Lawrence O'Bryan Branch

Lawrence O'Bryan Branch (November 28, 1820 – September 17, 1862) was a North Carolina representative in the U.S. Congress and a Confederate brigadier general in the American Civil War, killed at the Battle of Antietam.

Lawrence O'Bryan Branch
Lawrence branch
BornNovember 28, 1820
Enfield, North Carolina
DiedSeptember 17, 1862 (age 41)
Sharpsburg, Maryland
Allegiance Confederate States of America
Service/branch Confederate States Army
Years of service1861–62
RankBrigadier General
Battles/warsSeminole Wars
American Civil War
Spouse(s)Nancy Haywood Blount
Other workU.S. Congressman
Lob cannon memorial
Memorial cannon placed at site of Branch's death (pictured)

Early life and career

Branch was born in Enfield, Halifax County, North Carolina to Major Joseph Branch and Susan Simpson O'Bryan Branch. His childhood home, The Cellar, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[1][2] His family moved to Williamson County, Tennessee but his mother died when he was five and his father died in 1827. His uncle, Secretary of the Navy John Branch (then serving as Governor of North Carolina) assumed his guardianship and took him back to North Carolina. Branch moved to Washington City with his uncle when the latter took the position as Secretary of the Navy and he was tutored by Salmon P. Chase. He pursued a preparatory course under a private teacher in Washington, D.C., before going on to train at North Carolina's Bingham Military Academy. He also attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for a short time and, in 1838, graduated first in his class from Princeton College before going to study law in Nashville, Tennessee, where he also owned and edited a newspaper.

In 1840, Branch moved to Tallahassee, Florida and was admitted to the bar to practice law by a special act of the legislature. Just one year later, he went to fight in the Seminole Wars. In 1844, he married Nancy Haywood Blount and they had four children. In 1852, he moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he continued to practice law and became president of the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad Co. He also served as an elector on the Franklin Pierce ticket in 1852. Branch was elected as a Democrat to the 34th, 35th, and 36th Congresses (March 4, 1855 - March 3, 1861) but was not a candidate for renomination in 1860. On December 29, 1859, he challenged Galusha Grow to a duel after the two exchanged insults on the House Floor. Both men and their seconds were arrested by District of Columbia police before the duel could take place.[3] On December 2, 1860, he was appointed, (but declined), the position of Secretary of the Treasury by President James Buchanan.

Civil War

Branch entered the Confederate Army, in May 1861, as a private in the Raleigh Rifles. Later that month he accepted the office of State quartermaster general, but resigned it for service in the field, and in September he was elected colonel of the 33rd North Carolina. He was appointed brigadier general in January 1862. After the Battle of New Bern his brigade was attached to A.P. Hill's Division, Stonewall Jackson's Corps. He was the senior brigadier general in Hill's division. Branch's brigade fought at the Battle of Hanover Courthouse, the Seven Days Battles, Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, the Chantilly, and Harper's Ferry


On September 17, 1862, he led his troops on a rapid march from Harpers Ferry to Sharpsburg, Maryland where the Battle of Antietam was raging. Branch arrived on the field around 2:30 PM, in time to help stop the Union advance, thus saving General Robert E. Lee's right flank from a crushing defeat. Soon after this victory, Branch stood talking with fellow brigadier generals Maxcy Gregg, Dorsey Pender, James J. Archer, along with Hill and General Lee when a Federal sharpshooter, seeing the group, fired a shot that hit him in the right cheek and exited behind his left ear, killing him instantly. He fell dead into the arms of a staff officer.

Dates of Rank

  • Private, May 1, 1861
  • Colonel, September 1, 1861
  • Brigadier General, January 16, 1862


A memorial cannon now stands at the location where Branch was killed. Five other memorial cannons are placed throughout the battlefield marking the locations other commanders lost their lives. Branch is buried at the Old City Cemetery, Raleigh, North Carolina.[4]

Author Armistead Maupin is Branch's great-great-grandson.[5]

See also


  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ Catherine Bishir; Jerry L. Cross; Walter D. Best (June 1979). "The Cellar" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2015-01-01.
  3. ^ "The Near Duel Between Representatives Galusha Grow of Pennsylvania and Lawrence Branch of North Carolina | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  4. ^ Branch, Lawrence O'Bryan. "Branch, Lawrence O'Bryan". NCPedia. NCPedia. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  5. ^ Maupin, Armistead (2017). Logical Family: A Memoir. London, U.K.: Penguin. p. 17. ISBN 9780857523518. That's Grandpa Branch. He was a Confederate general who died at Antietam.


