General Patrick R. Cleburne

Wiley Sword (from pages 223-224):

“About forty yards from Reilly’s works, and nearly in front of the salient at the cotton gin, an ounce of lead, little more than a half inch in diameter and traveling about 1,000 feet per second, found its mark. It was the work of but an instant; a great chasm in Southern history frozen in microseconds. In one shocking moment Pat Cleburne collapsed to the ground, carrying with him perhaps the best hopes of a dying Confederacy’s western army. A lone minie ball had struck just below and to the left of his heart, shredding veins and arteries like tissue paper as it ripped through his body. In a few moments he breathed his last. Pat Cleburne lay dead, his battle saber still grasped firmly in his hand, and his lifeblood soaking the white linen shirt and gray uniform vest with a slowly expanding blotch of crimson. After all the glory and the anguish, it had come to this. Perhaps the South’s most brilliant major general, the “Stonewall Jackson of the West,” his ideas scorned by his president and his competence punished by his commanding general, had been required to lead a suicidal frontal attack like some captain of infantry. Was it God’s decreed fate, or simply man’s stupidity?”

Watch a video of historian Eric Jacobson describing the action around the Cotton gin during the Battle of Franklin.

The following newspaper account was printed in the New York Times, December 3rd, 1864 issue.

The pistol in this picture is Cleburne’s actual Colt revolver, now on display in the Layland Museum in Cleburne, Texas. Courtesy, the the Layland Museum.

Want more?

  1. Read the article “From mystery to history: the story of Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne’s once-lost pistol”.
  2. Read other article/posts on this web site about Cleburne.
  3. Browse over the Franklin battlefield Google map, accessible at www.FranklinBattlefield.com where you will find the only web-based interactive map of the Battle of Franklin; including troops positions, authentic accounts and pictures – all in the Google map interface.  Easy to use.
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