December 13, 1862 saw the Union Army of the Potomac on the march. President Lincoln, ever impatient for battle and indifferent to the cost sent the army south into Virginia. They were about to find out the cost at Fredericksburg where they repeatedly charged entrenched Confederates. This was the battle where General Lee was overheard to say It is well war is so terrible, else we should grow too fond of it! The fighting was horrific, with men caught up in a primal hand-to-hand combat.
But as the sound of gunfire died away both sides could hear the groaning of the Federal wounded, littering the ground between the lines. That's when the Angel appeared. His name was Richard Kirkland, and he was a Confederate soldier.
He gathered up all the canteens he could carry and went out to tend the wounded and dieing. And something strange happened on that battlefield - men who moments ago were struggling to tear each other's throats out regained their humanity. For two hours Kirkland took water and comfort to the wounded, tending to every fallen man. During those hours both sides held their fire, even though Kirkland had no flag of truce.
All he had was his decency, and that was enough.
Washington D.C. is filled with bronze statues of Union Generals on horseback. You might say that they're a dime a dozen. Common.
Fredericksburg has a bronze statue remembering a most uncommon man.