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Stonewall of the West: Patrick Cleburne and the Civil War (Modern War Studies) (Modern War Studies (Paperback)) Paperback – April 8, 1997
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Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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After serving a short term in the British Infantry, Patrick Ronayne Cleburne travelled over from his native Ireland (to correct one earlier reviewer's mistake - Cleburne was an Irish Protestant, not Catholic!) to settle in Arkansas and make a successful life for himself. He became a high-ranking member of the local masonic institute and did extremely well in business. When his adopted state seceded and went to war he did the only thing his conscience would allow and volunteered to fight alongside his friends and neighbours.
His talent was quickly recognised and he would eventually reach the rank of Major General. He would (and should ) have gone even higher but his call for the south to free and arm its slaves won him many enemies. In time even Robert E. Lee would come to agree with what Cleburne had earlier advocated but by then it was too late for the Confedracy.
The one thing that comes shining through in this excellent book is Cleburne's practical battleground genius. He inspired confidence in his men and never failed them. His division performed consistently in fight after fight and must be considered to be one of the very best that saw conflict in the entire war. History does not treat bad commanders well and it is a measure of Cleburne's reputation and stature that so many have called him the "Stonewall of the West".
I thoroughly enjoyed Symonds' style of writing.Read more ›
At times the failure to give perspective limits the impact of Cleburne's accomplishments. One prime example is the siege at Chattanooga and Cleburne's defense of Missionary Ridge. Cleburne faced what was thought to be the cream of the Union's western forces in Sherman's Corp. While Cleburne was able to soundly defeat these forces while being outnumbered, the rest of the Confederate forces, fighting from what were thought to be impregnable positions, collapsed. Cleburne then acted as the rear guard, inflicted hard blows on the Union Army, and literally saved the Army of Tennessee from destruction.
Cleburne is a fascinating historical character for numerous reasons and Symonds does a fine job of describing who he is. His early life in Ireland and Arkansas is particularly interesting. In describing Cleburne's roots, Symonds helps answer why so many non-slave owners gave their lives for the Confederacy. Given Cleburne's background, he believed that he owed his position in life to those in Arkansas who helped him get there. His loyalty was thus to his state rather than to a nation. It is a hard concept to understand in this century, but it was not unusual in Cleburne's.
This is a good book and a worthwhile read. It is a fine complement to a general history of the Army of Tennessee.
The main focus of Symonds' work is on Cleburne the general, but he gives enough background of his youth in Ireland and his migration to and adoption of America as his new home to sketch what shaped his character and what motivated him to fight in the Southern cause. Cleburne emerges as an immigrant eager to assimilate and make the customs and mores of his new home his own; a man grateful for the opportunities and acceptance he received in Arkansas, and genuinely, if uncritically, committed to fighting for the cause of his adopted home.
Symonds also addresses Cleburne's role within the morass of intrigue that plagued the command structure of the Army of Tennessee. He shows Cleburne to have been one of the anti Bragg cartel, not as a primary mover, but because of his loyalty to his friend and mentor General Hardee (a principle Bragg opponent), and perhaps even more so because of his habit of candor that showed little regard for political expediency. This was damaging to his career, and perhaps among the principle reasons why he was never promoted above division commander, despite the fact that he was the brightest shining star in the army.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book on one of the great Confederate generals. Detailed accounts of his life and times before and during the war. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Kepper
best book I ve read on Patrick Cleburne. He was treated by the south the same way George Thomas was by the north.
I have recently read both Symonds' biography of Cleburne, and Howell and Elizabeth Purdue's older "Pat Cleburne, Confederate General"(1973). Read morePublished on August 13, 2013 by Kelly Marie Jacobson
Interesting to see how the Irish ancestry mixed with the attitudes and influences of the South led to the character and leadership of a real fighting soldier. A very good read.Published on April 27, 2013 by David Ian Viccars
This book is a holiday gift for someone that loves to read about the Civil War so I assume since it was on their holiday wish list it is an excellent book. Read more