Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
The Stonewall Jackson of the West March 13, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010, is the 182nd birthday
of Patrick Ronayne Cleburne.
Do you remember the 1961 weekly television
series, entitled The Americans? This wonderful-educational show centered
around two brothers who fought on opposite sides of the War Between the
States—Confederate Corporal Jeff Canfield played by Richard Davalos and Union
Corporal Ben Canfield played by Darryl Hickman. Their Father, Pa Canfield, was
played by the late great John McIntire. The great theme music was produced by
Hugo Friedhofer and original music by Bernard Hermann.
When I was growing up near Atlanta, Georgia,
school children could recite some of the words to the United States
Constitution, Bill of Rights and knew the true history of those who gave us our
freedom. Politicians in their speeches proudly quoted from American Patriots
like; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee.
Who was Gen. 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 during the War Between the
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,
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. In early 1865, his dream became a reality but it was then too late--the
war was lost.
Did you know that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant owned
slaves but Gen. Robert E. Lee did not?
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,
Due to his brilliant strategy on the battlefield
Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne was nicknamed "Stonewall Jackson of the West.”
General Patrick R. Cleburne said before his death
at the Battle of Franklin:
"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,
On March 17, 1979, Cleburne’s birthday, I
organized the Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne Camp 1361 of the Sons of Confederate
Veterans in Jonesboro, Georgia, which is still active. The Confederate Cemetery
in Jonesboro is also named in honor of the general.
Gen. Cleburne is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery in
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.
Freedom is God
given. Nation’s remain free who put their trust in God and the People.