This coming Sunday’s Super Bowl match up features teams representing two states that were loyal to the Union in the late unpleasantness. However, one team’s offense is led by prolific passer and son of the south Peyton Manning. I for one am glad to see the Colts in the championship. I’m a lifelong Steelers fan (Colts head coach Tony Dungy once caught and threw an interception in the same game when he played for Pittsburgh, and he got his coaching start here as well), and will be rooting for the AFC come game day. And you have to love Peyton’s commercials: “They’re not saying ‘Boo’; they’re saying ‘Moooovers’” and my favorite “De-Caf (thump thump), De-Caf (thump thump)”.
Now, there are a lot of similarities between studying history and watching football. Perhaps one of the most irritating similarities is that (relatively) high paid analysts in both fields have a penchant for judging decisions by their results. Throwing into double coverage is a bonehead move if it results in an interception, but is brilliant if the ball goes through the DB’s hands and results in a touchdown. Don’t laugh – the number of Civil War studies that rely on similar methodology is legion.
This particular game offers a chance to discuss something that has bugged me for some time: why in God’s name did Peyton’s dad Archie decide to name his child Peyton? I suppose it might be reasonable to guess that he may have been thinking “Anything but Archibald”. But then, why not Quimby? Or Larry?
Some students of the American Civil War are aware that both the Peyton and Manning names were “big” in the Confederacy. At various times, Mannings commanded four infantry regiments in the Army of Northern Virginia, the 49th & 50th Georgia, the 3rd Arkansas, and the 6th Louisiana. Peytons commanded the 5th and 19th Virginia. Out west, Peytons headed the 3rd Mississippi Infantry, Major Peyton’s Cavalry Battalion, and the 3rd Missouri Cavalry.
Mannings and Peytons served in staff positions in the Army of Northern Virginia as well. Virginian Jacob Hite Manning was signal officer to James Longstreet and, presumably, to R. H. Anderson. One time governor of South Carolina John Laurence Manning served as a volunteer ADC to Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard at First Bull Run and later in December 1862. Henry E. Peyton of Missouri was an ADC to Beaurgeard at First Bull Run, and would later serve on the staff of Robert E. Lee. Virginia brothers Moses G. and Thomas G. Peyton did time as staff officers as well, Moses as volunteer ADC to Robert Rodes and as AAG to Rodes, Stephen D. Ramseur and Bryan Grimes, and Thomas as AAAG to Richard Ewell. Another Virginian, Thomas Jefferson Peyton, served as Acting Assistant Inspector General for G. W. Smith and as AAIG and Ordnance Officer for John C. Pemberton. And someone named William H. Peyton served in the capacity of AQM in Staunton, VA in 1861.
Four other Mannings were in other rebel armies, assisting generals Cantey, J. E. Johnston, S. D. Lee, Twiggs, and Wheeler. Three more Peytons also worked for J. P. Anderson, Hood, H. B. Lyon, and J. S. Williams.
Now, that’s a whole lot of Peytons and a whole lot of Mannings. Archie Manning, the most famous of all (‘Ole Miss) Rebel quarterbacks, was born in Drew, Mississippi. It seems likely that Archie is the result of some long ago (or not so long ago) conjoining of a Manning and a Peyton. Possible evidence of this theory may be found 160 miles from Drew in the town of Aberdeen, MS. That’s the birthplace of the man listed on the Confederate order of battle for First Bull Run as James Longstreet’s acting assistant quartermaster, Lt. Peyton Thompson Manning.
Described in the memoir of John C. Haskell as “a little man, weighing not over 100 pounds” and a fine horseman, ”Manny” (as T. J. Goree referred to him) was born in 1838 and attended the Georgia Military Institute. “Befo de woah” he was a railroad engineer. He signed on as a sergeant in Co. I of the 11th MS Infantry in February, 1861, and was later commissioned a lieutenant in the regiment and a major in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States (PACS). I’m guessing he went east with the 11th MS to muster into Confederate service at Lynchburg, VA; two companies of the 11th would be with Barnard Bee during First Bull Run. Manning was assigned to Longstreet’s staff and, except for a brief stint on the staff of J. E. Johnston, would serve on it for the remainder of the war, primarily as Ordnance Officer. He is famous in Confederate literature for a mis-adventurous sleigh ride with fellow Longstreet staffer G. Moxley Sorrel during the winter of 1861-62, and for nearly choking on a sweet potato when slightly wounded at Chickamauga. He also served as a cannoneer at Antietam in “Battery Longstreet”, thrown together by the General when the crew of a battalion of the Washington Artillery were shot down. Francis W. Dawson recalled that Manning was “exceedingly kind and considerate”, easy to work with, gentlemanly and “brave as a lion.” But “he knew very little of his work as an ordnance officer, and was unable to write an ordinary letter correctly.”
At war’s end, Manning returned to his wife Julia Watson in Aberdeen, and died there on February 3, 1868 at the age of 30 or 31. He is buried in Odd Fellows’ Rest Cemetery in Aberdeen.
I haven’t been able to track down any images of Peyton Manning the staff officer. If any reader (Archie?) has an image or other information on him, please let me know via the comments section of this site. I’ll update here with any new information I receive.
By the way, that was Elijah Peyton who was Lt. Col. of the 3rd Mississippi Infantry. But that’s another story for another Super Bowl – maybe.
Crute, J., Units of the Confederate States Army
Krick, R. E. L., Staff Officers in Gray
Krick, R. K., Lee’s Colonels
Govan & Livengood, ed., The Haskell Memoirs
Longstreet, J., From Manassas to Appomattox
Sorrel, G. M., Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer