The Angel of Marye’s Heights

August 14, 2009
Stonewall and Sunken Road at Marye's Heights

Stonewall and Sunken Road at Marye's Heights

Confederate dead at the Sunken Road
Confederate dead at the Sunken Road
Kirkland stone
Kirkland stone
Kirkland Memorial
Kirkland Memorial

Richard Rowland KirklandAngel of Marye's heights

THE ANGEL OF MARYE’S HEIGHTS—A painting by Mort Kuntsler

 

          Sergeant Richard Rowland Kirkland looked out over the field of battle at Fredericksburg, Virginia, and was appalled by what he saw.    The day before, he and other Southern troops in General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had turned back the Federal Army of the Republic in one of the bloodiest battles of the  War.  Wave after wave of courageous Northern troops had charged up Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg into the deadly massed fire of Confederate forces entrenched behind a fortified stone wall.  The slaughter had been horrendous and left a carpet of blue-uniformed dead and wounded on the frozen slope of Marye’s Heights.

          All night, Kirkland and the other Southern defenders had listened to the heart-rending cries of the Federal wounded.  Finally, Kirkland could stand it no longer.  At daylight on December 14th, the young sergeant in the 2nd Carolina Infantry, requested permission to aid the enemy.  His commanding officer was reluctant.  Kirkland would likely be shot dead by Federal sharpshooters as soon as he showed himself above the wall.  Kirkland was determined however and he was allowed to go—but he could not carry a flag of truce or a weapon.  The youth borrowed an armload of canteens from his fellow soldiers, and climbed over the wall onto the field of dead and wounded.

          While the other Confederates braced themselves for the rifle shot that would fell Kirkland, the young sergeant calmly walked to the closest wounded Northerner.  The opposing Federal troops held fire long enough for Kirkland to kneel down, lift up the wounded man’s head, and give him a drink of water.  A loud cheer rolled down the Federal line.  Silently, the astounded line of Northern troops watched Kirkland move to another wounded man in blue and give him aid.  Both sides held their fire while the courageous sergeant moved from one suffering soldier to another.  Going back and forth over the wall for an hour and a half, Kirkland had done all he could do, and he returned safely to the Confederate line behind the wall.

Sergeant Richard Kirkland distinguished himself in battle at Gettysburg, and was promoted to lieutenant.  At Chickamauga, he fell on the field of battle, in the hour of victory.  As J. William Jones puts it in his book, Christ in the Camps,  “He was but a youth when called away, and had never formed those ties from which might have resulted a posterity to enjoy his fame and bless his country; but he has bequeathed to the American youth–yea to the world–an example which dignifies our common humanity.”

Richard Rowland Kirkland, the Angel of Marye's Heights

Richard Rowland Kirkland, the Angel of Marye's Heights

Brigadier General Lew Armistead, Army of Northern Virginia

June 27, 2011

John Armistead Crone

June 25, 2011

John Armistead Crone

John Crone and his wife Dawn have two daughters,  Carolina  and Sarah.  All are card-carrying members of the NRA.  John is the Field Representative for the National Rifle Association for Indiana.  He was born and raised in Decatur, Alabama and has Confederate ancestors too numerous to mention on both sides of his family.  He went to college at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C. and was on active duty after graduation serving in Desert Storm and Bosnia.   He will be going to Iraq with his reserve unit in 2011.  His great-great grandfather is General Lew Armistead, who was killed at Gettysburg, leading a valiant charge against the Union forces with his hat held high on his sword, telling them, “Steady boys, steady.”

A Final Tribute

June 23, 2010

John Bush was honored with the placing of the Iron Cross on his grave on June 19, 2010.  It was placed there by the Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest Chapter of the UDC and the Boone County Genealogical Society.

Iron Cross

June 23, 2010

Jason Winters represented John Bush in the Iron Cross ceremony

Iron Cross

June 23, 2010

The UDC scattered dirt from Mt. Sterling, KY  over the grave of John Bush so that he could finally rest under the soil of his native state.

