Anecdotes of General Cleburne

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

AUG

Major
Retired Moderator
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
6,998
Location
Texas
I've read bits and pieces of this account in a number of books, though never read it in its entirety until I finally decided to look it up in the SHSP. I don't believe its been posted here before.

By T. O. Moore, 7th Texas Volunteer Infantry

[From the New Orleans Picayune, July 2, 1893.]

ANECDOTES OF GENERAL CLEBURNE.
COMANCHE, TEXAS, June 12, 1893.

Editor of The Picayune:
I send you a few incidents of the life of General Pat Cleburne, which I have never seen in print, and which may be of interest to your many readers and the members of his old division. General Cleburne was a gallant soldier, a hard fighter, always kind and courteous to his men, who almost worshipped him, and who believed "old Pat" could whip all creation.

In the fall of 1864, Cleburne's division was thrown with a portion of the army across the Coosa River, above Rome, Ga., and started across the mountains of the North Georgia to the railroad leading to Atlanta. We were cut off from our supply trains, and had to live off the country through which we passed.

Apples, chestnuts, and persimmons were plenty, so we did pretty well. Strict orders had been issued that we must not depredate upon private property. One morning on leaving camp, General Granbury's brigade led the column. I was badly crippled from sore feet and could not keep up with the command, so, on this particular morning, had special permission to march at the head of the brigade. I was trudging along the best I could just in the rear of General Granbury's horse, when I saw down the road General Cleburne sitting on the top of a rail fence smoking a cob pipe. Below, on the ground, were five or six bushels of fine red apples. Near by stood one or two of his aids; also five or six "web-foot" soldiers, who looked as mean as they well could look. As we drew near, General Granbury saluted General Cleburne, who in his turn said: "General Granbury, I am peddling apples to-day." General Granbury said: "How are you selling them, General?" General Cleburne replied: "Those gentlemen (pointing to the web-feet, who had stolen the apples) have been very kind. They have gathered the apples for me and charged nothing. I will give them to you and your men. Now, you get down and take an apple, and have each of your men pass by and take one- only, one, mind-until they are all gone." This was done.

In the meantime, the boys were hurrahing for old Pat. When the apples gave out, General Cleburne made each man who had stolen the apples carry a rail for a mile or two. Old Pat enjoyed the thing as much as did his men.

On this same raid we struck the railroad leading to Atlanta, and orders were given to destroy the same. One evening General Cleburne ordered Granbury's Brigade out to help do the work. We were strung along the track as near together as we well could stand. General Cleburne then got out in front and said: "Attention, men! When I say ready, let every man stoop down, take hold of the rails, and when I say 'heave to', let every man lift all he can and turn the rails and cross-ties over." When the command was given by old Pat, a thousand men or more bent their backs and took hold of the iron; then came the command, "heave ho!" With a yell up we came with rails and cross-ties, and over they went. The ties were then knocked loose, rails taken apart, cross-ties piled up and fired, and on them was placed the iron which, when red hot, was bent in all kinds of shapes. Some of the iron was bent around the trees. We worked a good part of the night destroying the road, which did but little good, however, as the boys in blue soon fixed it up again.

During the campaign around Atlanta our company was out on picket. Just before we were relieved in the morning our company killed a fat cow, and we managed to bring a quarter into camp. As we were expecting to move at any time, we cut up the beef in chunks, built a scaffold and spread the meat on it, them built a fire and were cooking it so we could take it with us. We were all busy working at it when one of the company looked up and saw old Pat coming down the line on a tour of inspection. We had no time to hide the beef, and knew we were in for it. One of the company stepped out and saluted the General, and said: "General, we have some nice, fat beef cooking, and it is about done; come and eat dinner with us." "Well," he replied, "it does smell good. I believe I will." He sat down on a log, one of the boys took a nice piece of beef from the fire, another hunted a pone of corn bread and handed it to him. The General ate quite heartily, thanked us for the dinner, took out his cob pipe, filled it and began to smoke, chatting pleasantly with us, asking what we thought of our position, and if we thought we could whip the fight, if we had one, and then passed on down the line, while we cheered him. How could we help admiring him? Had he lived and the war continued, he was bound to have risen to great distinction as an officer. He and General Granbury were killed near the breastworks at the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, and the Confederacy lost two of her best officers.

