Journey of Discovery

A Journey of Discovery (cont...)

I immediately sent an inquiry to the National Archives for his military files, hoping that there was some, and waited impatiently for their arrival. In the meantime, my wife and I traveled to Gettysburg to locate Captain Manly's artillery position during the three-day battle and located the metal tablets describing his unit's involvement on the battlefield.
At 3:30 PM on July 2, 1863, the 2nd day of the battle, Captain Manly's battery took position near the Flaharty farm in the present vicinity of the Eisenhower Tower on Confederate Avenue. They were equipped with two Napoleons and two 3-inch rifled cannons. The battery faced the Peach Orchard that is cornered by the Wheatfield and the Emmitsburg Roads and then advanced to that location at 5:00 PM and continued firing until dark. They returned to their original position after night. The next day, July 3, at
5:00 AM, his two rifled cannons were positioned on a crest beyond the Emmitsburg Road and north of the Peach Orchard to take part in the cannonading which preceded the unsuccessful "Pickett's Charge". Later, Manly's battery continued firing their cannons at intervals until 7:30 that night, then returned to their original position near the Flaharty farm. On July 4, with General Lee's army in retreat during a rainstorm, Captain Manly's battery remained in the field checking the Union's advancements and finally withdrew from the field after nightfall.
After reading the information on the field markers, I wondered if it was then, during their withdrawal in the rain and mud, that Captain Manly lost his leather case. I may never know.
I finally received Captain Manly's military records from the Archives, which contained a limited amount of information. Several items in the records were notable such as:
-- He was 21 years old when he volunteered in the 10th
North Carolina State Troops at Raleigh N.C.
in April 1861, and was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant.
-- He was promoted to Captain on April 16, 1861 (an
entry error, should be 1862).
-- He was listed in a court martial record which
"contained information relative to the above named
man" which referred to Captain Manly.
-- He appeared on a Jackson Hospital, Richmond Va.
report as being returned to duty on June 4, 1864.
-- He was appointed Major of Artillery on March 1, 1865
and reported directly to Gen. Robert E. Lee.
-- He was listed as a "Surrender Term Officer on roll"
that was drawn up between General Joseph J. Johnston
and Maj. Gen. W.T. Sherman on April 28, 1865 and was subsequently paroled at Greensboro, N.C.
Other information in the Archive files contained fuel requisitions for guard and hospital fires, unit rations, horses, wagons, and other artillery needs. Most of these requisitions were drawn up at Camp Fisher near Smithfield, Va. from December 1861 to February 1862.
Living in western Pennsylvania makes it difficult in obtaining information about a Confederate officer from North Carolina so my wife and I decided to go to the source. We planned a trip to the south visiting battlefields, historical sites, museums, and most of all, archives and libraries.
Browsing through Civil War literature in a historical book store in Lexington, Va., we learned that Basil Manly was from Raleigh, N.C. and that he was the son of Governor Charles Manly of North Carolina. After stops at Appamattox Court House, Richmond, Malvern Hill, Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Petersburg and other sites, we proceeded to Raleigh. We visited Pennsylvanian friends who directed us to the North Carolina Division of Archives and History in downtown Raleigh. We spent two days in the Archives and surrounding area and found quite a bit of information.
In mid April 1861, Basil C. Manly, with others, went to Montgomery, Alabama, to see the Confederate authorities in regard to the officers of Company A of the 10th North Carolina State Troops that was organized at Raleigh early in April 1861. When they returned to Raleigh, Manly was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant, which was to take effect on April 16, 1861. Other officers were commissioned and with about 140 men, were tendered to serve the State for three years, or the war. It was his battery that fired a 100-gun salute in Raleigh following the announcement of Secession on May 21, 1861.
The battery left North Carolina on August 2, 1861, and was ordered to Smithfield, Va. (Fort Fisher). They remained there drilling and protecting the south side of the James River against the Union army until March 8, 1862, when their real active service began. On April 16, 1862, Manly was promoted to Captain of the battery when the original captain, Stephen Dodson Ramseur, was appointed colonel of the 49th NC Regiment. At a meeting held by the men of the battery, they decided to call themselves "Manly's Battery", which remained so throughout the war.
"Manly's Battery" served well in the many battles they participated, which included Williamsburg, Seven Pines (Fair Oaks), Cold Harbor, Savage Station, Malvern Hill, Sharpsburg (Antietam), Fredrecksburg (Marye's Hill), Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Funckstown, The Wilderness, and Hanovertown. Captain Manly was in the field of battle in all of the engagements his battery participated, never missing a field experience.
In November 1864, Captain Manly was promoted to Major, Chief of Artillery and was assigned to General Robert F. Hoke's Division. On April 26, 1865, Major Manly surrendered along with General Joseph Johnston to General William T. Sherman near Durham Station, N.C.
After the war, Manly returned to Raleigh and on November 7, 1866, married Lucy Haywood Bryan, a woman of prominence in the city of Raleigh. Two children were born in this marriage, Malcolm Gray in 1868 and John Bryan in 1873. Malcolm died in 1920 at the age of 51 and John in 1921 at the age of 48.
Basil Manly's education is listed as Lovejoy's Academy in St. James, Maryland and the Law School of Chief Justice Pearson in Chapel Hill, North Carolina . He was elected Mayor of Raleigh in 1875 and must have been so admired by the citizens of Raleigh that they elected him for seven consecutive terms (a term of office having been only one year). Unfortunately, he died during his last term of office on May 15, 1882, at the age of 43.
A search of the Archive's microfilms for his obituary was quite time consuming but, nevertheless, successful. It was a unique write-up, in tune with the style of the time. From the Raleigh Farmer and Mechanic newsprint, dated May 17, 1882, the obituary for Basil Charles Manly read:

---- The tolling of Raleigh City Hall Bell, at 6 o'clock on Monday morning announced the death, a few minutes previous, of Mayor Basil C. Manly, son of Gov. Charles Manly, and nephew of Senator M. E. Manly, and of Basil Manly DD. LLD, the eminent divine commander of "Manly's Battery" up to the field of Appomatox; Brigadier in the "State Guard"; and but recently re-elected for the seventh time as Mayor of Raleigh -- aged 42. (Authors note: should be 43.) Although the sad ending had been foreknown during a week past, the tidings that this gallant heart was stilled forever and aye, - brought a touch of sorrow to many who had with him but a nodding acquaintance. Brave, generous whole-souled, full of camaraderie, true to his friends, - he won much good with life, and yesterday had such testimony of general public sympathy as few men receive, in even common cheap after deatheclat. The Memorial meeting on Monday night was largely attended. Speaches by Gov. Jarvis, Col. Coke, Col. Fuller, C.M. Brisbee, Geo. H. Snow, J. Bledsoe, and W.H. Bledsoe. Appropriate action taken by the township supervisors, the Odd Fellows, etc. Gov. Jarvis appointed Col. F.E. Cameron to conduct the military parade at the funeral yesterday evening, which was a lengthy and striking ceremony.
The Durham Light Infantry, Capt. Freeland, Lieuts. Webb and Angier with Capt. Link's Cornet Band, came down and were given the post of honor; followed by the Raleigh L.I., the three white companies, colored fire and two colored military companies, and a long train of carriages, and pedestrians; making a cortege a mile in length. All stores were closed on Main Street, and flags at half-mast. Brig. Gen M.P. Taylor commandeered the saluting ceremonies, and the ex- Confederate dropped sprigs of evergreen into the grave.

With a eulogy such as this, Basil Manly must have been a much respected man. The obituary did not mention his place of burial nor his ailment.
While at the Archives, we inquired about obtaining an image of Basil Manly. Being a prominent politician and Civil War officer, he surely should have an image somewhere in the Archive files. We were directed to Mr. Stephen E. Massengill who coordinates a reputable collection of images in the State Department of Cultural Resources. He had no image of Basil Manly in the files but was able to locate one in a regimental history publication. It was quite a thrill to view Manly's likeness. Mr. Massengill had the image photographed and sent to us later. My wife and I are indebted to the expedience and concern he showed in our search.
Another big find for us in the Archives was a history of the Manly Family compiled by Louise Manly in 1930. It listed the descendent line of Governor Charles Manly's 12 children and their offspring. Basil was the 11th child of Charles and Charity Hare Haywood Manly. Charles died in 1871 at the age of 75 and his wife Charity passed away in 1880 at the age of 81.
Apparently, Governor Manly was a slave holder for it was written that a six-year-old slave of the Manly family, Hannah Plummer, was impressed with her young master Basil's uniform and was heard to remark, "He used to come home with his pretty clothes an' his hat with plumes on it".
Other articles including ones from "North Carolina Troops 1861-65" along with the Manly family history kept us busy at the copy machine.
Our next quest was to locate Basil Manly's burial place. There are many cemeteries in the Raleigh area and we decided to concentrate on those of Confederate Veterans and military. After pestering quite a few people, we were told that there was a Confederate Veteran plot in the Oakwood Cemetery east of Raleigh. After arriving there, we checked with the cemetery office and were in high spirits when his internment card was withdrawn from the files. When we were shown the location of his grave on the cemetery map, we noticed it was situated across the road from the Confederate Veteran's burial section. We were told that at one time the Confederate Veteran section, which contains more than 2,800 soldiers, was once separate and subsequently transferred to the Oakwood Cemetery. The cemetery brochure contained a layout of the cemetery along with a listing of all the notables buried there which included the names of many men who have been responsible for the growth of Raleigh. Many of them have been identified with local and state social, political, governmental, and business activities including the military. Basil Charles Manly, once Mayor of Raleigh and one who was greatly admired by its citizens, was not listed.
When my wife and I approached the gravesite, we found it strange to find no inscriptions at his burial plot indicating him as being a past mayor of Raleigh or a Civil War officer. The gravestone listed only the birth and death dates of him, his wife, and his son John. He was well loved and honored in the city of Raleigh and by his soldiering comrades, so why was there no mark of honor bestowed at his gravesite? I often wondered about this. Surely, the citizens of Raleigh respected him, which can be perceived by the following anecdote that was taken from the Manly Family History:

"A visitor to the city was on the street one day with a friend when they saw a gentleman coming along. The visitor asked if that were not the governor and was surprised that so little notice was accorded him. The citizen of Raleigh said, 'Just wait till Baz Manly comes along, and you will see them come out of every door.'"

