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Manring, George W.

Account of the Death of Second Lieutenant George W. Manring in the Battle of
Champion's Hill on May 16, 1863

     Capt. Maschil Manring, Co. A, 56th O.V.I. wrote the following account of the death of Second Lieutenant George W. Manring in the battle of Champion's Hill. It was written in a little blank book with a red cover which was the only thing left in his pockets, and mailed home to their father, Captain Jordan Manring, who lived on a farm between Centreville (Thurman) and Rio Grande, Ohio. Permelia Manring Cherrington, their sister, gave the little book to her grandson, George K. Cherrington, and he gave it to their brother, Alvin Manring, of Garfield, Washington.
     In reply to a letter of inquiry about the book, Mrs. J.T. Lemon, Garfield, Washington, a daughter of Ahira Manring, wrote a letter containing the following paragraph:

     "I asked B.F. Manring of Colfax about it and he said Uncle Alvin left it with his son O.V. Manring who has passed on. I got in touch with his family and they tell me they have gone through his papers time after time but cannot find it. I thought if they had it I would verify this letter, a copy of which I am sending you. I think it must be the same.
      Some of the Missouri relatives sent me a copy of the McFall paper in which this letter was published, and as near as I can remember it was about the same time Uncle Alvin was visiting there. I expect your Uncle G.K. Cherrington can tell if it is a copy from the book. I have it pasted in a book and some of the print is getting very dim."

     Mrs. Lemon's letter was written to William Alvin Wickline of Lexington, Ohio, in 1940.

Captain Maschil Manring's letter:

Edwards Depot, Mississippi
May 16, 1863

Dear Father:
     I am called upon to perform the mournful task of informing you of the death of my dear brother George W. Manring, who was killed in battle on the evening of the 16th of May, near this place.
The circumstances were as follows:

     The fighting commenced at about eight o'clock in the morning. Company A was thrown forward as skirmishers. We fought until 10 o'clock in this manner, driving the enemy's pickets to his line of battle which he had formed as an eminence. I then ordered a retreat and informed the Commanding General where the enemy's lines were forming in order of battle. We were immmediately formed and ordered forward. The engagement soon became general.
     The portion of the enemy's lines with which our Regiment engaged was formed along a line of fence in front of an open [word omitted?] containing about 40 acres. After a half hour's hard fighting, we started the enemy back, driving him beyond the field into the timber. We advanced across the field and made a stand at the fence where we maintained our position for about half an hour. In the meantime the enemy were being heavily reinforced. The 28th Iowa, being on our left, gave away and fell back without making a stand. In the retreat we discovered the enemy coming both in our front and on each flank with a force of not less than ten times our number. We fell back about one hundred yards and made a stand right in an open field. We here checked their centre, but the regiments on our right and left having retreated too hastily, we were compelled to fall back being flanked both on our right and left. We made another stand in the field and tried to check the enemy which were advancing on us in four columns.
     Here is where my dear brother fell. He was shot twice, once in the right temple and once in the left side of his chest. The last word which he uttered after he was struck by the ball was, "O Jesus." He died instantly. This was about three o'clock in the afternoon. My first impression was to stay with him, but considering that if I did so I would be taken prisoner or killed and thus the place of burial and history of the death of my brother would be lost to his friends, I concluded to rejoin my Regiment, which had retreated about one hundred yards beyond me, leaving me about half way between the rebels who were pursuing us, and my own regiment.
     We tried to make a stand at the fence but were too closely pursued by a superior force. We fell back to a ridge beyond the fence and made a stand at the fence and held the enemy in check till we were reinforced. It was now half past three in the afternoon. At four we succeeded in routing the enemy completely.
     I went immediately to where I had left my brother. The rebels had taken everything out of his pockets except a little blank book. They took his watch and all of his money, also his revolver, leaving his sword. Our Regiment was ordered forward in pursuit of the retreating enemy. I got permission to stay and take care of my brother. Sergeant Samuel J. Blake, Corporal Phail of my Company stayed with me and assisted in giving him and others of the Company as decent burial as the circumstances would admit of. I had him conveyed to a shade by the side of the road, washed him, then selected a place for his burial. I set three men to digging his grave. I lay by his side on the battle field all that night. Early next morning we finished the grave. I had him carried to it, and after impressing two kisses upon his cold temple--one for his aged father and one for myself--I laid him in his cold, silent resting place.
     I covered him up, and after a brief prayer that his remains might not be molested till such time as they could be moved to Ohio, I left the grave. This was at seven o'clock in the morning. I overtook the Regiment which was encamped two miles ahead, at eight, after performing one of the most solemn duties of my life.
     I shall never forget the manner in which he uttered the last sentence, so familiar as though as though he was addressing a friend. I have no doubt but that they were the very words, that he entered the final resting place of all good who have passed on before him. It is not unreasonable to suppose that those very words were heard by his sainted mother, brothers and sisters, who have been at rest from all their toils for a long time. There is scarcely a moment that passes over my head but I think of them. The verse which I often heard him sing, comes to my mind frequently:
"If happy in my latest breath,
  I may but gasp His name."

     Surely if there was any person that was in possession of all the virtues possessed in this life, it was him. I never knew him to be at fault in any instances. There was not an officer that knew him but respected him. All the men of the Company loved him as they did a brother. He always did his duty well; his affections were divided between his God, his country, and his friends. If I ever get home I intend to come after him. I wish you would select a place for his burial near where mother is buried, as I believe it would be his choice to be buried by her side.

From your affectionate son,
M. Manring
Co. A, 56th Reg., O.V.I.

     This account was transcribed by Henny Evans from the records of Miss Susan Cherrington, a sister to George K. Cherrington, mentioned in the account. The original was published in the McFall, MO newspaper, date unknown. George Manring's body was removed to the Vicksburg, Mississippi National Park where he is buried in an unmarked grave. There is a monument for the Fifty-sixth Ohio Regiment on which his name is engraved. His brother Masquil was buried in Fairview Cemetery, near McFall, Missouri. Their father, Jordan Manring, Jr. died in October, 1864 and is buried beside his wife in Calvary Baptist Cemetery in Raccoon Township. Jordan served in the War of 1812 and his father, Jordan Manring, Sr. served in the Revolutionary War.

Below is a photograph of the parents to whom the above letter was sent.

Jordan & Sarah Manring

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