T. O. MOORE,
Company F, Seventh Texas Volunteer Infantry, Granbury's Brigade, Cleburne's Division, Army of Tennessee.

Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. 21 (1893), pp. 299-300
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
30,454
Location
Long Island, NY
I've read bits and pieces of this account in a number of books, though never read it in its entirety until I finally decided to look it up in the SHSP. I don't believe its been posted here before.

By T. O. Moore, 7th Texas Volunteer Infantry

[From the New Orleans Picayune, July 2, 1893.]

ANECDOTES OF GENERAL CLEBURNE.
COMANCHE, TEXAS, June 12, 1893.

Editor of The Picayune:
I send you a few incidents of the life of General Pat Cleburne, which I have never seen in print, and which may be of interest to your many readers and the members of his old division. General Cleburne was a gallant soldier, a hard fighter, always kind and courteous to his men, who almost worshipped him, and who believed "old Pat" could whip all creation.

In the fall of 1864, Cleburne's division was thrown with a portion of the army across the Coosa River, above Rome, Ga., and started across the mountains of the North Georgia to the railroad leading to Atlanta. We were cut off from our supply trains, and had to live off the country through which we passed.

Apples, chestnuts, and persimmons were plenty, so we did pretty well. Strict orders had been issued that we must not depredate upon private property. One morning on leaving camp, General Granbury's brigade led the column. I was badly crippled from sore feet and could not keep up with the command, so, on this particular morning, had special permission to march at the head of the brigade. I was trudging along the best I could just in the rear of General Granbury's horse, when I saw down the road General Cleburne sitting on the top of a rail fence smoking a cob pipe. Below, on the ground, were five or six bushels of fine red apples. Near by stood one or two of his aids; also five or six "web-foot" soldiers, who looked as mean as they well could look. As we drew near, General Granbury saluted General Cleburne, who in his turn said: "General Granbury, I am peddling apples to-day." General Granbury said: "How are you selling them, General?" General Cleburne replied: "Those gentlemen (pointing to the web-feet, who had stolen the apples) have been very kind. They have gathered the apples for me and charged nothing. I will give them to you and your men. Now, you get down and take an apple, and have each of your men pass by and take one- only, one, mind-until they are all gone." This was done.

In the meantime, the boys were hurrahing for old Pat. When the apples gave out, General Cleburne made each man who had stolen the apples carry a rail for a mile or two. Old Pat enjoyed the thing as much as did his men.

On this same raid we struck the railroad leading to Atlanta, and orders were given to destroy the same. One evening General Cleburne ordered Granbury's Brigade out to help do the work. We were strung along the track as near together as we well could stand. General Cleburne then got out in front and said: "Attention, men! When I say ready, let every man stoop down, take hold of the rails, and when I say 'heave to', let every man lift all he can and turn the rails and cross-ties over." When the command was given by old Pat, a thousand men or more bent their backs and took hold of the iron; then came the command, "heave ho!" With a yell up we came with rails and cross-ties, and over they went. The ties were then knocked loose, rails taken apart, cross-ties piled up and fired, and on them was placed the iron which, when red hot, was bent in all kinds of shapes. Some of the iron was bent around the trees. We worked a good part of the night destroying the road, which did but little good, however, as the boys in blue soon fixed it up again.

During the campaign around Atlanta our company was out on picket. Just before we were relieved in the morning our company killed a fat cow, and we managed to bring a quarter into camp. As we were expecting to move at any time, we cut up the beef in chunks, built a scaffold and spread the meat on it, them built a fire and were cooking it so we could take it with us. We were all busy working at it when one of the company looked up and saw old Pat coming down the line on a tour of inspection. We had no time to hide the beef, and knew we were in for it. One of the company stepped out and saluted the General, and said: "General, we have some nice, fat beef cooking, and it is about done; come and eat dinner with us." "Well," he replied, "it does smell good. I believe I will." He sat down on a log, one of the boys took a nice piece of beef from the fire, another hunted a pone of corn bread and handed it to him. The General ate quite heartily, thanked us for the dinner, took out his cob pipe, filled it and began to smoke, chatting pleasantly with us, asking what we thought of our position, and if we thought we could whip the fight, if we had one, and then passed on down the line, while we cheered him. How could we help admiring him? Had he lived and the war continued, he was bound to have risen to great distinction as an officer. He and General Granbury were killed near the breastworks at the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, and the Confederacy lost two of her best officers.

T. O. MOORE,
Company F, Seventh Texas Volunteer Infantry, Granbury's Brigade, Cleburne's Division, Army of Tennessee.

Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. 21 (1893), pp. 299-300
Good stories.
 

