Today is St. Patrick's Day in remembrance of a terrific man doing terrific things. That all powerful know-it-all Wikipedia has this to say of the momentous holiday.
a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It commemorates Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. Saint Patrick's Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century, and has gradually become a celebration of Irish culture in general. The day is generally characterised by the attendance of church services, wearing of green attire and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on eating, and drinking alcohol, which is often proscribed during the rest of the season.As I write I have friends that are currently roaming the streets of Savannah, GA engaging in this "Irish diaspora" celebration. Today is also a day to for remembrance of yet another great man. I am talking of course about Confederate Maj. General Patrick R. Cleburne.
Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland,Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Today, St. Patrick's Day is probably the most widely celebrated saint's day in the world.
Cleburne excelled in command. He served with distinction at the battles of Shiloh, Richmond, Perryville, and Stones River. In 1863 Cleburne set himself apart yet again at the battles of Missionary Ridge, opposing General Sherman, and Ringgold Gap opposing Gen. John Hooker. At both battles Cleburne was outnumbered 4 to 1 yet still took the day. He received an official thanks from the Confederate Congress and was dubbed Stonewall of the West. Yet it is his proposition in the Winter of 1863-64 that he is most noted for.
In the winter of 1863 it was becoming obvious that the war was not far from over. The South had been checked in every Northern invasion. Turned back after the battle of Sharpsburg and then turned back again in '63 at Gettysburg, the South was unable to reach a decisive victory to convince the North to stop fighting. It is at this point that Cleburne issued a controversial proposal. Due to the depleted nature of the Confederacy's resources and man power, Cleburne called together the leadership of the Army of Tennessee and presented his plan of emancipating slaves and enlisting them into the Confederate army as arms carrying soldiers. Basically, let slaves fight for Southern Independence and give them freedom in return. "Pat Cleburne's Negro Enlistment Proposal" can be found here. Cleburne believed that with this 'high reward' of freedom that the slaves would face the fears of war with their masters leading them on. The proposal met some harsh resistance from certain Confederate Generals. Some would argue that due to this proposal Cleburne never ascended beyond the rank of Major General. Of course, one cannot overlook that he was in fact an Irishman.
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. - William J. Hardee on learning of Cleburne's
Books Worth Reading for Information on Patrick Cleburne:
Stonewall of the West: Patrick Cleburne and the Civil War by Craig L. Symonds
Invisible Hero: Patrick R. Cleburne by Bruce H. Stewart
A Meteor Shining Brightly: Essays on Major General Patrick R. Cleburne by Mauriel Phillips Joslyn
Cleburne and His Command by Irving Buck
 St. Patrick's Day http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick%27s_Day