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Colonel Van H. Manning

3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment

At the start of the war Van H. Manning was a prominent young attorney of Hamburg in Ashley County. Although he was only twenty-three years of age he had already served in the Arkansas Legislature and had established himself as a leading citizen of Ashley County. When war came he helped organize two companies in his hometown and marched them to Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Confederate Secretary of War refused to accept them into Confederate service, apparently because of the feeling that the war would be a short one and enough men were already available. Manning was not deterred and took his men to Lynchburg, Virginia where they were joined by other recruits from southeast Arkansas.

These Arkansans in Virginia became the famous 3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment and Manning was appointed the regiment's Major. On March 11, 1862 Manning was promoted to colonel of the regiment. He served as an exemplary commander and on October 17, 1863, General Longstreet recommended him for promotion to brigadier general. Longstreet said of him, "he enjoys the reputation of being one of the most active and capable officers of his rank in the service." The lack of vacancies, however, prevented his promotion.

On May 6, 1864 Colonel Manning was shot in his right thigh during the Battle of The Wilderness and captured. He recovered from his wound and was sent to Morris Island as a POW. A friend there reported that he was in a destitute condition and asked for his pay from the Confederate government. He was later sent to Capitol Prison, then Fort Delaware, Hilton Head in South Carolina, and finally back to Fort Delaware. Though he swore an oath of allegiance in December of 1864 he remained in Federal Prisons until released by a Presidential order on July 21, 1865.

Colonel Manning and his 3rd Arkansas was the only Arkansas Regiment to serve with the Army of Northern Virginia under General Lee. This regiment saw action in every major battle of the war in that theater and were surrendered with that army on the final day.

Paraphrased from "They'll Do To Tie To!" by Capt. Calvin L. Collier and "Portraits of Conflict" by Bobby Roberts and Carl Moneyhon.

Copyright 1998, Arkansas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, all rights reserved