There is a great article in the June/July issue of the UDC magazine about a young soldier,Richard Kirkland, whose heroism was “so profound that it was often repeated in the years after the war”.
He was a twenty year old farm boy from South Carolina when he aided the enemy lying on the battlefield at Fredericksburg, as they cried out for water. He could not stand to hear their cries and was granted permission to go onto the field with his canteen (but not allowed to show a white flag).
For ninety minutes Confederate and union soldiers alike watched as he moved from soldier to soldier, giving them sips of water, until all the wounded in the area had received a drink.
It reminds me of the story of the woman at the well, in the gospel of John, chapter 4 when she asks Jesus for a drink. Christ tells her that if she knew who He was she would have “living water that would become in her a spring of water, welling up to eternal life”.
Sadly, Richard Kirkland died a few months later in the fighting at Chickamauga. His last words were “tell my pa I died right”. A bronze sculpture was erected on the battlefield at Fredericksburg, in 1965. It beautifully depicts Richard lifting the head of his enemy so he can give him a drink from a canteen..