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 Susan Tarleton Cole

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Susan Tarleton Cole

  • Birth 6 Jan 1840 Talladega County, Alabama, USA
  • Death 30 Jun 1868
  • Burial Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, USA
  • Plot Square 9
  • Memorial ID 10516356

Civil War notable. Major General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne was serving as "Best Man" and she the "Maid of Honor" at the wedding ceremony of General William Hardee when the two first met. Throughout the wedding and the following celebrations, General Cleburne became "instantly and hopelessly smitten" with her. He gained permission to "call upon her" the next day, and the two traveled (along with the rest of the wedding party) to her hometown of Mobile Alabama. They became inseparable during the continuing celebration of General and Mrs. Hardee's new marriage. Upon arrival, Mobile officials organized a military review to honor Cleburne. She was in attendance, and was beyond doubt impressed with her new beau and the "guest of honor" of Mobile, as he rode by in his finest uniform. His two-week furlough was soon up and he would need to report back to his command. He asked her to marry him before his departure and received neither no or yes from her. Instead, she advised that they should write each other. Cleburne agreed to this arrangement and would later confess to a friend that he "fell in love with Miss Sue on first sight", and that he was determined to marry her. As promised, the two began a long distance romance by faithfully writing letters to each other. Cleburne soon came to the conclusion that she truly was the one for him, and "after 3 years without taking leave, he was soon taking his second within 6 weeks" to return to Mobile, and again seek her hand in marriage. An officer on General Cleburne's staff found his new romance amusing by remarking that the General "has scarcely been back a month" and that his second departure was " very suggestive" to "another wedding soon". Robert Tarleton, Susan's brother, reported that Cleburne's had arrived in Mobile, and that he was "pressing his suit with complete success". Cleburne soon got the answer he sought, and would later express his joy; "After keeping me in cruel suspense for six weeks, she has at length consented to be mine and we are engaged." He left Mobile and his soon to be bride the day after. Although the two would continue to write, they would never see each other again. On November 30, 1864, at the Battle of Franklin, General Cleburne had his horse shot from under him, and before he could get both feet in the stirrups of another horse, it too was dropped from enemy fire. Undaunted, he continued the charge on foot. With his sword pointed toward the enemy breastworks and with his kepi raised above his head, he disappeared in the smoke. A minnie ball entered his chest soon thereafter, killing him instantly. It is said that Susan Tarelton learned the death of her fiancé five days later. She was tinkering in her garden when a small boy hawking the day's newspaper advertised "Read all about it, Big battle near Franklin, Tennessee! General Cleburne killed! Read all about it!"

Susan eventually accepted the marriage proposal of Hugh Laign Cole, a former Confederate officer of the 2nd North Carolina Infantry and staff officer to Generals G.B. Anderson and Braxton Bragg. Married in 1867, the couple was awaiting the birth of their first child when Susan died from the effects of a cerebral hemorrhage on June 30, 1868.


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  • Created by: Stonewall
  • Added: 23 Feb 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10516356
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Susan Tarleton Cole (6 Jan 1840–30 Jun 1868), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10516356, citing Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, USA ; Maintained by Stonewall (contributor 46536634) .