External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Sion H. Rogers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Civil War
35th United States Congress

The Thirty-fifth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1857, to March 4, 1859, during the first two years of James Buchanan's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Seventh Census of the United States in 1850. Both chambers had a Democratic majority.

Antoinette Polk

Antoinette Polk, Baroness de Charette (October 27, 1847 - February 3, 1919) was an American Southern belle in the Antebellum South and (by marriage) French aristocrat in the Gilded Age. Born into the planter elite, the great-niece of the 11th President of the United States James K. Polk, and an heiress to plantations in Tennessee, she was a "Southern heroine" who saved Confederate States Army personnel during the American Civil War of 1861-1865. After the war, she moved to Europe, where she took to foxhunting in the Roman Campagna of Italy and the English countryside, and later became a Baroness and socialite in Paris and Brittany.

Battle of Cedar Mountain

The Battle of Cedar Mountain, also known as Slaughter's Mountain or Cedar Run, took place on August 9, 1862, in Culpeper County, Virginia, as part of the American Civil War. Union forces under Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks attacked Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson near Cedar Mountain as the Confederates marched on Culpeper Court House to forestall a Union advance into central Virginia. After nearly being driven from the field in the early part of the battle, a Confederate counterattack broke the Union lines resulting in a Confederate victory. The battle was the first combat of the Northern Virginia Campaign.

Battle of Hanover Court House

The Battle of Hanover Court House, also known as the Battle of Slash Church, took place on May 27, 1862, in Hanover County, Virginia, as part of the Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War.

On May 27, elements of Brig. Gen. Fitz John Porter's V Corps extended north to protect the right flank of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's Union Army of the Potomac. Porter's objective was to deal with a Confederate force near Hanover Court House, which threatened the avenue of approach for Union reinforcements that were marching south from Fredericksburg. The smaller Confederate force, under Colonel Lawrence O'Bryan Branch, was defeated at Peake's Crossing after a disorganized fight. The Union victory was moot, however, for the Union reinforcements were recalled to Fredericksburg upon word of Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's rout in the Shenandoah Valley at First Winchester.

Branch (surname)

Branch is a surname that may refer to:

Christopher Branch (circa 1600–1682), early American colonist

Cliff Branch (born 1948), American football player

Dave Branch (born 1981), American mixed martial arts fighter

David Branch (born 1948), Commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League

Emmett Forrest Branch (1874–1932), governor of the U.S. state of Indiana

Frank Branch (born 1944), Canadian politician

Graham Branch (born 1972), English footballer

John Branch, Jr. (1782–1863), U.S. Senator, Secretary of the Navy, governor of North Carolina, and territorial governor of Florida

Lawrence O'Bryan Branch (1820–1862), Confederate General and Representative from North Carolina

Michael Branch (academic) (born 1940), British linguist

Michael Branch (footballer) (born 1978), English footballer

Mike Branch (born 1965), American politician

Michelle Branch (born 1983), American singer, songwriter and guitarist

Pamela Branch (1920–1967), British crime novelist

Vanessa Branch (born 1973), British actress and model

Winston Branch (born 1947), British artist, originally from Saint Lucia

Burnside's North Carolina Expedition

Burnside's North Carolina Expedition (also known as the Burnside Expedition) was a series of engagements fought along the North Carolina Coast between February and June 1862. The expedition was part of Winfield Scott's overall Anaconda Plan, which aimed at closing blockade-running ports inside the Outer Banks. The amphibious operation was carried out primarily by New England and North Carolina troops under Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside and assisted by the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron under Captain Louis M. Goldsborough.

Cedar Mountain Confederate order of battle

The following Confederate States Army units and commanders fought in the Battle of Cedar Mountain of the American Civil War. The Union order of battle is shown separately.

Chantilly Confederate order of battle

The following Confederate States Army units and commanders fought in the Battle of Chantilly of the American Civil War on September 1, 1862. The Union order of battle is shown separately.

Hanover Court House order of battle

The following Union Army and Confederate Army units and commanders fought in the Battle of Hanover Court House of the American Civil War.

Harper's Ferry flintlock pistol

The model 1805 U.S. Marshal "Harper's Ferry" flintlock pistol, manufactured at the Harpers Ferry Armory in Virginia (now West Virginia), was the first pistol manufactured by an American national armory. It was the standard handgun of the US dragoons during the War of 1812.

John Branch

John Branch Jr. (November 4, 1782 – January 3, 1863) was an American politician who served as U.S. Senator, Secretary of the Navy, the 19th Governor of the state of North Carolina, and was the sixth and last territorial governor of Florida.

Maxcy Gregg

Maxcy Gregg (August 1, 1814 – December 15, 1862) was a lawyer, soldier in the United States Army during the Mexican–American War, and a Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg and died two days later.

New Bern order of battle

Orders of battle of the Union and Confederate forces at the Battle of New Bern, 14 March 1862.

North Carolina's 4th congressional district

The Fourth Congressional district of North Carolina is located in the central region of the state. The district includes part of Wake County, (parts of Raleigh, Cary, and Morrisville), all of Orange County, (Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough), and a small sliver of southern Durham County.

The district is currently represented by 11-term Congressman David Price, a former political science professor at Duke who was first elected in 1986, ousting one-term Republican incumbent Bill Cobey. Price was reelected in 1988, 1990, and 1992, but he was defeated in his bid for a fifth term in 1994 by Republican Fred Heineman, the Raleigh Police Chief, in a generally bad year for Democrats in North Carolina. Price came back to defeat Heineman in a rematch in 1996, and has been reelected each time since then by large margins, usually with more than 60% of the vote. In 2008, Price received 63% (265,751 votes) to defeat Republican challenger B.J. Lawson, who received 37% (153,947 votes).Before court mandated redistricting in 2016, according to research by Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post, the district was the third most gerrymandered Congressional district in North Carolina and seventh most gerrymandered district in the United States.In contrast, its predecessor was the most regularly drawn of the state's 13 districts.

Seven Pines Confederate order of battle

The following Confederate States Army units and commanders fought in the Battle of Seven Pines of the American Civil War. The Union order of battle is shown separately.

Sion Hart Rogers

Sion Hart Rogers (September 30, 1825 – August 14, 1874) was a U.S. Congressman from and Attorney General of North Carolina.

Slash Church

Slash Church, also known as the Upper Church-St. Paul's Parish, built of Southern yellow pine cut from the property in 1729-1730, is a historic former Anglican Episcopal church located at 11353 Mt. Hermon Road, Ashland, Hanover County, Virginia. It is the oldest frame colonial church still in use in Virginia.It was built under the direction of Edward Chambers and Thomas Pinchbeck in 1729, five years after the absentee minister (who remained in England but hired a curate to serve Hanover County, Virginia boundaries declared 1720), informed the bishop of London that the parish was 60 miles long and twelve wide and served 1200 families by means of four churches (the priest alternating between them on the various Sundays of the month). St. Martin's Parish was also set off from St. Paul's parish in 1727. The predecessor building (sometimes known as the "Mechumps Creek Chapel"), built circa 1702, was about a mile and a half north of this structure. Current research indicates it was located behind the current Hanover Tavern across the tracks and up a hill where there is a good source of water (pond). No structure currently exists of this chapel. The Slash name derives from the "slashes" - ravines that formed in the sandy clay soil after rainstorms plus the Pine Slash trees. This terrain has a high ground water level so it was important to place this structure on a hill.

Rev. George Whitfield, founding Methodist Francis Asbury, Virginia Baptist Reuben Ford and Disciples of Christ founder Alexander Campbell are believed to have preached at the church during their various missionary tours. Because Rev. Patrick Henry (uncle to the founding father Patrick Henry) served as minister of St. Paul's Parish for four decades (1737-1777), his nephew did occasionally attend the church. However, Patrick Henry's mother was a dissenter, and he is known to have attended Polegreen Church (a Presbyterian or freethinking meetinghouse) nearby. Dolley Madison and Henry Clay are also believed to have attended this church.Rev. Henry's successor, Rev. Talley, became a Universalist and after the American Revolutionary War, the Anglican church was disestablished (i.e. no longer supported by taxes) and the building variously abandoned or used by various denominations, including Methodists and Disciples of Christ, and as a school. The latter denomination purchased the property in 1842, two years after the Episcopal congregation built a brick church about four miles away which burned on a December evening and then constructed another church of wood in the 1850s revival style which continues in their use for weekly services to the present day.During the American Civil War, in May 26 - 27,1862, Confederate Brigadier General

Lawrence O'Bryan Branch (a former U.S. Representative from North Carolina who would die six months later at the Battle of Antietam) used it as his headquarters with 4500 soldiers (and later as a hospital, together with three local homes). Two battles sometimes collectively called the "Battle of Slash Church" were Union victories, although the Peninsular Campaign failed. When old trees were cut down in the 1950s, bullets were found, believed to be from those battles.The one-story, steep gable roofed, white clapboarded frame building measures approximately 60 feet, 6 inches, by 26 feet, 6 inches. It was built from timber felled on the property - Southern Yellow pine usually 120 feet tall - and fastened mostly with wooden pegs. The exterior pine clapboards on three sides are original. Some of the original wood clapboards on the north side were replaced in a Jan. 1970 exterior boiler fire and the wainscoting (interior) on that same side was partly replaced, leaving the wainscoting on the other side intact. This is a special feature of this building since it runs horizontal in wide boards instead of vertical. Original wavy glass remains in several original wood framed windows which have exterior storm (1950's) windows. The gallery at the back of the sanctuary is original as are the pillars holding it in place and the railings plus the stairs. Construction of this feature can be viewed under the stairs by a door on the first floor. Plus are two original slat constructed benches. Other old furniture dates to the 1850s: a heavy solid dark stained pulpit, an oval table used for communion, two tall backed padded seat chairs, and various styles of wooden bench seats. The 1970s fire produced so much smoke in the floor area the fire crew cut away the floor only to discover an additional floor (the 2nd floor was added by the builders because the 1st floor was too low.) The fire crew also removed the 1st floor and as it was bitterly cold (water froze from the fire hoses) this wood was used as a bonfire until members rescued it to help defray restoration costs by making furniture and small items for sale. Some of these items are available to see in the history room at the church. When the fire crew took away both floors, they discovered four graves of unknown people (still unknown today). The 2nd floor had blood on it from the 1862 occupation of Gen. Branch as bleeding men lay while being treated for the civil war battle. Additional structures: a Sunday School building with a bathroom was built to resemble the church and connected by a passageway from an exterior door already in place. This was important because it did not affect the historic designation as it did not alter the church building. In the 1970s, a fellowship hall and more Sunday school space was erected across the parking lot of brick to serve the congregation's needs. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.In 1998, a historical highway marker - E105 - was located at the corner of and intersection that has 4 names: Peakes, Ashcake, Sliding Hill and Mt. Hermon Rd., the latter being the address of the church (11353 Mt. Hermon Rd.).

Slash celebrates its history with an event on the grounds every five years. Most recently, the church celebrated its 285th anniversary on September 14 2014. The public is invited to attend services and events and schedule historic tours.

The Cellar (Enfield, North Carolina)

The Cellar is a historic home located at Enfield, Halifax County, North Carolina. It dates to the early-19th century, and is a large two-story, five bay, frame dwelling with an attached one-story kitchen. It has exterior brick end chimneys and is covered with a rather steep gable roof. It was the childhood home of Congressman and Confederate General Lawrence O'Bryan Branch (1820-1862). The house was visited by the Marquis de Lafayette during his grand tour.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

William A. B. Branch

William Augustus Blount Branch (February 26, 1847 in Tallahassee, Florida – November 18, 1910 in Washington, N.C.), son of Lawrence O’Bryan Branch and great-nephew of John Branch, was a Representative from North Carolina.

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