By MELINDA WILLIAMS
Pulaski County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee will hold a ceremony Saturday to dedicate a new Cloyd’s Farm plaque marking the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain (May 9) and the mortal wounding of Capt. Christopher S. Cleburne.
The event begins at 10 a.m. at Cleburne’s Wayside on Route 100 (Cleburne Blvd), north of Dublin.
Members of the Captain Milton Hall Harmon Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy will be dedicating the new plaque. The original plaque was dedicated in 1939 during the county’s centennial celebration and was placed near the Cloyd’s Farm battle site. However, it was moved to the Wayside when Route 100 was widened.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy McComas Chapter 66 and the Sons of Confederate Veterans Flat Top Copperheads also will place and dedicate the Southern Cross of Honor on the grave of Capt. Cleburne. He was among 400 dismounted cavalrymen of Gen. John Hunt Morgan, under the command of Col. D. Howard Smith, who arrived too late to fight the battle at Cloyd’s Farm due to a locomotive derailment encountered en route from Saltville.
History provides the following account of that day’s events:
The cavalrymen were ordered to cover the retreat and did so for about an hour. When the young captain was asked to lead a countercharge, he looked at the enemy guns and the wide unprotected space that had to be covered and commented, “It would be suicide.” In stories handed down, someone supposedly asked if he was afraid and Cleburne’s answer was to take his sword and make ready to lead the charge. “If I am killed,” he said, “bury me on the spot where I fall.”
In a letter written by Col. Smith to the captain’s brother, Patrick Cleburne, informing him of his brother’s death, he wrote that Capt. Cleburne had been killed in the battle of Cloyd’s Farm on May 9, 1864. Col. Smith described Christopher Cleburne as one of the most efficient and promising officers in the command and said that he fell while “gallantly leading his company.”
Christopher Cleburne had been promoted to captain only a short time before his death.
There is a discrepancy in the date of Capt. Cleburne’s death because the Wayside monument bears the date May 10, 1864. Cleburne is buried in a lone grave not far from where he fell. In 1968 his grave was moved approximately 100 feet west of its original location when the road was widened.
UDC Chapters and SCV Camps from Virginia and surrounding states will be present Saturday to lay wreaths on Capt. Cleburne’s grave. Members of the Captain Hamilton D. Wade Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy and Giles Artillery also will participate in the dedication.