Even in the worst of wartime situations soldiers often reveal compassion for the enemy. Such was the case at Fredericksburg for Confederate Sergeant Richard Kirkland. On the morning of December 14 in front of the stone wall at Marye's Heights where thousands of Union troops had been shot, hundreds remaining on the battlefield alive but suffering terribly from their wounds and a lack of water.
Even though the Confederates expected Burnside momentarily to renew the battle, Kirkland voluntarily filled all the canteens he could carry and ventured forth several times, giving the wounded Union soldiers water, warm clothing, and blankets. Soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies cheered Kirkland as he performed his task, earning he who was later killed at Chickamauga the title of “The Angel of Fredericksburg.”