send that day's rations to the suffering poor of the city of Richmond
. Think of it, church-members, who, in these days of plenty, plead poverty as an excuse for giving nothing to the cause of Christ
; here were these poor soldiers (away from home, and many of them cut off from all communication with home), receiving only eleven dollars per month in Confederate currency
, never getting more than half rations, and very frequently not that, voluntarily fasting one day in the week
(poor fellows, they were often compelled to fast) in order to send that day's rations to God's poor in the city, for whose defence they were so freely and so heroically offering and sacrificing their lives.
How easily church edifices could be built, pastors supported, missionaries sustained, colleges endowed, and every good cause pushed forward, if we had in our Churches to-day anything like the spirit of these Christian soldiers.
How often have I seen these brave fellows, after they had won a hardly contested field, despite their almost complete exhaustion, going over the ground to hunt up and care for the wounded of the enemy—binding up their wounds as best they could, carrying them to the field-hospitals, and providing surgical attendance, sharing with them their scant rations, bringing them water, building brush shelters to protect them from the sun, and proving ‘good Samaritans’ indeed to men whom they had so lately met in the shock of battle.
I might give scores of illustrations of this point, but must content myself now with the story of Richard Kirkland, ‘the humane hero of Fredericksburg,’
as it is told by the gallant soldier and able jurist, General J. B. Kershaw
, of South Carolina
(now Judge Kershaw
), who commanded the brigade at the time.
I will only premise that Kirkland
had professed conversion but a short time before, and will give the incident in General Kershaw
's own eloquent words: