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Richard Kirkland was the son of John Kirkland, an estimable citizen of Kershaw county, a plain, substantial farmer of the olden time. In 1861 he entered, as a private, Captain J. D. Kennedy's Company (E) of the Second South Carolina Volunteers, in which company he was a sergeant in December, 1862.

The day after the sanguinary battle of Fredericksburg, Kershaw's Brigade occupied the road at the foot of Marye's hill and. the ground about Marye's house, the scene of their desperate defence of the day before. One hundred and fifty yards in front of the road, the stone-facing of which constituted the famous stone wall, lay Syke's Division of Regulars, United States Army, between whom and our troops a murderous skirmish occupied the whole day, fatal to many who heedlessly exposed themselves, even for a moment. The ground between the lines was bridged with the wounded, dead, and dying Federals, victims of the many desperate and gallant assaults of that column of 30,000 brave men hurled vainly against that impregnable position.

All that day those wounded men rent the air with their groans and their agonizing cries of “Water! Water!” In the afternoon the general sat in the north room, up-stairs, of Mrs. Stevens's house, in front of the road, surveying the field, when Kirkland came up. With an expression of indignant remonstrance pervading his person, his manner, and the tone of his voice, he said: “ General! I can't stand this.”

“What is the matter, sergeant?” asked the general.

He replied: “All night and all day I have heard those poor people crying for water, and I can stand it no longer. I come to ask permission to go and give them water.”

The general regarded him for a moment with feelings of profound admiration, and said: “Kirkland, don't you know that you would get a bullet through your head the moment you stepped over the wall?”

“Yes, sir,” he said, “I know that; but if you will let me, I am willing to try it.”

After a pause the general said: “Kirkland, I ought not to allow you to run such a risk, but the sentiment which actuates you is so noble that I will not refuse your request, trusting that God may protect you. You may go.”

The sergeant's eye lighted up with pleasure. He said, “Thank you, sir,” and ran rapidly down-stairs. The general heard him pause for a moment, and then return, bounding two


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