From: Mansfield, OH
On December 13, 1862, Kirkland's unit had formed at the stone wall at the base of "Marye's Heights"
near Fredericksburg, Virginia. In the action that followed, he and his unit inflicted heavy casualties on the Union
attackers. On the night of December 13, walking wounded made their way to the field hospital while those who were
disabled were forced to remain on the battlefield. The morning of December 14 revealed that over 8,000 Union
soldiers had been shot in front of the stone wall at Marye's Heights.
Many of those remaining on the battlefield were still alive, but suffering terribly from their wounds
and a lack of water.
Soldiers from both sides were forced to listen to the painful cries of the wounded for hours,
with neither side daring to venture out for fear of being shot by the enemy. At some point during the day,
Kirkland allegedly approached Confederate Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw, also from South Carolina,
and informed him that he wished to help the wounded Union soldiers. By Kershaw's own account, at first he denied
the request, but later he relented. However, when Kirkland asked if he could show a white handkerchief,
General Kershaw stated he could not do that. Kirkland responded "All right, sir, I'll take my chances."
Kirkland gathered all the canteens he could carry, filled them with water, then ventured out onto the battlefield.
He ventured back and forth several times, giving the wounded Union soldiers water, warm clothing, and blankets.
Soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies watched as he performed his task, but no one fired a shot.
General Kershaw later stated that he observed Kirkland for more than an hour and a half.
At first, it was thought that the Union would open fire, which would result in the Confederacy returning fire,
resulting in Kirkland being caught in a crossfire. However, within a very short time, it became obvious to both
sides as to what Kirkland was doing, and according to Kershaw cries for water erupted all over the battlefield
from wounded soldiers. Kirkland did not stop until he had helped every wounded soldier
on the Confederate end of the battlefield.
fuselex- fact ? , who knows? .
but I`d rather teach my kids that than how to use a smart phone :)
Thanks for sharing this fuselex!
Blitz call sign Big Ivan.