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Harrisburg in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Moment of Mercy

 
 
Moment of Mercy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 22, 2008
1. Moment of Mercy Marker
Inscription. By Sculptor Terry Jones

The Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, in December of 1862, was one of the bloodier engagements of the American Civil War. On December 13th, Federal troops made repeated assaults against Confederate positions behind the stone walls along the Sunken Road at Marye’s Heights. In five hours an estimated 6,300 Union soldiers lay dead or wounded on the battlefield. As darkness approached, a light snow fell and the temperatures dropped to near zero. All through the frigid gloom, injured men cried in agony” “Help,” “Water,” “Somebody, please help.” For one Union Commander that night was forever etched in his memory. “My ears were filled with the cries and groans of the wounded, and the ghastly faces of the dead almost made a wall around me.”

By the afternoon of December 14th, Sergeant Richard R. Kirkland of the 2nd South Carolina Infantry could no longer bear those mournful cries. Shortly after mid-day, Kirkland secured permission from his commander to take water to those in need. Filling as many canteens as he could carry, Kirkland hurtled the stone wall and ran to the aid of wounded Union soldiers. Shots rang out from the Federal lines. Only when the purpose of the Confederate’s errand became readily apparent, did the Union commander shout down the
Marker in Reservoir Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 22, 2008
2. Marker in Reservoir Park
This statue depicts Confederate Sergeant Richard R. Kirkland giving water to a wounded Union soldier on December 14, 1862, during the Battle of Fredericksburg. This act led to Kirkland being called "The Angel of Marye's Heights."
line: “Don’t shoot that man, he’s too brave to die.” Then, for ninety minutes the battlefield was quiet.

Both sides observed a solemn truce as the nineteen-year-old sergeant turned Good Samaritan tenderly ministered to enemy wounded soldiers in what was most assuredly a “moment of mercy.”

Soldiers in blue and soldiers in gray repeated this incident many times throughout the Civil War. This Moment of Mercy sculpture pays homage to them and the uniquely American spirit of aiding those in need.

Sponsored by The John Crain Kunkel Foundation.

2001
 
Erected 2001 by The National Civil War Museum.
 
Location. 40° 16.315′ N, 76° 51.36′ W. Marker is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in Dauphin County. Marker can be reached from Lincoln Circle. Click for map. Marker is in Reservoir Park, in front of the National Civil War Museum. Marker is in this post office area: Harrisburg PA 17104, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bishop McDevitt High School (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Reservoir Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); Harrisburg (approx. ¼ mile away); Bellevue Park
Moment of Mercy - Sculpture Detail image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, September 22, 2015
3. Moment of Mercy - Sculpture Detail
(approx. 0.3 miles away); Breeze Hill (approx. 0.3 miles away); State Arsenal (approx. 0.7 miles away); Lincoln Cemetery (approx. 0.8 miles away); Harrisburg Cemetery (approx. 0.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Harrisburg.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. The Kirkland Monument, in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
 
Also see . . .
1. The National Civil War Museum. (Submitted on April 22, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
2. Richard Rowland Kirkland. eHistory archive. (Submitted on April 22, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
The National Civil War Museum image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 22, 2008
4. The National Civil War Museum
The Moment of Mercy Marker is seen here in front of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg's Reservoir Park.
Kirkland Monument image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 9, 2007
5. Kirkland Monument
The Moment of Mercy statue is based on this one located on the Sunken Road in Virginia's Fredericksburg National Battlefield.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,329 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3. submitted on , by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.   4, 5. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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