After the death of Basil Manly, his widow, Lucy, went to live with her brother at Salisbury, N.C. and reared their two sons. Since the death of both sons, she made her home in Knoxville, Tennessee with the widow and children of her eldest son Malcolm. As written in the Manly Family History, "She is active, helpful, keenly interested in the movements of the times, writes most charming letters, and still has perfect eyesight and hearing at the age of eighty-eight". She passed away on Oct 29, 1930 at the age of 89 and is buried beside her husband, Basil.
Leaving Raleigh, Phyllis and I continued on our planned itinerary of the Civil War battle sites which included Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, The Wilderness, Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania, Fredericksburg, Cedar Mountain, and finally reaching Gettysburg in time for the July re-enactment which turned out to be quite a muddy affair.
On the afternoon of the day we returned home, I received a telephone call from Dave Yale of Conowingo, Maryland who had learned that I was seeking information about Captain Manly. He was quite interested because he is a member of a re-enactment unit which represents "Manly's Battery", or to be more specific, Battery A of the 1st North Carolina Artillery. I told him much of the information I had just collected in Raleigh and he sounded quite dismayed when I mentioned about Manly's gravesite not having the due recognition of a gallant Confederate veteran officer. Dave proposed to write to the Sons of the Confederate Veterans and to Oakwood Cemetery with requests to mark Manly's grave.
Subsequently, Dave Yale had made contacts with the NSSA Manly's Battery, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), and the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) in Raleigh. The key member in Raleigh for coordinating the marking of Basil Manly's grave was Thomas M. Smith, Jr., the North Carolina Division SCV Quartermaster and also the chairman of the Sate Confederate Cemetery Restoration project. Through his efforts and those of David Yale, a dedication program for Basil Manly was organized and then presented at the Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh on November 1, 1996, whereby, the Confederate Cross of Honor was place at Basil Manly's gravesite. I was asked to be the guest speaker, accepted and talked about the accomplishments of Captain Basil Manly during and after the Civil War and, of course, the discovery of his leather case that I brought to the dedication ceremony. About 30 people were in attendance and among those were five descendents of Basil Manly. The ceremony included the dedication of the Confederate Cross by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a three-round cannon salute by Dave Yale's artillery battery that reverberated throughout the cemetery, a bugle rendition of 'Taps' that arose from a distance in the cemetery, and post-ceremony refreshments served in the House of Memory on the cemetery grounds. In addition, Mike Williams, a member Dave Yale's artillery battery, read a poem written by an unknown author:

"Now the guns are silent. No more does their thunder echo
through the valleys of this land. No more do the steel clad
wheels voice their movement on the pebble-laden roadbed.
They now stand in the shadow of the trees who's roots reach
into the soil that covers the men and horses that gave them life.
They stand guard over their masters to remind us of the times
that were and the sacrifices that were made. We must man
the spirit of those guns and not allow the colors to be furled
again. We their heirs, must guard the colors while the now
silent guns shall guard the dead."

It was a fitting poem for this occasion and surely a memorable day that my wife and I would never forget.
After returning home from the dedication ceremonies, my wife and I discussed on what we should do with the leather case. Since the people in Raleigh were delighted in seeing this discovery and since it is a part of their Civil War heritage, we decided to donate it to the people of Raleigh. Besides, Phyllis said it would just collect dust in our house or end up in the hands of a collector so why not give it to those in Raleigh who will appreciate it and preserve it to be seen by all.
After talking to Tom Smith Jr., commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans camp in Raleigh who helped to organize the dedication ceremony, about our intentions, Phyllis and I were surely convinced that the case belonged in Raleigh. I then made contact with Thomas Belton, Curator at the North Carolina Museum of History, and told him about our intentions of donating the leather case to the museum. He was exceedingly pleased with our decision and told us that it will be exhibited at the museum.
So, it was back to Raleigh for Phyllis and me and on May 11, 1997 at a presentation ceremony at the gravesite of Basil Manly in Oakwood Cemetery, the leather case was presented to the North Carolina Museum of History. Again, I was asked to be the guest speaker and again, I spoke about the accomplishments of Captain Basil Manly and the discovery of his leather case. There were about 30 people in attendance but this time there was no booming of the canons because Dave Yale and his artillery battery could not make the trip. We were sorry that he and his men were unable to attend.
Manly's leather case in now exhibited in the Civil War wing of the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. Along with the leather case is Manly's battle flag that was sewn by the women of Raleigh during the war. Just recently, Manly's military uniform was added to his display in the museum. Maybe as time goes on, there will be additional Manly artifacts added to the exhibit. Phyllis and I have a great feeling of gratification to be part of this, returning to the people of Raleigh a piece of their heritage.

Researched & Written by Robert J. Bartosh

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