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OBITUARY

WILLIAM H. MUNNERLYN

From THE MARIONS STAR
(date unknown)

Killed, instantly, by a shot through the head, near Atlanta, Ga., on Friday, July 22, 1864, Lieut. WM. H. MUNNERLYN, of the 10th Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers, aged twenty-two years and six months.

The grandson of a revolutionary sire, who had immortalized his name in the Pee Dee county by long and arduous services under Marion, it was not surprising that at the first call for volunteers, William was among the first to stand forth, while yet a mere youth, in vindication of the principles for which his ancestor fought. When the Convention in December, 1860, authorized Col. Maxey Gregg to raise a regiment of volunteers for six months, he was one of the noble band, from Marion District, who went, under Captain Stanley, to the islands contiguous to Charleston, where he remained until after the fall of Fort Sumter. When Col. Gregg desired to go to Virginia he was also with that portion which constituted the vanguard of Southern volunteers on the soil of the Old Dominion. Having served out the six months term for which he had enlisted, and having had a brief respite at home, he determined to go again to the field, and was appointed Sergeant in Company L, but was subsequently elected a Lieutenant in Company D, of the 10th Regiment. How well he discharged his duties of his position is not for the writer of this to say, for the terms ordinarily used in obituaries being too often in the form of eulogy and panegyric, does not become those who desire to alter simple truth. It will not be out of place, however, to say, that the Captain of Company L says of him, "while under my command, if I ever desire to have a special duty performed with faithfulness and promptness and my orders obeyed implicitly, Sergeant Munnerlyn was the officer placed in charge of that duty;" and it can be said with equal truth after his promotion, he shrank from the discharge of no duty he was called upon to perform. He did not belong to that class of officers who urge their men "go, I will follow," but with him it "come, I will lead," and how well those under him obeyed is evidenced by the reduced ranks of the company to which he was attached. Brave without rashness, he had the faculty of infusing enthusiasm among his followers; strict, yet just to all, his men loved him; and it may be said of him, without fear and without reproach, no truer or braver soldier has given up his life in the cause of the South. Of him, too, it can be truly said in all the relations of life, as a son or as a brother, in official station or in social intercourse, whether at home or in camp, he was the Christian gentlemen, unselfish, fearless, generous and brave. No sordid or mean action ever stained his character, and his memory will remain fresh in the hearts of his associates and companions.

The son of a preacher of the Gospel whose name is a sweet odor to all who know him, Rev. Thomas M. Munnerlyn, he was early trained in the way he should go and at the Centenary Camp Meeting, in the immediate neighborhood of his home, surrounded by his companions and friends, he joined the Methodist Church and professed religion in October, 1860, a few months before the war. He lived up to his profession, and maintained his steadfastness amid all the temptation of the camp. Living thus his career was without a blott, and dying his virtues enshrine him in the hearts of all who knew him. His immediate family have the mournful satisfaction of knowing that while they love him here, he has secured the promise…Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

A short time before his death, he sent the subjoined beautiful and appropriate lines in a letter to his mother, with the remark that if he were killed in the battle then pending they were the sentiments of his heart:

THE DYING SOLDIER'S LAST REQUEST

Go tell my Mother that I die,
A soldier true and brave
And though no tear from her sad eye
Be shed above my grave.
Pale eye will weep soft dews above
The spot, as from a Mother's love
And birds for me will mourning sing,
While o'er my grave sweet flowers will spring.

To tell my Father that his son
No tarnish leaves his name,
For him, in age, to look upon
With sorrow or with shame;
That like a hero I have died,
Sustained by sense of truth and pride.
And through my life, my all I give;
"Twere better thus than else to live.

Go tell my sister that her smile
Makes bright my dying hour-
That like the sun to some lone isle,
To me its cheering power;
E'en now the past is mine again,
Its memories soothe each sense of pain,
As back for through the mists of years,
I see her in youth's smiles and tears.

Go tell the friends my boyhood knew,
The patriot's death is mine;
The sword I for my country drew,
I now to them resign:
'Twere sweet to live, yet I can die
And in the grave forgotten lie,
To know I have my duty done,
And nobly life's last triumph won.

Go tell my comrades in the field,
I die a freeman's death;
Tell them to wield the battle shield
With life's last lingering breath.
The banner that we bore on high,
Still bid it all their hosts defy;
For where the war tide wild shall wave,
Is fit to be a soldier's grave.

Go tell the good man on whose word
Each Sabbath day I hung,
My spirit, in this hour, is stirred
By his impassioned tongue;
Tell him the learning, wisdom, truth,
He taught me in my wayward youth,
Is still to me a blessed boon,
That will fruition yield me soon.

Submitted by Francine Jones, 11 Sep 2003


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