What is the most unselfish battlefield act of the Civil War?
I would have to say the Confederate soldier at at Fredericksburg who came over the stone wall to give water to the wounded Union soldiers.
Massachusetts 54th charge on Battery Wagner They knew they would not make it
My choice came at the end of a series of battles known as the Appomattox campaign. The Army of Northern Virginia was trapped and totally defeated. Grant could have imposed a harsh surrender. Instead, he offered Lee the most generous terms.
There are many instances of soldiers on both sides holding their fire when individuals went out to succor the wounded, especially if it was recognized that those individuals were demonstrating great courage in doing so.
Among my top are Richard Kirkland (and many others unnamed like him) who succored wounded, also the selfless sacrifice of Paddy O’Rorke on Little Round Top and the Regular Brigade at Stones River.
One of the most compelling, though, is Captain T.A.M. Craven of USS TECUMSEH at the Battle of Mobile Bay. As the ironclad was rolling and sinking after striking a mine, Craven reached the escape ladder at the same time as his pilot. “After you, pilot,” said Craven. The pilot got out, while Craven is at the bottom of Mobile Bay today.
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