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Civil War hero to be honored Saturday

150th memorial service for 'Angel of Marye's Heights'

Posted: December 11, 2012 8:18 p.m.
Updated: December 12, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Dec. 14, 1862: a “humane and compassionate man” showed kindness to a wounded and dying Union soldier during the battle of Fredericksburg, Va.

That man, Sgt. Richard  Rowland Kirkland, CO E, 2nd South Carolina Infantry, Kershaw’s Brigade, will be honored on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Camden’s Hampton Park in a 150th anniversary memorial service.

Lt. Gov. Glen McConnell is the distinguished guest speaker for the event. Confederate re-enactors, a professional bagpiper and the 7th S.C. Brigade Honor Guard will be in attendance along with Mary Armstrong, president the S.C. Daughters of the Confederacy, and past State Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Randy Burbage.

“I was Thirsty,” a Kirkland painting by Nathan Greene, shown above, will be on display Saturday.

Another Kirkland display can be seen in the Camden branch of the Kershaw County Library through Jan. 1. A 30-minute documentary, “The Angel of Marye’s Heights,” is available for viewing, free of charge, to any interested historical, military, church and civic groups.

Kirkland was dubbed the Angel of Marye’s Heights after he gathered canteens and vaulted a wall on Sunken Road during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Amazed by Kirkland’s effort to comfort the wounded, Federals withheld their fire in tribute to Kirkland.

“In the midst of strife, one man, at least, had acknowledged the bounds of humanity,” a press release said about the man behind the historical event.

Kirkland served at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He was fatally wounded in September of 1963 at Chickamauga while serving as lieutenant. He is buried near the grave of General Kershaw in Camden.

At Fredericksburg, Va., beside the stonewall, is a Kirkland monument that portrays Kirkland’s “spontaneous affirmation of the brotherhood of man.”

The Richard Rowland Kirkland 150th memorial service is presented by the John D. Kennedy Chapter No. 308, United Daughters of the Confederacy and The Joseph B. Kershaw Camp No., 82, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

For more information on the service, call Gayle Breon at 432-1368 or Joseph Matheson Jr. at 432-2222.


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