Tin cup

Captain
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
5,947
Location
Texas
Sergeant John M. Berry, Co.I, 8th Arkansas said this of Cleburne:

"On another occasion when at Bellbuckle, Tennessee one Sunday morning we were out for inspection and the General himself came slowly down the line. Everything went well until he came to Ben Stewart of my Company. Ben was not noted for keeping a clean gun. The general took the gun, examined it critically, then handing it back it back he looked Ben in the face with a reproachful expression in his eyes and said: "I hope to do you no injustice, my man, but I don't think you have washed your face for several days."
After that Ben's gun and face were always ready for inspection."

Kevin Dally
cleburne 1.jpg
 

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
8,221
Location
Central Massachusetts
The American Irish Weekly (N.Y.) of February 17, 1883, has a long tribute to "the Marshal Ney of the Confederacy," written by a man who knew him. After describing in detail Cleburne's death at the Battle of Franklin, C. E. Roberts describes his personal appearance and attributes:
cleburne.png
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

diane

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Messages
20,482
Location
State of Jefferson
Cleburne was one of the few generals to have all of Nathan Bedford Forrest's respect and then some. At Chickamauga, Forrest pointed to Cleburne's troops coming into position. "Do you see that large body of infantry marching this way in columns of fours? That is General Pat Cleburne's division; Hell will break loose in Georgia in about fifteen minutes."

The last time the two friends met was at Spring Hill - Cleburne was killed the following day.

One of the most interesting stories I've heard about Cleburne was why he never drank. When he first came to Arkansas, he was rooming with a good buddy and they went out drinking. Cleburne could not remember much but he did remember he had come within a hair's breadth of killing his best friend! He was horrified. There was always a very dark and rather violent undercurrent in his character, which he was aware of and if uncorking the bottle was uncorking this private Mr Hyde, he'd pass, thank you!
 

CMWinkler

Colonel
Retired Moderator
Joined
Oct 17, 2012
Messages
14,119
Location
Middle Tennessee
I've read bits and pieces of this account in a number of books, though never read it in its entirety until I finally decided to look it up in the SHSP. I don't believe its been posted here before.

By T. O. Moore, 7th Texas Volunteer Infantry

[From the New Orleans Picayune, July 2, 1893.]

ANECDOTES OF GENERAL CLEBURNE.
COMANCHE, TEXAS, June 12, 1893.

Editor of The Picayune:
I send you a few incidents of the life of General Pat Cleburne, which I have never seen in print, and which may be of interest to your many readers and the members of his old division. General Cleburne was a gallant soldier, a hard fighter, always kind and courteous to his men, who almost worshipped him, and who believed "old Pat" could whip all creation.

In the fall of 1864, Cleburne's division was thrown with a portion of the army across the Coosa River, above Rome, Ga., and started across the mountains of the North Georgia to the railroad leading to Atlanta. We were cut off from our supply trains, and had to live off the country through which we passed.

Apples, chestnuts, and persimmons were plenty, so we did pretty well. Strict orders had been issued that we must not depredate upon private property. One morning on leaving camp, General Granbury's brigade led the column. I was badly crippled from sore feet and could not keep up with the command, so, on this particular morning, had special permission to march at the head of the brigade. I was trudging along the best I could just in the rear of General Granbury's horse, when I saw down the road General Cleburne sitting on the top of a rail fence smoking a cob pipe. Below, on the ground, were five or six bushels of fine red apples. Near by stood one or two of his aids; also five or six "web-foot" soldiers, who looked as mean as they well could look. As we drew near, General Granbury saluted General Cleburne, who in his turn said: "General Granbury, I am peddling apples to-day." General Granbury said: "How are you selling them, General?" General Cleburne replied: "Those gentlemen (pointing to the web-feet, who had stolen the apples) have been very kind. They have gathered the apples for me and charged nothing. I will give them to you and your men. Now, you get down and take an apple, and have each of your men pass by and take one- only, one, mind-until they are all gone." This was done.

In the meantime, the boys were hurrahing for old Pat. When the apples gave out, General Cleburne made each man who had stolen the apples carry a rail for a mile or two. Old Pat enjoyed the thing as much as did his men.

On this same raid we struck the railroad leading to Atlanta, and orders were given to destroy the same. One evening General Cleburne ordered Granbury's Brigade out to help do the work. We were strung along the track as near together as we well could stand. General Cleburne then got out in front and said: "Attention, men! When I say ready, let every man stoop down, take hold of the rails, and when I say 'heave to', let every man lift all he can and turn the rails and cross-ties over." When the command was given by old Pat, a thousand men or more bent their backs and took hold of the iron; then came the command, "heave ho!" With a yell up we came with rails and cross-ties, and over they went. The ties were then knocked loose, rails taken apart, cross-ties piled up and fired, and on them was placed the iron which, when red hot, was bent in all kinds of shapes. Some of the iron was bent around the trees. We worked a good part of the night destroying the road, which did but little good, however, as the boys in blue soon fixed it up again.

During the campaign around Atlanta our company was out on picket. Just before we were relieved in the morning our company killed a fat cow, and we managed to bring a quarter into camp. As we were expecting to move at any time, we cut up the beef in chunks, built a scaffold and spread the meat on it, them built a fire and were cooking it so we could take it with us. We were all busy working at it when one of the company looked up and saw old Pat coming down the line on a tour of inspection. We had no time to hide the beef, and knew we were in for it. One of the company stepped out and saluted the General, and said: "General, we have some nice, fat beef cooking, and it is about done; come and eat dinner with us." "Well," he replied, "it does smell good. I believe I will." He sat down on a log, one of the boys took a nice piece of beef from the fire, another hunted a pone of corn bread and handed it to him. The General ate quite heartily, thanked us for the dinner, took out his cob pipe, filled it and began to smoke, chatting pleasantly with us, asking what we thought of our position, and if we thought we could whip the fight, if we had one, and then passed on down the line, while we cheered him. How could we help admiring him? Had he lived and the war continued, he was bound to have risen to great distinction as an officer. He and General Granbury were killed near the breastworks at the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, and the Confederacy lost two of her best officers.

T. O. MOORE,
Company F, Seventh Texas Volunteer Infantry, Granbury's Brigade, Cleburne's Division, Army of Tennessee.

Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. 21 (1893), pp. 299-300
How odd. I picked this same story on Thursday to be in our January Camp newsletter. Great story.
 
Last edited:

AUG

Major
Retired Moderator
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
6,998
Location
Texas
The American Irish Weekly (N.Y.) of February 17, 1883, has a long tribute to "the Marshal Ney of the Confederacy," written by a man who knew him. After describing in detail Cleburne's death at the Battle of Franklin, C. E. Roberts describes his personal appearance and attributes:
Thanks for sharing, don't think I seen that one before. He sums up Cleburne pretty eloquently.

"I am sick of fighting, but we must see this struggle to the end." Yep, that was Cleburne all right! He might have been rather quiet and reserved on the outside, but inside he certainly had a steadfast determination.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sbc
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

bdtex

Brigadier General
Moderator
Silver Patron
Civil War Photo Contest
Annual Winner
Regtl. Quartermaster Chickamauga 2018
Joined
Jul 21, 2015
Messages
8,655
Location
Houston,TX area
Another often-quoted account - and one of my personal favorites - of Cleburne and Ringgold Gap is that of W. W. Gibson, in Confederate Veteran, Vol. 12., p. 526-527.

View attachment 116701
View attachment 116702
View attachment 116703
Sir,I spent my final morning cup of coffee time reading that and the OP. Fine reads. Lotta bullets were expended trying to bring Gibson and Turner down. Risked death running across a burning bridge because he didn't wanna wade that icy water again. What a story!
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Desert Kid

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Messages
2,142
Location
Arizona
Cleburne was one of the few generals to have all of Nathan Bedford Forrest's respect and then some. At Chickamauga, Forrest pointed to Cleburne's troops coming into position. "Do you see that large body of infantry marching this way in columns of fours? That is General Pat Cleburne's division; Hell will break loose in Georgia in about fifteen minutes."

The last time the two friends met was at Spring Hill - Cleburne was killed the following day.

One of the most interesting stories I've heard about Cleburne was why he never drank. When he first came to Arkansas, he was rooming with a good buddy and they went out drinking. Cleburne could not remember much but he did remember he had come within a hair's breadth of killing his best friend! He was horrified. There was always a very dark and rather violent undercurrent in his character, which he was aware of and if uncorking the bottle was uncorking this private Mr Hyde, he'd pass, thank you!
Oh no doubt!

Turns out what they were drinking that night was some pretty cognac brandy. The friend was Charles Nash, an upn'comer in Helena. The violent episode sprung about from a chess club get-together.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top