William Sinkler Manning – Major, United States Army

Our cousin evidently inhaled a large amount of gas. First his throat tightened, followed by bronchitis. Pneumonia quickly dealt a killing punch and our cousin simply suffocated.

Neither all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, nor the daring of Colonel Clopton in his tank nor Dr. Clopton’s medical skills, could put them all back together again.

Major William Sinkler Manning did not return with his brothers. He was killed in action during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. This action represented the biggest operation and victory of the American Expeditionary Force during the Great War.

Fighting through jagged, mountainous terrain, the Allies were bent on capturing the railroad hub at Sedan, thus breaking the rail net supporting the German Army in France and Flanders.

First under the command of General John J. Pershing, and after April 16, 1918, Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett, the men of the United States First Army fought bravely against approximately forty German divisions.

On November 5, 1918, Major Manning died as the leading United States units reached the hills overlooking Sedan. Six days later the victory was won. During the six weeks of the Offensive, the Allies lost 26,277 men, and another 95,786 were wounded. The village of Montfaucon d’Argonne is today the site of the Meuse-Argonne American Memorial.


Major, United States Army
316th Infantry Regiment, 79th Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: November 5, 1918
General Orders No. 37, W.D., 1919


The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to William Sinkler Manning, Major, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Verdun, France, November 5, 1918.

Leading his command in the face of extremely heavy artillery and machine-gun fire, Major Manning displayed remarkable bravery and coolness in reorganizing his battalion after severe losses had been inflicted on them.

By continuous encouragement and daring, he directed operations to the successful gaining of his objective. During operations, Major Manning was instantly killed by a machine-gun bullet.

The Major served in the 316th United States Infantry, 79th Division, American Expeditionary Forces.  He was killed in action November 5, 1918 at Hill 378, Near Consenvoye France in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.  He earned the Distinguished Service Cross and the Croix de Guerre with Palm.

He was born at Sumter County, South Carolina, January 28, 1886.


Full Military Honors on Friday for Former Member of New York Times Staff

WASHINGTON, September 7, 1921 – The body of William Sinkler Manning, D.S.O., formerly of the Washington Bureau of the New York Times and son of Governor Richard L. Manning of South Carolina, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors at 2:30 o’clock Friday afternoon.

Friends and relatives of Major Manning, including practically the entire corps of Washington newspaper correspondents, will assemble at the east entrance to the New Memorial amphitheater at 2:30 o’clock on the day of the funeral, from which point the coffin, draped with an American flag and placed on an artillery caisson, will be escorted to the grave where funeral services will be held at 3:45 o’clock.

The Army Band and military escort has been detailed from Fort Myer for the procession from the amphitheater to the grave.  The Rev Dr. Green Berkley of Richmond, Virginia, a brother-in-law of the late Major Manning, will officiate at the grave.  The pallbearers will be the six surviving brothers of Major Manning, five of whom were his comrades in arms in the Great War.

Governor and Mrs. Manning will arrive from their home in Columbia, South Carolina, Friday morning.  Mrs. Barbara Brodie Manning, Major Manning’s widow, and granddaughter of the late Governor Alexander R. Shepherd of the District of Columbia, arrived in Washington this afternoon from Amagansett, Long Island.  Two of her little children accompanied her, the youngest, Sinkler Manning, Jr, who is ill, being unable to come.

The newspaper correspondents of Washington will be represented at the funeral by a committee of thirty-two, all of them former friends of Major Manning.  The committee was announced last night as follows:

