A Confederate History Minute (10)
by Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
The Story of Richard R. Kirkland
Richard R. Kirkland was the fifth son of John and Mary Vaughn Kirkland. He was born near Flat Rock, Kershaw District, South Carolina in August 1843. His parents were worthy people whose patriotic roots went back to the Revolutionary War. It is written that the Kirkland’s sent four sons to fight for South Carolina during the War Between the States.
In early 1861, when it was clear that war would come to the South, Richard R. Kirkland joined the Camden Volunteers in South, Carolina. Kirkland would gain the rank of Sergeant in Compnay G, 2nd South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, Kershaw’s Brigade, McLaw’s Division, Longstreet’s Corps, Army of Northern Virginia CSA.
From First Manassas to Chickamauga, Kirkland fought in every battle his command was engaged in. He was wounded and sometimes ill but he was always ready to get back into the fight.
Kirkland distinguished himself at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia. A friend from his childhood would relate a incident that proved him to be a great man. Many Union soldiers were killed in front of Marye’s Heights. It is written that the plain was covered with the enemy’s dead and wounded. The weather was very cold and the dying Union troops were crying out for water.
Confederate Kirkland was given permission to give the Union soldiers water. Kirkland collected all the canteens he could and crawled to a well nearby to fill them for the dying soldiers. He did this under fire including that of sharpshooters. He also tried to make the Union soldiers more comfortable. When Union troops saw what he was attempting they ceased firing in admiration and appreciation of his kind deed. This great deed would not be forgotten in the North and recently was wriiten about in a Northern newspaper.
Richard R. Kirland weathered many a battle, including Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, but was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia.
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