“Camden, South Carolina, January 29, 1880.
To the Editor of the News and Courier:
Your Columbia correspondent referred to the incident narrated here, telling the story as 'twas told to him, and inviting corrections. As such a deed should be recorded in the rigid simplicity of actual truth, I take the liberty of send you for publication an accurate account of a transaction ever feature of which is indelibly impressed upon my memory.”
Very truly yours,“J.B. Kershaw.”
“General! I can't stand this.”
“What is the matter sergeant?” asked the general.
He replied: “All night and 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Thank you, sir,”
“General, can I show a white handkerchief ?"
“No, Kirkland, you can't do that.”
“All right,” he said, “I'll take my chances,” and ran down with a bright smile on his handsome countenance.
At the risk of his life this American soldier of sublime compassion brought water to his wounded foes at Fredericksburg. The fighting men on both sides of the line called him “The Angel of Marye's Heights.