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"The Angel of Marye's Heights" movie will be unveiled this Saturday at the downtown Fredericksburg library
Mercy me: A scene from the film depicts Confederate Richard Kirkland helping relieve the suffering of wounded Yankee troops. The film will debut in Fredericksburg on Saturday.
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"I think it's impossible to know whether Kirkland engaged in this specific act at Fredericksburg. No doubt these kinds of things happened throughout the war, and it probably happened in Fredericksburg," Levin said.
More interesting, he said, is "this is a reflection of the way a lot of Americans love to see the Civil War. We sort of celebrate our Civil War."
He said some see the war as an example of our "best character" emerging in the most difficult of times.
"I find it kind of troubling," Levin said. "I think what it does is distract Americans from the brutality of the war."
Aubrecht responded: "All I can say at this point is that every historian involved with this project, both in front of and behind the camera, to include the Fredericksburg National Park Service who are the custodians of Kirkland's memory, have found no evidence that disproves this story.
"Is there some speculation in the minor details? Of course there is, but we believe this story to be true. That said, it does read like a Hollywood script, so I understand the skepticism among some people."
Ross, the director, has his own take.
"I spent time at the Fredericksburg National Park Service researching the event, and discovered several legitimate facts and names surrounding Kirkland.
"As I dove deeper into the story, I was lead to names and organizations such as The Daughters of Confederacy--The Kershaw Chapter, Mac Wycoff, Donald Pfanz, Michael Aubrecht These guys had done their research and committed years to the subject of Kirkland and the Civil War.
"This film is not as much about proving the validity of the story as much as it is, well, simply telling the story," Ross said.
Following Saturday's opening, the film will be shown as a permanent part of the exhibit at the Civil War Life Museum downtown.
Aubrecht said The National Civil War Life Foundation, which sponsored the film, plans to use it as the centerpiece of a Richard Kirkland seminar in the future.
Michael Zitz: 540/846-5163
What: "The Angel of Marye's Heights: A Short Film of Courage and Compassion at the Battle of Fredericksburg." When: Open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 24. Doors open at 6 p.m.; film starts at 6:30 p.m. No one will be admitted during the 30-minute screening. Program includes remarks from the filmmakers, museum exhibits, preservationist booths, music, slide show, re-enactors and more. Where: Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 1201 Caroline St., Fredericksburg. Hosted by the nonprofit National Civil War Life Foundation. Cost: Admission, refreshments and exhibits are free. Suggested donation of $5 to go toward the film's anticipated DVD production costs. Info: theangelmovie.com; civilwarlife.org