CLEBURNE, Patrick Ronayne, soldier, was born near Cork, Ireland, March 17, 1828, son of Joseph and Mary Ann (Ronayne) Cleburne. His father, a physician, was descended from an old Tipperary family of English Quaker stock, which had settled in Ireland at the time of Cromwell; his mother was a daughter of Patrick Ronayne, Esq., of the great island, Cork.
The son received instruction from a tutor at home until he was twelve years of age, being then sent to a neighboring school kept by the Rev. Mr.Spedding, a clergyman of the established church. Having lost his father when but sixteen years of age, he turned his attention towards pharmacy as a profession and apprenticed himself to a Mr.Justice, a dispenser of drugs in the neighboring town of Mallow. Having acquired, as he thought, sufficient knowledge of the business, he applied for an examination at Apothecary's Hall, Trinity College, Dublin, but failed in Latin.
Thoroughly mortified over the result, he surreptitiously enlisted in the 41st regiment of foot, and for more than a year maintained his incognito until finally recognized by Capt. Afterwards Gen. Pratt, who distinguished himself in the in the Indian and Crimea wars. After serving for three years, he obtained a discharge through the intervention of his family. He sailed from the harbor of Queenstown, Nov 11, 1849, landed at New Orleans, La., on Christmas day, and went direct to Cincinnati where he engaged in business with a druggist named Salter. In the fall of 1850 he located in Helena, Ark., where he worked as prescription clerk, and at the same time studied law in the office of Hon. T.B.Hanly.
Being admitted to the bar in 1855, he practiced with success until the outbreak of the civil war, and then, enlisting among the first from his state, was elected captain of the Yell rifles. In August his company was mustered into the 1st Arkansas regiment, which was later transferred to the Confederate service at Pittman's Ferry, Ark.., as the 15th Arkansas, and placed in command of Gen. William J. Hardee. At Bowling Green, Ky., on March 4, 1862, Lieut.Cleburne was promoted brigadier general and placed in command of the 2d brigade, 3d corps, army of the Mississippi. At the battle of Shiloh, on April 6th and 7th, his brigade attained great distinction, he himself being commended for valor and ability; at the battle of Richmond, Ky., on August 30th, while commanding two brigades, Preston Smith's and his own, he received a severe wound, losing most of his upper teeth; and at the battle of Perryville on Oct, 8th, he was again severely wounded in the left foot. He was promoted to major-general on Dec. 13, 1862, and given command of a division composed of the brigades of S.A.M. Wood, Polk, Liddell and B.R.Johnson with the batteries of Calvert, Semple and Douglas. This command was in Hardee's corps on the left wing of the army, under Gen. Bragg at Murfreesboro, on Dec. 31st, and in this battle he also greatly distinguished himself. Before the battle of Chickamauga, Sept. 19, 1863, his division, composed of Deshlers Texan brigade, S.A.M.Wood's and Polk's brigade was assigned to D.H.Hill's corps, and in the reorganization of the army after this battle the personnel was changed so as to include Lowery's brigade (formally Wood's), Granberry's Texas (formally Deshler's, who was killed at Chickamauga), Govan's (formally Liddell's), and L.E.Polk's. With this command he participated in the battles of Missionary Ridge, Ringgold Gap, Resaca, New Hope Church or Pickett's Mill, Kenesaw Mountain, the battles around Atlanta and Jonesboro, Ga. Upon the retirement of Gen. Hood and the army of the Tennessee from Georgia into middle Tennessee, Cleburne's division was assigned to Cheatham's corps. In the battle of Franklin, Nov. 30, 1864, it achieved great distinction, but in the advance after taking the first line of the Federal works, Gen. Cleburne was killed within fifty yards of the main line. On account of his courage and skill he was known as the "Stonewall of the West".
Among other things that make him memorable was the institution by him of the order of the Southern Cross, and his strenuous contention for the use of colored troops in the Confederate service. After the war his remains were carried to his old home at Helena, and interred in the Confederate burial ground, where a handsome monument has been erected to his memory. Gen. Cleburne was in religious faith an Episcopalian, and for many years a vestryman of St.John's Church, Helena, Ark.
Copyright [sic] "The National Cyclopedia of American Biography", Volume 8, New York, James T. White & Company, 1898.
For more information, suggested reading on Patrick Ronayne Cleburne
"Pat Cleburne - Confederate General" by Howell and Elizabteh Purdue. Published by Hill Jr. College Press, 1973.
"Stonewall of the West - Pat Cleburne and the Civil War" by Craig L. Symonds. Published by University Press of Kansas, 1997.
"A Meteor Shining Brightly - Essays on Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne" Edited by Mauriel Phillips Joslyn. Published by Terrell House Publishing, 1998.
Further information may be found on the Patrick Cleburne Society Website.
Patrick R. Cleburne Society Website