Portrait of Patrick Cleburne

During the Battle of Perryville (October 8, 1862), Patrick Cleburne demonstrated valor when his horse was shot from beneath him and he was wounded twice. [Wikimedia Commons]

Patrick Ronayne Cleburne - Facts

March 16 or March 17, 1828 - November 30, 1864

Key facts about Major General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne, one of the Confederacy's leading general officers in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.

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Full Name:

  • Patrick Ronayne Cleburne

Birth Date:

  • March 16 or March 17, 1828

Birth Location:

  • Ovens, County Cork, Ireland

Parents:

  • Dr. Joseph Cleburne and Mary Anne (Ronayne) Cleburne

Education:

  • No formal education

Occupation:

  • Pharmacist, lawyer

Career Summary:

  • Major General (CSA)

Spouse:

  • None

Nickname(s):

  • Stonewall of the West

Place of Death:

  • Franklin, Tennessee

Date of Death:

  • November 30, 1864

Place of Burial:

  • Maple Hill Cemetery, Helena, Arkansas

Significance:

  • Patrick Cleburne was the third child and second son of Dr. Joseph Cleburne and Mary Anne Ronayne Cleburne.
  • Patrick Cleburne’s mother died when he was eighteen months old.
  • Patrick Cleburne’s father died when Cleburne was fifteen years old.
  • Patrick Cleburne apprenticed for two years to become a pharmacist, but he was unable to pass his college entrance exam.
  • Patrick Cleburne enlisted in the British Army in 1846, and served with the 41st Regiment of Foot in his native Ireland.
  • Using an inheritance from his mother’s family, Patrick Cleburne purchased an early discharge from the British Army in 1849.
  • After leaving the British Army, Patrick Cleburne emigrated from Ireland with his older sister Anne and his brothers William and Joseph in November 1849, bound for the United States.
  • Patrick Cleburne arrived in New Orleans on Christmas day 1849 and traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, where gained employment in a pharmacy for a short time.
  • In 1850, Patrick Cleburne relocated to Helena, Arkansas, where he worked as a prescription clerk at Nash and Grant’s Drugstore while studying law in the office of T. B. Hanley.
  • Patrick Cleburne became a U.S. citizen in 1855.
  • Patrick Cleburne passed the Arkansas bar exam in 1856.
  • Patrick Cleburne entered into a law partnership with his friend Thomas C. Hindman.
  • Patrick Cleburne became involved in Democratic Party politics during the 1850s
  • In 1856, W. D. Rice and some associates ambushed Patrick Cleburne and his friend Thomas C. Hindman on the streets of Helena, Arkansas. Although severely wounded, Cleburne was able to kill Rice.
  • By the time the American Civil War began, Patrick Cleburne had become a successful lawyer and land agent in Helena, Arkansas.
  • Although Patrick Cleburne neither owned slaves nor supported slavery, he endorsed Arkansas’s secession.
  • As the Civil War approached, Patrick Cleburne joined the Yell Rifles, a local militia company named for Arkansas Governor Archibald Yell.
  • When the Civil War began, The Yell Rifles became part of the First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment, attached to the Army of Tennessee. Patrick Cleburne was elected colonel and spent the winter of 1861-1862 at Bowling Green, Kentucky training his regiment.
  • Patrick Cleburne was promoted to brigadier general on March 4, 1862.
  • Patrick Cleburne’s brigade routed Brigadier General William T. Sherman’s Division at the Battle of Shiloh.
  • Patrick Cleburne was shot through the mouth as he led an assault during the Confederate victory at the Battle of Richmond (Kentucky) on August 30, 1862.
  • During the Battle of Perryville (October 8, 1862), Patrick Cleburne demonstrated valor when his horse was shot from beneath him and he was wounded twice.
  • On December 13, 1862, Confederate President Jefferson Davis promoted Patrick Cleburne to major general, making him the highest-ranking Irish-born officer in American military history.
  • Patrick Cleburne took part in the Confederate loss at the Battle of Stones River (Battle of Murfreesboro) on December 31, 1862–January 2, 1863.
  • Patrick Cleburne took part in the Confederate victory at the Battle of Chickamauga (September 19–20, 1863).
  • Patrick Cleburne’s division withstood an assault by William T. Sherman’s much larger force during the Battle Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863.
  • Patrick Cleburne’s division held back 15,000 Federals commanded by Major General Joseph Hooker at the Battle of Ringgold Gap, on November 27, 1863, allowing the Army of Tennessee to retreat into Georgia.
  • The Confederate Congress awarded an official citation to Patrick Cleburne and his men for their actions at the Battle of Ringgold Gap.
  • On January 2, 1864, during a summit with the leaders of the Army of Tennessee, Patrick Cleburne proposed a plan to enlist slaves in the Confederate Army in return for a promise of emancipation if the South won the war.
  • Before the 1864 campaign season began, Patrick Cleburne and Susan Tarleton of Mobile, Alabama became engaged and planned a fall wedding.
  • Patrick Cleburne took part in the Atlanta Campaign during the summer of 1864.
  • After the fall of Atlanta, Patrick Cleburne accompanied the Army of Tennessee during General John Bell Hood’s Franklin-Nashville Campaign in the fall 1864.
  • On November 30, 1864, a gunshot wound to the torso killed Patrick Cleburne while he was leading an assault during the Battle of Franklin, near Franklin, Tennessee.
  • After his death on November 30, 1864, Patrick Cleburne was temporarily laid to rest at St. John’s Episcopal Church near Mount Pleasant, Tennessee for six years.
  • In 1870, Patrick Cleburne’s remains were disinterred and reburied in Maple Hill Cemetery at his hometown of Helena, Arkansas.
  • Patrick Cleburne’s valor and leadership abilities earned him the nickname “Stonewall of the West.”
  • Robert E. Lee referred to Patrick Cleburne as “a meteor shining from a clouded sky.”
  • After Patrick Cleburne’s death, two counties in Alabama and Arkansas, a city in Texas, a park in Tennessee marking the site of his death, and a memorial cemetery in Georgia were named in his honor.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Patrick Ronayne Cleburne - Facts
  • Coverage March 16 or March 17, 1828 - November 30, 1864
  • Author
  • Keywords Patrick Ronayne Cleburne
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 27, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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