- The Washington Times - Friday, November 25, 2005


Fundraising to erect the first and only battlefield monument to Confederate commander and hero Patrick Ronayne Cleburne is more than $60,000 shy of what is needed to complete the project, says the organization spearheading the effort.

In 2001, the Patrick Cleburne Society began raising money for a bronze statue commemorating the Irish-born Cleburne, the venerated division commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. The only memorial to Cleburne is an obelisk on his grave in Helena, Ark.

Ron Tunison, considered by many one of America’s premier sculptors of military art, has been working on the 8-foot cast-bronze statue for about two years. The sculpture depicts Cleburne, field glasses in hand, on the battlefield at Ringgold Gap, Ga. He is leaning forward and gazing in the direction of Col. David Ireland’s advancing New York regiment.

The society has raised $42,000 of the needed $104,650 and must raise $15,000 before Jan. 1 or incur storage charges for the monument pieces, says Mauriel P. Joslyn, chairman of the Georgia Civil War Commission and past president of the Patrick Cleburne Society. She says the sculpting stage is done, and completion of the monument is six months away, presuming the needed funds can be raised by year’s end.

The Gettysburg National Battlefield is home to four of Mr. Tunison’s heroic-size bronze monuments: the Gen. Samuel Crawford Monument, the Friend to Friend Monument, the Delaware State Monument and the Gettysburg Civil War Women’s Memorial of Elizabeth Thorn. Mr. Tunison also created the Irish Brigade Monument at Antietam National Battlefield, using granite imported from County Wicklow, Ireland.

The group has secured permission from the Georgia Department of Transportation to locate the Cleburne monument in a wayside park at Ringgold Gap on U.S. Highway 41 in the north Georgia mountains south of Chattanooga, Tenn. The site is very near the spot from which Cleburne directed the battle. His gallant defense of the gap earned him the official thanks of the Confederate Congress.

“Some people ask why we aren’t pushing to place the statue in Franklin, Tenn., since that is where he was killed,” Mrs. Joslyn says, “but Franklin is nearly obliterated due to real estate development, and besides, it evokes such sadness. At Ringgold, we can portray Cleburne at a victorious moment in his career. The statue will also enhance battlefield interpretation and not get lost in the busy environment of a cityscape.”

Small bronze busts cast from Mr. Tunison’s model for the monument are available for any donation of $250 or more and come with a certificate of authenticity. The Patrick Cleburne Society is a nonprofit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. For more information, visit the society’s Web site, www.patrickcleburne.com, or call Mrs. Joslyn at 706/444-0407.

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