John Bush

June 23, 2010

John Bush Forage Master

June 22, 2010

John Bush

Forage Master John Bush 10th KY Cavalry

John Bush felt the call to fight for the Confederate States of America and so joined the 10th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment as Forage Master.  He was with his regiment and Brig Gen. John Hunt  Morgan,  at Cynthiana, KY, June 11-13th 1864.  The Confederates first surrounded the town held by Union forces, and drove Col. Conrad Garis and the 168th Ohio Inf. back north.  As the fighting flared in Cynthiana  the 171st Ohio National Guard, commanded by Brig. Gen. Edward Hobson arrived by train, but Morgan and the his forces forced them to surrender.  On June 12th and 13th, additional Union forces under Brig. Gen. Stephen Burbridge attacked Morgan, and the Confederates fled into Mt. Sterling, KY.  There 400 of them were captured and many others killed.  Gen. Morgan escaped, but FM John Bush did not.  He and the other prisoners, were placed on a train headed for Camp Douglas Prison in Chicago.  On July 17th, 1864, the prison-bound train stopped at Thorntown, IN to take on water and FM John Bush attempted to escape.  He was shot and killed with a single shot, and left by the tracks as the train moved onward.  He was buried in an unmarked grave.  No doubt he never heard of the small mid-western town he was killed and buried in.  After the war, a Union soldier, James Ball, a member of Co. D, of the 72nd Indiana Inf., moved to Thorntown.  When he heard the story of John Bush, he bought a military stone out of his own meager earnings and had it engraved and placed on the grave of John Bush.

Stonewall Jackson Camp #1

April 24, 2010

Stonewall Jackson Camp #1, Ladoga

            In the mid-1890’s, a group of Montgomery County men, all former Confederate soldiers, decided to form a camp of the United Confederate Veterans.  The United Confederate Veterans was formed after the Civil War in the South.  This veteran’s organization was made up of former Confederate soldiers and sailors.

            It was decided that the newly organized camp should be in Ladoga, Indiana, due partly to the large number of former Confederates in the area and a friendly atmosphere toward the south.  The original charter had 11 members.  The names were Jonas T. Gish, William P. Camden, John Mangus, Thomas Terry, Isaac Sperry, William Luster, Madison Linkenhoker, Thomas Luster, Jacob Wingert, William Ashwell, and Lewellyn Coppage.  William Camden was elected Camp Commander and Jacob Wingert was the chaplain.  The camp was named the Stonewall Jackson Camp #1, in honor of General Stonewall Jackson.  This camp was the only United Confederate Veteran’s camp in Indiana, and one of the very few north of the Mason-Dixon Line.  During the next ten years, several more members were added.  They were David Kennedy, Braxton Cash, William, “Billy” Mitchell, William Zimmerman, Alex Sheets, and Joseph Moody.

            Stonewall Jackson Camp #1 was in existence until about 1920.  The last member was William “Billy” Mitchell, who died in 1930.

The Drummer Boy of Shiloh

October 23, 2009

 

THE DRUMMER BOY OF SHILOH

By William Hodges

 

On Shiloh’s dark and bloody ground, the dead and wounded lay; Amongst them was a drummer boy, who beat the drum that day. A wounded soldier held him up, his drum was by his side, He clasped his hands, then raised his eyes,  and prayed before he died.“Oh Mother” said the dying boy, “Look down from heaven on me; Receive me to thy fond embrace. Oh take me home to thee.  I’ve loved my country and my God.  To serve them both I’ve tried.”  He smiled, shook hands.  Death seized the boy, Who prayed before he died.  Each soldier wept then like a child,  Stout hearts were they and brave;  The flag his winding sheet, God’s Book  The key into his grave.  They wrote upon a single board,  These words: “This is a guide  To those who mourn the drummer boy,  Who prayed before he died.”  Ye angels ‘round the throne of grace,  Look down upon the braves  Who fought and died on Shiloh’s plain,  Now slumbering in their graves. How many homes made desolate,  How many hearts have sighed, How many like the drummer boy, Who prayed before he died.

Drummer Boy by Nast

Drummer Boy by Nast

The snowball fight

October 23, 2009
Snowball fight at Fredericksburg

Snowball fight at Fredericksburg

 

Regiments of Confederate soldiers relieve the tedium of their winter bivouac near Fredericksburg with a huge snowball fight that ultimately involved 9,000 officers and men.  The good-humored battle was touched off on January 29, 1863, by spirited Texas and Georgia troops, many of whom had never seen snow before.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.