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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Moment of Mercy Monument and Historical Marker

The Civil War was a pivotal point in our country's history and one of the best places to learn more about it is at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The museum contains 2 floors of Civil War artifacts and exhibits, and is a must-see for anyone who wants to learn more about our country's history.

Reservoir Park is home to the museum and right out front of the museum you'll find this beautiful monument by sculptor Terry Jones. If you would like to learn more about our visit to the National Civil War Museum, you can find that feature right here on our travel blog. The purpose of our post today is to highlight this beautiful monument and the information surrounding it. On the historical marker in front of it you'll find the following information.
Moment of Mercy Monument and Historical Marker in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

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 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
Moment of Mercy Monument and Historical Marker in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

By: 2001 by The National Civil War Museum.

You'll find this beautiful monument and historical marker located in front of the National Civil War Museum located in Reservoir Park in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. You can reach the entrance to the museum and the parking lot from Lincoln Circle. Visiting Reservoir Park and the monument is FREE, however, they do charge you an admission fee if you enter the museum.

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