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To Jefferson Davis, he was the "Stonewall of the West"; to Robert E. Lee he was "a meteor shining from a clouded sky"; and to Braxton Bragg, he was an officer "ever alive to a success." He was Patrick Ronayne Cleburne, one of the greatest of all Confederate field commanders. In Stonewall of the West, Craig Symonds offers the first full-scale critical biography of this compelling figure. He explores all the sources of Cleburne's commitment to the Southern cause, his growth as a combat leader from Shiloh to Chickamauga, and his emergence as one of the Confederacy's most effective field commanders at Missionary Ridge, Ringgold Gap, and Pickett's Mill. In addition, Symonds unravels the "mystery" of Spring Hill and recounts Cleburne's dramatic and untimely death (at the age of 36) at Franklin, Tennessee, where he charged the enemy line on foot after having had two horses shot from under him. Symonds also explores Cleburne's role in the complicated personal politics of the Army of Tennessee, as well as his astonishing proposal that the decimated Confederate ranks be filled by ending a slavery and arming blacks against the Union.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780700609345
ISBN-10: 0700609342
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 20mm)
Pages: 340
Imprint: University Press of Kansas
Publisher: University Press of Kansas
Publish Date: 30-Apr-1997
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » The heroic story of an outstanding divisional commander for the Confederacy in the Army of Tennessee. Symonds (History/US Naval Academy; Joseph E. Johnson: A Civil War Biography, 1992) combines well researched narrative history and biography with a highly readable style in exploring the life of this exceptional man. Cleburne was, as the narrative demonstrates, reliable, cool, and reserved under extreme hardship but passionate in battle. Leaving his starving homeland, Ireland, in the bitter year of 1849 after service in the British Army, Cleburne emigrated to the US and became a hard-working member of the frontier community in Helena, Ark. When the Civil War started, this accidental Southerner joined the Confederate forces and soon distinguished himself as an inspirational leader, displaying both courage and judgment. Symonds describes his gallantry in such battles as Shiloh, Chickamauga, and Kenasaw Mountain. Even though Jefferson Davis called him "the Stonewall of the West," and Robert E. Lee described him as a "meteor shining from a clouded sky," Cleburne, being foreign-born and an outspoken critic of ineffective officers (including his own commander), was often passed over for promotion. He also stirred controversy when he proposed abolishing slavery and enlisting ex-slaves in the army. Despite his disappointments, he achieved a superb record as an innovative division commander and was faithful to the Southern cause. After the capture of Atlanta, though the war had clearly been lost, the army's new commander fought on, rashly expending lives. Cleburne, though aware of the likely outcome, stayed with his troops and was killed at the Battle of Franklin at the age of 36. A fine addition to Civil War literature and a deserved tribute to a remarkable career. (Kirkus Reviews)


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