When examining our film at face-value one might assume that we focused entirely on the Confederate perspective. This is understandable as the story revolves around a member of the 2nd South Carolina Volunteer Infantry. However, that would be an incorrect assumption as there is a distinct balance in our script. At a personal level, as I re-examine this story through the eyes of our audiences, I am beginning to see an entirely new perception emerge. To be frank, it is one that I have never really spent that much time focusing on, the point of view of the fallen Federals or the ‘victims’ so to speak.
What brought about this realization? One of our 2011 bookings will be at the Carnegie Library Music Hall in Pittsburgh, PA. In addition to having an outstanding theater and Civil War museum on site, the Carnegie is also based in my hometown. On April 30th, they are hosting a Civil War program featuring exhibits, speakers, a re-enactment and The Angel of Marye’s Heights. In preparation for the talk that I intend to give following the film, I went looking for a local tie-in with our story. This brought me to the 123rd PA Regiment Volunteers who were mustered out of Allegheny County. Below is an excerpt from an account of their experience at the Battle of Fredericksburg:
“On the following day the battle opened, and at three P. M., after the corps of Hancock and French had been checked and terribly slaughtered, Humphreys' Division was ordered in. It was a forlorn hope, but gallantly it went forward, and charged again and again those impregnable heights. What brave men dare do, they did; but it was all in vain. No human power could stand against the storm that swept that fatal ground. The One Hundred and Twenty-third occupied a position in the line, with its right reaching nearly to the pike, and bore manfully its part in the battle, suffering grievously. Lieutenant James R. Coulter was among the killed, and Captain Daniel Boisol and Lieutenant George Dilworth among the mortally wounded. The entire loss was twenty-one killed, and one hundred and thirty-one wounded. All night long it lay in position and through the weary hours of the following day, exposed to a constant fire of the enemy's pickets, and until nine at night, when it was ordered to retire”.
Source: Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion Compiled and Arranged from Official Records of the Federal and Confederate Armies, Reports of he Adjutant Generals of the Several States, the Army Registers, and Other Reliable Documents and Sources. Des Moines, Iowa: The Dyer Publishing Company, 1908 (via pa-roots.com).
So instead of giving my normal talk focusing specifically on Kirkland’s “side,” I intend to speak more to the courage and tenacity of the 123rd PA Vols. and the high-command’s ignorance that doomed them. By paying homage to Kirkland’s act of compassion with this film, we are also recognizing the sacrifice of the men that he tended to. Remember that there are two soldiers on the Felix DeWeldon monument. One is in blue.
"Your film was extremely well done from the writing to the cinematography and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. When and where can I buy this?" – Thomas Knidley, Fredericksburg, VA
Now that the film is completed, our next goal is to make it available for purchase by you the viewer. It is our sincere hope that this story will be used for both education and entertainment purposes by any audience that would benefit from sharing it. This DVD will include:
28-minute documentary film “The Angel of Marye’s Heights”
4-minute dramatic version of “The Mercy Scene”
3 premiere videos: presentations, interviews, and reactions
Behind-the-scenes slideshow w/ 80 photos and storyboards
Young Richard Warren’s first-person “Kirkland Monologue”
A “Living History” discussion with Kathleen Warren
Will White’s “Fredericksburg 1862” title song music video
PDF of historian Michael Aubrecht’s “Great Lives that Touched Fredericksburg: Richard Kirkland”
Scans of actual Richard Kirkland letters
Cast and crew blooper and outtakes
2+ hours of material
In order to distribute this DVD, we need to raise the necessary funds to cover production and legal costs. This is not an exuberant amount of money by any means and we believe that we will be able to reach our goal through donations. If you are interested in making a modest contribution, please visit our PayPal account.
We will also have a donation box at our traveling display. See our screening schedule for upcoming shows. Our hope is to release the DVD in December near the Anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg. Thank you for your continued support!
For immediate release (8/10/10): It is with great pride that Executive Producers Clint Ross and Michael Aubrecht announce the official forming of Right Stripe Media LLC. Following the success of their documentary “The Angel of Marye’s Heights,” both principles have pledged to create films that bring unique stories to life in a manner that resonates with the audience. Historical themes and stories that examine the nature of man will be of particular interest. Right Stripe is currently in talks to produce a highly original look at a familiar wild west legend. For more information on this new production company, visit their webpage at http://www.pinstripepress.net/RSM.html.
We would like to thank our friends and fellow filmmakers Tom Van Winkle and Scott Eyestone of Heritage Media LLC for shooting, editing, and generously donating the following videos that were shot at our documentary's premiere on July 24th, 2010. In addition to producing the outstanding local television show "History Scene," Heritage Media LLC is also the studio behind Civil War: Fredericksburg Then and Now, a critically acclaimed DVD that presents the town's experiences during the War Between the States and how to best enjoy the sites that commemorate them. Right Stripe Media LLC looks forward to working with Heritage Media LLC to explore and promote our mutual interests.
It’s one thing to have your mother tell you that she loved your movie. It’s completely another to have experts in the field do the same. Following our premiere we petitioned some of the audience members who work in the field of historical study and preservation to give us an honest critique. We are beginning to receive their comments via email. We thank them all for their thoughts and consideration.
"This film was a poignant, inspiring portrayal of an unassuming hero. It made a touching Civil War story leap from the pages of history and come alive." – Jane Conner, historian and author of Birthstone of the White House and Capitol and Sinners, Saints, & Soldiers in Civil War Stafford.
"A great Civil War story brilliantly crafted. The use of animation augmenting the experts was superb." – Scott Eyestone, Director/Editor, Civil War Fredericksburg: Then & Now DVD
"A fine debut from filmmakers Clint Ross and Michael Aubrecht telling the remarkable story of American hero Richard Kirkland, with his touching act of humanity at Fredericksburg in an otherwise brutal war." – Scott C. Boyd, Civil War News
"The Angel of Marye’s Heights demonstrates the selfless civil acts that individual soldiers made in a vastly uncivil war. The film was superbly done and conveys the truly personal side of those who gave all for what they believed." – Tom Van Winkle, Director of Communications, Central VA Battlefields Trust
"The Angel of Marye’s Heights is as timeless as it is timely. As Americans get set to commemorate our country’s Civil War sesquicentennial, the film and the story it tells are a moving reminder of — and a fitting tribute to — the men behind the monuments." – Mark Coombs, Civil War Preservation Trust
"The Angel of Marye's Heights was a brilliantly produced documentary film about Richard Kirkland's selfless heroism in the eye of the storm. Michael Aubrecht and Clint Ross left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of patrons who attended the premiere. This story is one that needs to be shared across the country." - Chris Williams, freelance writer and critic