Lawrence O'Bryan Branch

Brigadier General

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.

Lawrence O'Bryan Branch was born in Enfield, North Carolina, November 28, 1820. In early life he had the unique distinction of having for a tutor Salmon P. Chase, later Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury and Chief Justice of the United State Supreme Court. After graduation from Princeton in 1838, he edited a newspaper in Tennessee. He also studied law and was admitted to the Florida bar while still under age. Returning to North Carolina, he served in Congress from 1855 until 1861, meantime declining the posts of Secretary of the Treasury and Postmaster General proffered him by President Buchanan. Upon the secession of his state Branch was appointed quartermaster and paymaster-general of North Carolina, a post which he subsequently resigned to accept the colonelcy of the 33rd North Carolina Infantry. He was promoted brigadier general on November 16, 1861, and commanded the troops which disputed Burnside's advance at New Bern. His brigade was then ordered to Virginia and attached to A. P. Hill's "Light" Division, in which command it was distinguished from the Seven Days battles until Sharpsburg. Hurrying to the latter field from Harper's Ferry on the afternoon of September 17, 1862, the three brigades of Archer, Gregg, and Branch arrived in the nick of time to stem the last Federal onslaught of the day. Soon after, while Hill was consulting with his three brigadiers, Branch was instantly killed by a Federal sharpshooter who fired into the group. He is buried in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.