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KCHS hosts ‘Richard Kirkland: An Angel or a Hoax?’

Posted: November 1, 2011 2:51 p.m.
Updated: November 2, 2011 5:00 a.m.

“Richard Kirkland: An Angel or a Hoax?” is the provocative title of historian Mac Wycoff’s lecture for the Society program at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Camden High School Auditorium, Ehrenclou Drive, Camden.

Members and guests will find interest in updated interpretations of the deed of benevolence attributed to the Kershaw County Confederate sergeant who carried water to wounded enemy soldiers under fire during the Battle of Fredericksburg, Va. A new documentary film dramatizing those events, “The Angel of Marye’s Heights,” will be on the program prior to the lecture.

Wycoff explains, “In recent years there have been an increasing number of people on Internet websites, message boards, chat rooms, and other social media who assert that the Kirkland story is a hoax, that he did nothing special at Fredericksburg.”

However, according to Kirkland, his 25 years of research reveals that he did do something special. “I will discuss what is known and what is unknown about Kirkland and what he did at Fredericksburg. I will also discuss how I came to the conclusion that Kirkland did do something special,” he said

Wycoff graduated from Linfield College in McMinnnville, Ore., with a degree in history. He worked as a historian with the National Park Service for 30 years, including such places as Fort Sumter National Historic Monument, Shiloh National Military Park, Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, and Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.

“I have researched Kershaw’s Brigade for 25 years and have written books on the 2nd South Carolina and the 3rd South Carolina of Kershaw’s Brigade,” explains Wycoff. The first editions appeared in 1994 and 1995, with the much expanded editions published in 2008 and 2011.

“I have also published essays on Kershaw’s Brigade at Gettysburg and Kershaw’s Brigade at Savage Station,” he adds.  “I wrote the introduction to the Broadfoot edition of “A History of Kershaw’s Brigade” by D.A. Dickert.”

Wycoff has led many battlefield tours of Kershaw’s Brigade and has widely lectured on the men of Kershaw’s Brigade. In addition he was the founder of the yearly Symposium on the Civil War in South Carolina. The first one was held in Camden and is now held annually at the State Archives in Columbia. Wycoff, now retired, lives in Eugene, Ore.

The Richard Kirkland monument is located at Hampton Park in Camden.

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