Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 18.djvu/263
General P. R. Cleburne. 263
England, where he was being educated for the medical profession, and enlisted as a soldier in the English army. After several years of service in that capacity, he came to the United States and located in this city (Helena, Ark.), where he began the study and practice of law, in which he was succeeding at the outbreak of our civil war. He enlisted in the Confederate army as a private; contrived the capture of the United States arsenal in Arkansas in March, 1861, thus early displaying that promptness, sagacity and enterprise which characterized him throughout his military career. He was made captain of a company, and very soon afterward promoted to the rank of colonel, and as early as March, 1862, was made a brigadier-gen- eral. At the battle of Shiloh he commanded a brigade, and was highly commended for his courage and ability. Was wounded at the battle of Perry ville, Ky., in October, 1862, and in December following was advanced to the important rank of major-general. His martial qualities were recognized and rewarded in his rapid promo- tion to higher commands. At the battle of Stone river, or Mur- freesboro, he commanded a division of the right wing of the Confed- erate army and again signalized himself for valor and efficiency.
At the battle of Chickamauga, one of the most interesting and thrill- ing conflicts of the war, the persistent spirit and shining courage of General Cleburne and his gallant command were again conspicuous. This great battle was fought on the i8th, igth, and 2oth of September, 1863, the contending armies being pretty equally matched as to num- bers. On Friday, the i8th, there was heavy outpost fighting, on Saturday heavy fighting, and on Sunday desperate fighting. On the morning of the last and third day, the contest was renewed with aug- mented fury. All day the earth trembled with the thunder of three hundred guns and the clamor of one hundred thousand rifles. The very waters quivered within the banks of the Chickamauga river from the concussion of artillery. Troops were rushed from point to point. Column after column was hurried into combat. The thrilling shouts of contending hosts could be heard amid the battle's roar. Couriers bearing orders dashed on panting steeds through the jungles and into the lines. Battle flags and flying banners mingled in the dreadful strife. The lurid smoke of battle rose and spread in purple waves as volley after volley thundered its deadly contents amid surging col- umns and resounding arms. All day the battle raged, and the issue seemed doubtful. But late in the afternoon both wings of the Federal line began to recede, and later were driven to confusion. But the left