Charles S. Albert, New York World; Robert Barry, Philadelphia Public Ledger; Rodney Bean, New York Times; C. C. Brainard; Brooklyn Eagle; H. E. C. Bryant, New York World; Donald A. Craig, New York Herald; Jesse S. Cottrell, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Stephen T. Early, Associated Press; J. Field, New York Tribune; Bond P. Geddes, Associated Press; Arthur S. Henning, Chicago Tribune; George R. Holmes, International News Service; Gus J. Karger, Cincinnati, Times-Star; G. Gould Lincoln, Washington Star; K. Foster Murray, Charleston (S.C.) News and Courier; John J. Marrinan, New York Times; Elmer Murphy, Kokusai News Service; Richard V. Oulahan, New York Times; Roy A. Roberts; Kansas City Star; Hal H. Smith, New York Times; Robert R. Smith, Chicago Tribune; L. Snure, Des Moines Register; Kulius A. Truesdale, New York Journal of Commerce; Theodore Tiller, Atlanta Journal; Leroy T. Vernon, Chicago Daily News; Lewis Wood, New York Times; Grafton S. Wilson, Chicago Tribune; James L. Wright, Cleveland Plain Dealer; and Frank L. Whitehead, Washington Post.

The National Press Club, the Nation Press Club Post of the American Legion and the University Club will also be represented at the funeral.  A delegation of former officers of the 316th Infantry, who served with Major Manning in France, will come to Washington for the funeral.


Member of the Times Staff Buried With Honors in Arlington
Six Brothers as Pallbearers

WASHINGTON, September 9, 1921 – Major William Sinkler Manning of the 316th Infantry, killed in action near Verdun on November 5, 1918, was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery this afternoon on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the City of Washington.

As the coffin containing the body of Major Manning was taken from the crypt of the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington the band of the Third United States Cavalry from Fort Myer, Virginia, played “Nearer My God to Thee,” and two troops, I and K, of the same organization, presented arms.  Escorted by the soldiers and followed by relatives and friends and professional associates of Major Manning, the caisson containing the coffin proceeded to the grave, where Rev. Dr. Berkeley, rector of St. Paul’s Church, New Orleans, brother-in-law of Major Manning, assisted by the Post Chaplain of Fort Myer.  A representative of the War Mothers sprinkled flowers on the casket as it was lowered into the grave.  Three rifle salvos were fired over the grave by the escorting troops and a bugler sounded “Taps,” as a farewell to the young officer who had given up his life while leading his men on the field of battle.

Six brothers of Major Manning, five of whom served with the American Army in the World War, were the pallbearers.  They were Lieutenant Colonel Wyndham M. Manning of the 317th Field Artillery, Major Bernard Manning, Lieutenant Vivian M. Manning, Corporal Burrell D. Manning and Second Lieutenant John A. Manning, all formerly of the 316th Field Artillery, and Preston C. Manning, who was only 15 years old when the United States entered the World War and was unable to enlist in the military service.  In addition to his brothers, the relatives of Major Manning were his widow, Mrs. Barbara Brodie Manning of Washington, and their little daughter; his parents, the former Governor of South Carolina and Mrs. Richard L. Manning, and his uncle William Sinkler Manning, after whom Major Manning was named.

Others present were General John J. Pershing, attended by an aide, Lieutenant Thomas Snyder, U.S.A., who was a brother alumnus of Major Manning at the University of the South as Sewanee, Tennessee; Major General William J. Snow, Chief of Field Artillery, U.S.A., who commanded the Brigade in France in which four of the Manning brothers served, and Brigadier General T. Q. Donaldson, Inspector General’s Department, U.S.A.

Major Manning was a member of the Washington staff of the New York Times and several delegations representing several organization or newspaper men attended the interment.  In addition to all members of the New York Times Washington staff, there were present committees of the Standing Committees of Washington Correspondents, the Senate Press Gallery, the Press Club Post of the American Legion, the District of Columbia Department of the American Legion, the National Press Club and the University Club.

Major Manning who had received the Distinguished Service Cross was also the recipient posthumously of the Croix de Guerre and a French Officer in uniform was present at the interment as the representative of the French Government.

Many floral tributes were placed on the caisson and the grave.  From the home office of the New York Times came a wreath which bore the inscription:

“In Memory of Major William Sinkler Manning of the New York Times staff who was killed in battle while in command of his battalion of the 316th Infantry, near Verdun, November 5, 1918.  From his associated of the New York Times, September 9, 1921.

Another wreath bore this inscription:

“In Affectionate Remembrance of Major William Sinkler Manning from his associated in the Washington Bureau of the New York Times, September 9, 1921.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 11/06/1918


Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment