Sure he's an NFL legend, but who knew that Peyton Manning is also a war hero?

The injured Indianapolis Colts quarterback has a cool tie to the American Civil War, which began 150 years ago. Mark Blevins, a high school basketball coach and teacher, has uncovered a fascinating connection between Manning and Abraham Lincoln's battle to end slavery in the United States.

Peyton T. Manning from Mississippi was a confederate artillery commander for Lt. Gen. James Longstreet during the Battle of Fort Sanders. Blevins tells WBIR-TV he played a key role in what was the decisive engagement of the Knoxville, Tenn. portion of the Civil War.

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It happened on November 29, 1863, during the attempted takeover of Knoxville. Blevins says, "Longstreet came up from Chattanooga. He's coming straight down Kingston Pike. Peyton T. Manning [and] his crew is over next to the University of Tennessee campus and they're firing on Fort Sanders. So 130 years later, you have another Peyton T. Manning who played for the Vols."

More than a century later, the modern-day Manning became Tennessee's all-time leading passer with 11,201 yards, 89 touchdowns and was victorious in 39 of 45 games as a starter for the Knoxville based university from 1994 to 1997.

The lieutenant colonel Manning was born in Alabama and raised in Mississippi. He attended the Georgia Military Institute and was slightly wounded at Chickamauga in September 1863, according to Antietam on the Web.

So you're probably wondering if the confederate soldier named Peyton T. Manning is related to the Indianapolis Colts player named Peyton W. Manning.

Alas, we've been unable to find a link between the families. reported a few years ago that despite sharing a very unusual first name, there doesn't appear to be a connection between the Peytons.

However, the Colts' Peyton Manning's great-grandfather, Richard Elam Manning, is believed to have served for the 36th Mississippi Infantry of the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Information about Peyton T. Manning comes at 2:23 of this report from WBIR-TV

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