A 100 Pound Quarterback?

30 01 2007


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

Goree, T. J., Longstreet’s Aide: The Civil War Letters of Major Thomas J. Goree

Govan & Livengood, ed., The Haskell Memoirs

Longstreet, J., From Manassas to Appomattox

Sorrel, G. M., Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer

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21 responses

1 02 2007
Brian Klisavage

This is Mr. K’s third period class, we just checked out your story on Peyton Manning and the Civil War. We found your findings interesting and amusing.

1 02 2007
Harry Smeltzer

Mr. K’s 3rd Period,

Thanks for reading the blog!

Now get back to work, and when in doubt choose answer “C”.

1 02 2007
Brian Klisavage

We are the Rebels of Mr. K’s 4th period Honors US History class, you must have a lot of time on your hands. We like the title of your blog. This is an interesting article – do you think Henry Payton could throw the out pattern? Not bad for a Serra grad…

1 02 2007
Harry Smeltzer

Yes, I did manage to scrape my way through that institution, but I don’t know if I would have done so had I spent my class time on a computer – which we didn’t have. They were only used by NASA back then. I used an abacus (look it up).

Henry Peyton had rotator cuff surgery in 1853, from which he never fully recovered. As the forward pass had not yet been invented, it is doubtful that he ever threw a screen pass, let alone an out. He was a drop-kicker in the CFL for a few sad seasons before the war, and coached the Richmond Lost Causers in the Reconstruction League 1865-1876. During that time he invented the Run and Shoot offense. Different kind of run and shoot, though…

10 02 2007
Mike Buck Orland Park Ill.

A photograph of Lt. Peyton T. Manning does indeed exist. I saw it last night projected on a screen during a presentation at the Chicago Civil War Roundtable. The photograph is in the possession of Dan Paterson, a great-grandson of Genl. Longstreet. As I’m sure you can imagine, Paterson’s projection of the old photograph evoked pained laughter from our Chicago crowd.

Mr. Paterson is a network engineer who resides in Centreville Va. and he is a former president of the Bull Run Civil War Roundtable. I’m sure you could contact him through that organization.

Does Lt. Manning look like QB Manning? I will leave that to your judgement when you finally see the photograph.

Michael A. Buck
Member Chicago Civil War Roundtable
Orland Park, Ill

11 02 2007
Harry Smeltzer


Thanks for the info; I’ll see if I can contact Mr. Paterson. Hopefully he’ll be willing to send me a copy of the photo, but considering how rare it appears to be I wouldn’t be surprised if he is somewhat reluctant.


12 02 2007
Susan Rosenvold

Dear Mr. Smeltzer,

I regret to learn that the photo Mr. Paterson showed at the Round Table meeting provided so much amusement at Col. Manning’s expense. I am sure Mr. Paterson did not intend it. In my opinion Col. Manning was a very reliable and efficient staff officer. It is interesting that you quote Major Dawson, he left Longstreet’s staff on perhaps not the best of terms.

Some folks at the Longstreet Society (www.longstreet.org) have attempted to contact the Mannings to find out if they are indeed related but have been unable to connect with them, so it has never actually been established that they are. However, I have the photo Mr. Paterson presented, and the Colts MVP quarterback looks amazingly similar to Col. Manning.

12 02 2007
Susan Rosenvold

Oh! I forgot to say, the photo can be found at http://www.longstreet.org/PManning.html. Enjoy!

12 02 2007
Harry Smeltzer


I imagine that, given the time and place, Mr. Paterson (a descendant of General Longstreet) was well aware of the reaction that Manning’s picture would evoke. I’m also assuming your concerns are TIC ;-)

Mr. Paterson forwarded the photo in question, and I do see the resemblance (except for the 100 pound thing, of course). Once I do some checking, I will post the photo and a comparative QB shot here.


9 04 2007
Bruce Allardice

I’ve done some researdch and Major Peyton Manning and the QB Peyton Manning are NOT closely related. The two descend from different Manning families and the name Peyton is a recent addition to the family of Elisha Archibald “Archie” Manning. Bruce Allardice, author, “More Generals in Gray”

9 04 2007
Harry Smeltzer


Thanks for the info. Where were you when I needed you two weeks ago? A bit on this will be published in a national CW magazine in the near future, with the disclaimer that a positive link has not been established. Do you happen to know if there is any link between Archie Manning and Eli Peyton of the 3rd MS?

BTW, I have your book and use it often.


11 04 2007
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14 05 2007
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[…] you may have run across a few familiar names in the report of Brig. Gen. James Longstreet.  The 100 pound Peyton Manning, T. J. Goree and G. Moxley Sorrel would remain with Longstreet throughout most of the war.  […]

21 04 2008
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22 11 2008
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22 11 2008
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[…] Affirmation, Baby? 3 02 2007 Today I listened to Pete Carmichael, author of Lee’s Young and The Last , on GenerationArtillerist Gerry Prokopowicz’s Civil War Talk Radio program recorded Feb. 2.  (That’s Pete’s photo from the UNC Greensboro site to the left.)  During the idle banter preceding a fascinating interview on aspects of southern society before and after the war, Gerry asked Pete where his loyalties lay for Super Bowl XLI.  Pete – a fellow Penn Stater whom I met on an alumni tour of Fredericksburg a few years ago – plead allegiance to the Colts.  He also said that Colt quarterback Peyton Manning was indeed named for the James Longstreet staffer featured in A 100 Pound Quarterback? […]

28 01 2009
john calvert

I was looking through a book of civil war photos at the University of North Alabama library a few years ago. It showed a picture of Col. Peyton Manning and said he was in charge of the artillery that defended Knoxville, Tn. during the civil war. I actually thought the photo looked a lot like Archie Manning.

28 01 2009
Harry Smeltzer


I think they meant the artillery that was attacking Knoxville (in November of 1863), and I don’t think Manning was in charge of the artillery. I think that was Alexander, though Manning did serve at different times as Longstreet’s chief of ordnance. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the photo and the similarity to Archie.

29 03 2009
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[…] One of the stats that WordPress provides is an all-time ranking of page views for individual posts.  As of today, First Bull Run Books and Articles On-Line leads the pack with 794 views (exclusive of feed readers).  Surprisingly, in second place with 660 is …but I know what I like.  The top five is rounded out by A Few Charleston Civil War Sites (600), 1862 Photos of Bull Run (580), and A 100 Pound Quarterback (481). […]

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