Irish historian named keynote speaker for the 2014 Civil War sesquicentennial event

“Patrick Cleburne at the Battle of Franklin” Profiles the International Impact of the Civil War

By Cindy Dupree

The international impact of the Civil War in Tennessee will take center stage 10:45 a.m. Friday, Nov. 14, when renowned conflict archaeologist, historian, and 2014 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Event keynote speaker Damian Shiels presents “Patrick Cleburne at the Battle of Franklin” at The Factory in Franklin, TN. Confederate General Patrick Cleburne was an Irishman who fought for the South and died during the battle of Franklin on Nov. 30, 1864. The event is free and open to the public.

According to Shiels, author of the book, The Irish in the American Civil War, only World War I saw as many Irish in uniform. More than 200,000 Irish born men took up arms during both wars. Reflecting on Patrick Cleburne, he writes, “The impact of the death of Major-General Patrick Cleburne was keenly felt. No less a personage than Robert E. Lee described him as ‘A meteor shining from a clouded sky.’ The memory of the Irishman remains strong in the United States today.”

Shiels has lectured and is published both nationally and internationally on Irish military history and conflict archaeology. As part of his ongoing research into the Irish of the American Civil War, Shiels is working on a project examining U.S. military pensioners in 19th century Ireland and a project on the social impact of the American Civil War on a group of New York Irishmen and their families. His address is sponsored by the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, a program of the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation.

More than 6,000 people from around the world are expected to attend the four-day events surrounding the 2014 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event, “The Last Campaign in Tennessee,” Nov. 13-16 in historic Franklin, TN.

The commemoration marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin in which Union troops under the command of Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield repelled the advances of the Army of Tennessee led by Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood. It was one of the bloodiest days of fighting in the Civil War.

Among the treasures available for public viewing at The Factory on Nov.14 will be the Kepi owned by General Cleburne, which is part of the display planned by the Tennessee State Museum.

Another special exhibit will be at The Fleming Center at Carnton Plantation. Franklin’s many historic sites – Carter House, Lotz House, Eastern Flank Battle Park, Winstead Hill Park, and Fort Granger – will offer visitors the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the men and women who experienced this chapter in our nation’s history.

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