“I’ll Take the Chances”

Angel of Maryre’s Heights Monument, Fredericksburg NMP, VA — Photo by Chris E. Heisey

Arguably one the most iconic Civil War battlefield monuments is the dramatic sculpture depicting 2nd South Carolina Sgt. Richard Kirkland bravely aiding thirsty wounded soldiers on the frozen slopes in front of Brompton Manor on December 14, 1862, after the Battle of Fredericksburg. When told by his commanding officer, General Joseph Kershaw that there was little chance of surviving the hail of sniper’s bullets surely to be aimed at him, he calmly said, “All right, Sir, I’ll take the chances.” Kirkland survived only to be killed in action at Chickamauga, Georgia, 10 months later. Lying mortally wounded on Snodgrass Hill, he told his brothers in arms, “Please tell my Pa, I died right.”

The monument was dedicated in September 1965 during the nation’s Civil War centennial commemorations. The artist who sculpted the striking scene was Felix DeWeldon, who was commissioned by the State of South Carolina, the Commonwealth of Virginia and Kirkland’s descendants memorial fund.

4 Responses to “I’ll Take the Chances”

  1. A beautiful monument portraying the courage and kindness of a true Confederate hero ! I hope it will remain safe amid the vile, politically correct purging that has taken over our country.

  2. One of my personal favorite stories, and not because it depicts war, but rather because it shows a moment of humanity in the midst of terrible carnage.

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