Thursday, August 21, 2014

About that Patrick Cleburne diary

Does anyone know the story behind its discovery?  A cursory online search for news stories turned up nothing. I can see why it might remain under wraps until publication but I would have thought at least some kind of headline would have appeared between 2009 and now [the diary was one of the items reported missing from Cleburne's body when it arrived at Carnton].  Given Cleburne's popularity and with 1864 being the most controversial year of his celebrated Confederate service (with his proposal to arm slaves and high profile involvement and death during Hood's Tennessee campaign), it should be a pretty big deal.


  1. I accidentally deleted a comment that provided a link mentioning where White's editing of the 1864 part of the diary will eventually appear [sorry, whoever that was!]. It will be one of the chapters in the 1864 Tenn. Campaign volume of SIUP's "Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland" series.

  2. I can confirm (by way of Chuck Grear) that as of this summer (2014) the volume on the 1864 Tennessee Campaign is on track for publication by SIU Press' in the Fall of 2015. The book is currently going through some additional editing and review stages, and I'm scheduled to have a chapter in the volume as well. I can't confirm Lee White's Cleburn diary excerpt, but if I see him any time soon I'll be sure to ask. Hopefully it will make it in, and it should be a treat for all of us.

    Incidentally, thanks for a great site, Drew. I'm a long-time lurker who really appreciates your excellent work here.

    Drew S. Bledsoe
    Lee University

  3. Hello Drew

    So Does Lee White have the entire diary or just the portion on 1864? I would assume if he has the entire diary, it would be published in that form eventually?


    1. Don,
      As to the full extent of the diary and who gets to decide what happens with it, I'm as much in the dark as you are.

  4. Sam ElliottAugust 22, 2014

    I may be mistaken, but I believe it is only a portion of the diary for 1864. Note that Wiley Sword makes mention of it in his piece on the effect of the defeat at Chattanooga on the Confederate in the book on Chickamauga and Chattanooga that Drew reviewed last week sometime.

  5. So why all the seeming secrecy? Does anyone know how to contact Lee White?

  6. I've got an inquiry in to him now.

  7. I've gotten a brief update from Lee White about the Cleburne diary he is working on for the Campaigns in the Heartland volume on the 1864 Tennessee Campaign.

    According to Lee, the source in question is a fragment of Cleburne's diary what was lost at LaFayette, Georgia as the Army of Tennessee was making its way through North Georgia. It covers about two and half weeks in 1864. Lee indicated that it has some very good insight in it about Cleburne, and he writes in a very "romantic" style, so it's more than a weather and mileage diary.

    As far as how the fragment was discovered and any more detailed information, we'll probably have to wait until the Tennessee Campaign volume is published. As I mentioned earlier, SIU Press and the editors plan for a Fall 2015 publication date. The chapters are currently in the review and edit stage. Glad to see there's interest in this one!

    1. Chris EvansAugust 23, 2014

      Thanks for the additional info. I wasn't familiar with the diary and was I'm surprised this wasn't a bigger deal in the Civil War community.

      Too bad it doesn't cover all of his Civil War experience.



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