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Richard Kirkland ceremony to be held Sunday afternoon

Posted: December 10, 2010 8:50 a.m.
Updated: December 10, 2010 5:00 a.m.

The Joseph B. Kershaw Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and the John D. Kennedy Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), will conduct a ceremony this weekend in Camden honoring Sergeant Richard R. Kirkland, Co. E, 2nd SC Infantry, a Confederate soldier, who is also known as the “Angel of Marye’s Heights.”

The ceremony will be at 12:30 p.m., Sunday at the Kirkland Fountain in Hampton Park, corner of DeKalb and Lyttleton streets.

Richard Kirkland, a Kershaw County native, will be remembered for the heroic deeds he performed during the Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., during the War Between the States, in December of 1862.

At the Battle of Fredericksburg, Kirkland was so moved by the overnight cries of the wounded and dying Union soldiers, he single-handedly administered water and comfort to them without concern for his own safety. His heroic deeds have been recorded in journals, books and folklore. Capt. Zach Lietner of Camden and Richard Kirkland’s Company Commander, at the time, wrote a speech about Kirkland for the Survivor’s Association in Columbia, S.C., in 1888. Sadly Capt. Lietner died a week before he was to deliver the speech and it was never given. In this document Capt. Lietner wrote in part:

“The cries for water by the wounded Federals who were laying midway between the two armies were heart rendering in the extreme. The brave but merciful Spirit of the Lion-hearted Kirkland, moved with a compassion as tender and sympathetic as that of a mother for her swaddling babe, could endure their cries no longer, and lashing around himself several canteens of water, he leaped the famous wall, which the day before had been wreathed in the smoke and fire of battle and amid a pitiless storm of shot, darted onward to where lay the wounded and famishing Federal soldiers. Nor did the Federals cease firing until they observed by his ministrations of mercy, that his errand was of good will.”

Richard Kirkland was later killed Sept. 19, 1863, during the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, and is buried in Camden’s famous Quaker Cemetery.

Guest Speaker for the ceremony will be Mr. Steve Kelly of Kershaw County.

The public is invited to the ceremony Sunday. Commander Boykin of the SCV states: “I hope many of our good citizens will be in attendance at this ceremony so we can perpetuate the memory of Richard Kirkland and his spontaneous affirmation of the brotherhood of man.”

For further information please call: Commander Gregg Boykin, SCV, at 438-0371 or Joseph A. Matheson, Jr. at 432-2222.

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