In honor of Pvt. Nathan R. Oakes, CSA

150 years ago, my great grandfather, Nathan Richardson Oakes, served as a private in Company D of the distinguished 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Army of Tennessee. He participated in the great Civil War campaigns, including the battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, and Bentonville. I am writing about his engagements as well as some details about fighting for the Lost Cause. I hope to honor him and commemorate the events and individuals that contributed to making this a renowned unit in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Fallen Hero, Patrick Cleburne

Among the hundreds of Confederate dead in the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864, were 6 Confederate generals, including Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne. His body was found on the battlefield lying on his back. His boots, watch, sword belt, and other valuables had been looted from his body. He lay only 40 yards south of the earthworks at the Carter cotton gin, not far from where my Great Grandfather Nathan R. Oakes fought that day under his command.

His body was removed and placed with the other bodies of fallen generals—Adams, Granbury, and Strahl—at John McGavock’s residence at the Carton House, awaiting transportation to Columbia, Tennessee. Plenty of Cleburne’s men were moved to tears upon learning of their leader's death. A host of them came for a last look at their beloved commander.

During the evening of December 1st, Cleburne’s body lay in the parlor of Dr. William J. Polk’s residence. At 3 PM on today's date, Chaplin Charles T. Quintard conducted a ceremony in the Polk parlor. Then Cleburne's body was moved for burial at Rose Hill Cemetery, only a few blocks away.

Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010
St. John's Church, behind which is Ashwood Cemetery

Later, Cleburne's remains were buried in the cemetery, behind St. John’s Church, near the Polk family plot. It was the very spot where only 1 week earlier, Cleburne had remarked to his friend, Gen. Govan, on the beauty of the chapel and cemetery, “It is almost worth dying to be buried in such a beautiful spot.”

Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010
Cleburne Monument
Maple Hill Cemetery, Helena, Arkansas
Cleburne's body remained at Ashwood Cemetery for 6 years. In 1870, his remains were once again disinterred, and he was returned to his adopted hometown of Helena, Arkansas, with much fanfare. He now lies in the Maple Hill Cemetery, overlooking the Mississippi River.

Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010
Cleburne's headstone, lying at the base of
his monument in the Maple Hill Cemetery,
Helena, Arkansas

The location where Cleburne was killed in on the Franklin battlefield was reclaimed and is now known as Cleburne Park.

Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010
Cleburne Park, Franklin, Tennessee

Where this division defended, no odds broke its line; where it attacked, no numbers
resisted its onslaught, save only once; and there is the grave of Cleburne.
Gen. William J. Hardee

Source: The Confederacy's Last Hurrah, Wile Sword

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