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1LT Richard Rowland Kirkland

1LT Richard Rowland Kirkland

Birth
Flat Rock, Kershaw County, South Carolina, USA
Death 20 Sep 1863 (aged 20)
Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia, USA
Burial Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg City, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 3780 · View Source
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Civil War Confederate Army Officer. After a frontal charge on December 13, 1862 at Fredericksburg, Virginia, thousands of men from the armed forces of Union General Ambrose Everett Burnside’s Army of the Potomac lay dead and dying on the ice-covered slope of Marye’s Heights. The pleas for water from the wounded men echoed for all to perceive. However, no one from either side dared to render aid for fear of them becoming a target as Union and Confederate marksmen were willing and able to fell anyone who entered this killing ground. To the conscious ears of Richard Rowland Kirkland, a Confederate soldier of the Second South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, the cries of the battle casualties became unbearable. He sought and gained the hesitant permission of his superior, Joseph Brevard Kershaw, to leave his position with the optimism of rendering aid to the battle sufferers. After gathering canteens, Kirkland leaped over the wall and entered this “no mans land”. At the outset, the federal frontline took shots at him but quickly ceased fire when it became evident what his purposes were. Zigzagging between the wounded and dying, Kirkland gave water to the thirsty, care to the wounded and provided warmth for the cold. Accounts have the wounded federal infantrymen raising their arms to attract his notice. For ninety minutes, he continued this meandering of aid to the enemy and when he returned to his station, the two opposing armies unleashed a shout of approval to show their respect and admiration for his compassion. His humanitarian deeds earned him the title “The Angel of Marye’s Heights”. Kirkland survived the battle of Fredericksburg and would come through the violent fighting at the Peach Orchard and the Wheatfield during the Pennsylvania battle of Gettysburg yet would not survive the war. At the forefront of the advancing Confederates, he was charging up Snodgrass Hill during the battle of Chickamauga on September 20, 1863 when a rifle ball pierced his chest. Brushing away aid, he knew the wound was mortal, “No, I am done for. You can do me no good. Save yourselves and tell Pa good-bye and I died right. I did my duty. I died at my post.”

Bio by: Stonewall


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 2 Nov 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3780
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 1LT Richard Rowland Kirkland (20 Aug 1843–20 Sep 1863), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3780, citing Fredericksburg National Cemetery, Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg City, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .