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Archiver > BRANCH > 1998-08 > 0902963095


From: Carl <>
Subject: [BRANCH-L] General Lawrence O'Bryan Branch
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 19:04:55 -0400


pp. 150-151 Voices of the Civil War-Antietam, by the Editors of Time
Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia

Although reports of the unprecedented bloodletting at Antietam quickly
reached the Confederate states, reliable information on casualties was
not readily available. For Susan Branch, daughter of Brigadier General
Lawrence O'Bryan Branch, the anguish of waiting for news of her father
would turn to despair when she received word of his death. General
Branch was hit in the head by a sharpshooter's bullet while following
the action through his field glasses.

Raleigh, September 23rd 1862

My Very dear dear Aunt

Oh how sad is the news which was yesterday transmitted to us through the
telegraph. It seems very hard for us to realize, nevertheless it is
true. I will try and give you the circumstances as well as it is in my
power. On last Sunday evening just as we were going to Church, a
dispatch was brought us, saying that it was reported in Richmond that Pa
was killed. Oh such a shock it was. We had not even heard that he was
in the battle. All day Sunday we endured the suspense, not knowing
whether it was a mere idle rumor coming from a straggler from the battle
field, or whether it was a sad reality as it has proven to be. Sunday
night at about 10 o'clock we had another dispatch, saying that Pa was
safe, for the gentleman that telegraphed had seen an aid of Genl. A. P.
Hills, who said that Pa was unhurt. We continued to receive these
contradictory dispatches, one from the President, and another through
Commodore Chaney, until late Yesterday evening when we had a dispatch
from Major Englehardt, who is one of Pa's staff officers, saying that Pa
was shot by a rifle ball through the head, Wednesday evening just about
sundown, and died instantly in Major Englehardt's arms. He said that he
would be at Stanto to-day with his body, and would probably reach here
Thursday. Oh Aunt Sue, it is terrible, terrible to bear. What is home
without him, or what will it ever be? Ma says do come to see her, for
it will be the greatest comfort in the world to us all to see you. It
was Pa's wish that you should come, and do come if you possibly can, but
if you cant dont distress yourself about it. Ma says you know she has
already loved you but now it is increased tenfold. Do come to see
us....Ma has a letter here that she received from Pa yesterday evening,
which was written only the day before the battle...

The thought is almost unbearable that he should be so cut off from a
dependent family. I hope we will all be reunited once more in that land
of rest, where there is neither trouble nor sorrow. Ma says she will
write to you in a day or two, just as soon as she is able to do
anything, but do come and see us if you can, for it will be the greatest
comfort in the world to us all. Do write to us if you can not come.
Believe me my ever dearest aunt, your most devoted niece.

Sue Branc

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