cleburne, like many Southerners, did not support the institution of slavery but chose to serve his adopted country out of love for the Southern people and their quest for independence and freedom. In 1864, he advocated the emancipation of Black men to serve in the Confederate Armed Forces.
Cleburne participated in the Battles of Shiloh, Richmond, Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold Gap and Franklin. He was killed at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee on November 30, 1864.
General Patrick R. Cleburne said before his death:
"If this cause, that is dear to my heart, is doomed to fail, I pray heaven may let me fall with it, while my face is toward the enemy and my arm battling for that which I know is right."
Cleburne was engaged to Susan Tarleton of Mobile, Alabama.
On March 17, 1979, Cleburne’s birthday, I proudly organized the Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne Camp 1361 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Jonesboro, Georgia which is still active.
Gen. Cleburne is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery in Helena, Arkansas.
A good book “A Meteor Shining Brightly” Essays on Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne” --edited by Mauriel Phillips Joslyn, is a good source of information about Cleburne.
April is Confederate History and Heritage Month.
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Calvin E. Johnson, Jr., Speaker, Writer of short stories, Author of book “When America stood for God, Family and Country” and Chairman of the National and Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Confederate History and Heritage Month committee. firstname.lastname@example.org