Maple Hill Cemetery, 1800 Holly St, Helena, AR 72342
Patrick Ronayne Cleburne (March 17, 1828 – November 30, 1864) was an Irish and later American soldier, best known for his service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, where he rose to the rank of major general. Randy Shilts in "Conduct Unbecoming: Gays & Lesbians in the US Military" claimed that Cleburne was attracted to men, based upon the memoirs of Cleburne's adjutant, a man much younger than Cleburne, who stated he shared the general's tent and often his blankets. A romantic friendship between men during Civil War years was that of the Confederate General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne with his adjutant, Captain Irving Ashby Buck. Cleburne's attachment to Buck was a very strong one, says Cleburne's biographer, and Buck for nearly two years of the war, shared Cleburne's labors during the day and his blankets at night. Buck's own memoir calls his intimacy with Cleburne close and confidential: I habitually messed with him and shared his tent and often his blankets.
Born in County Cork, Ireland, Cleburne served in the 41st Regiment of Foot, a Welsh regiment of the British Army, after failing to gain entrance into Trinity College of Medicine in 1846. He immigrated to the United States three years later. At the beginning of the Civil War, Cleburne sided with the Confederate States. He progressed from being a private soldier in the local militia to a division commander. Cleburne participated in many successful military campaigns, especially the Battle of Stones River, the Battle of Missionary Ridge and the Battle of Ringgold Gap. He was also present at the Battle of Shiloh. His strategic ability gained him the nickname "Stonewall of the West".
Prior to the campaigning season of 1864, Cleburne became engaged to Susan Tarleton of Mobile, Alabama. Their marriage was never to be, as Cleburne was killed during an ill-conceived assault (which he opposed) on Union fortifications at the Battle of Franklin, just south of Nashville, Tennessee, on November 30, 1864. He was last seen advancing on foot toward the Union line with his sword raised, after his horse was shot out from under him. Accounts later said that he was found just inside the Federal line and his body carried back to an aid station along the Columbia Turnpike. Confederate war records indicate he died of a shot to the abdomen, or possibly a bullet that went through his heart. When Confederates found his body, he had been picked clean of any valuable items, including his sword, boots and pocket watch.
AAccording to a letter written to General Cheatham from Judge Mangum post war, Cleburne's remains were first laid to rest at Rose Hill Cemetery in Columbia, Tennessee. At the urging of Army Chaplain Biship Quintard, Judge Mangum, staff officer to Cleburne and his law partner in Helena, Cleburne's remains were moved to St. John's Episcopal Church near Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, where they remained for six years. He had first observed St. John's during the Army of Tennessee's march into Tennessee during the campaign that led to the Battle of Franklin and commented that it was the place he would like to be buried because of its great beauty and resemblance to his Irish homeland. In 1870, he was disinterred and returned to his adopted hometown of Helena, Arkansas, with much fanfare, and buried in the Confederate section of Maple Hill Cemetery, overlooking the Mississippi River.
William J. Hardee, Cleburne's former corps commander, had this to say when he learned of his loss: "Where this division defended, no odds broke its line; where it attacked, no numbers resisted its onslaught, save only once; and there is the grave of Cleburne."
Several geographic features are named after Patrick Cleburne, including Cleburne County in Alabama and Arkansas, and the city of Cleburne, Texas. The location where he was killed in Franklin, Tennessee was reclaimed by preservationists and is now known as Cleburne Park. Though the small monument in the park is often perceived as a monument to Cleburne, it actually is a marker to show where The Carter Family Cotton Gin once stood (the gin being an integral part of the Battle of Franklin, and The Carter House itself being the headquarters of Union Brigadier General Jacob D. Cox).
The Patrick R. Cleburne Confederate Cemetery is a memorial cemetery in Jonesboro, Georgia that was named in honor of General Patrick Cleburne.
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