Some of Gordon’s Georgians who fought at Wrightsville

james t branch.jpg

Pvt. James Thomas Branch, Company A, “Irwin County Cowboys,” 61st Georgia Volunteers. Branch missed the Gettysburg Campaign because he was in a hospital in Richmond. However several of his relatives marched with Brig. Gen. John B. Gordon through York and Wrightsville, Pennsylvania.

All three photos on this blog entry are copyright 2009 Jerry Ivey and are used with written permission.
With the publicity created by my recently released Flames Beyond Gettysburg: The Gordon Expedition, June 1863, I have received so many great e-mails from around the country. Among them is one from Georgia history buff Jerry Ivey, who sent me these photographs of his ancestors. These men were part of Brigadier General John B. Gordon‘s brigade that marched from Farmers to York, paraded through Center Square, and then on to Wrightsville for the skirmish against the Pennsylvania militia and the York Invalids.
James T. Branch had five sons [Jesse, David, Elias, James C., Jr. and William] in the army in the 61st Georgia, as well as his brother-in-law WIlliam Young. They would not all come home.


William Young.jpg

Corporal William Young, Company A, “Irwin County Cowboys”, 61st Georgia Volunteers. Photo taken between 1861-63.

Jerry writes, “I have sent you some pictures of my grandfathers. William Young was a Corp. when he was killed at Gettysburg on 7-1-1863. The other picture is James T Branch. He had 5 sons that fought with him. One of his sons, Jesse Branch, died at Gettysburg too.
My other grandfather William M. Branch, James T. Branch’s oldest son, hastily buried his brother Jesse Branch and his father-law William Young that day in shallow graves because “the Yankees was coming,” he said. They now buried at Savannah, Georgia, at the Gettysburg lot in Laurel Grove Cemetery. Could you tell me where at Gettysburg they may have been killed? [Editor's note: The 61st sustained the majority of its casualties in Gordon's successful assault on what is know known as Barlow's Knoll. It's located along Business Route 15, the Old Harrisburg Road north of Gettysburg. Nearby today is the Gettysburg branch of Harrisburg Community College].
Thanks. Jerry Ivey
P. S. All of them were in the 61st Georgia, Co A Irwin County Cowboys”
William Monroe Branch.jpg

Private William Monroe Branch, Company A, “Irwin County Cowboys”, 61st Georgia Volunteers. Postwar view from the early 1900s.

The 7th Georgia Battalion had been formed at Eden on September 10, 1861, mustering into service in October. It was reorganized in May 1862 as the 61st Georgia with additional volunteers from the south-central part of the state. General Gordon called the commander of the 288 veteran soldiers, Colonel John Hill Lamar, “a most promising young officer” who had already gained a reputation as being cool-headed under fire. Lamar had lost part of a finger at Fredericksburg. He would be killed in action in 1864.
At Gettysburg, the 61st Georgia lost 38.5% of its 288 men, with 30 killed (including Jesse Branch and William Young), 75 wounded, and 6 men missing in action. The Branches and Young served under Captain G. D. Wilcox.
Another soldier, George Washington Nichols, in his autobiographical account, A Soldier’s Story of His Regiment, depicts life in the 61st Georgia Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War.
For much more on the Branch family in the 61st, please see another descendant, Tom Myerswebpage.

This entry was posted in Confederates, Gettysburg Campaign, Wrightsville, York. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Some of Gordon’s Georgians who fought at Wrightsville

  1. Ross Carmichael says:

    Jerry Ivey
    William M Branch (AKA Big Bill) is also my grandfather. I know that he was shot in the hip, recovered and was then shot in the wrist which was remained slightly deformed. I have a picture of him and Judy and you can see his messed up wrist. Check out the book called “The Georgia Brigade” By Willian R Scaife. All your research has already been done in this book but it is a little on the exspincive side, but worth it.
    Ross Carmichael
    678-591-0260

  2. Jeffrey Grable says:

    My mother’s great-grandfather fought with the 61st GA in Co.C “Wiregrass Rifles”. He lost his left arm in the first day’s fighting at Gettysburg but had a previous wound at Sharpsburg. I have a photo of him in uniform with his 2 band Enfield and full English accoutrement, which I submitted to the “Wall of Faces” at Gettysburg and I later submitted a short article on him to Civil War Times Illustrated. Following the war he fathered 9 children and accumulated 9,900 acres of land in Calquitt County, GA. Not bad for a one armed man!

  3. Scott Mingus says:

    Very interesting information Jeff! The 61st participated in the attack on Wrightsville, but I have been unable to pinpoint which of the two flanking columns the Wiregrass Rifles were in.

  4. marcia says:

    William “Big Bill” Branch is having his Confederate Marker Dedication April 17, 2010
    at 10:30 a.m. at Hickory Spring Church in Tift County. Do you have William Monroe birthdate so I can confirm that “Big Bill” and Monroe are the same person. I would love more pictures of “Big Bill” and his family I have only one.

  5. Ken Wilson says:

    Looking for information on my g-g-g-uncles who served with the 61st Georgia Infantry Co. E. Their last name is McBride (McBryde). Please, any information would help.

  6. Scott Mingus says:

    William F. McBride (also spelled McBryde in the records) and R. B. McBryde were privates in Company E of the 61st GA. There was a John D. McBride in Company H and Augustus G. McBride in Company B. They were also privates.
    Their pension records would be in the National Archives and Records Administration. They can be purchased through NARA’s website.

  7. Nichole Branch says:

    Hi, I’m just wondering what was the birthdate of you Big Bill Branch. Because I’m researching about my great great great grandfather who also William Branch (husband of Louisa Jane Whiddon). May be cousins with your Bill, since I know James T and his father, David were brothers. Thanks!!

  8. Stephanie says:

    In a turn of blind luck and good links through Cyndi’s List I happened on your website! Willam Branch served with my 3rd great grandfather, Henry Gorday (sometimes written Gordy or even Gordo on records.) He gave a sworn affadavit on behalf of my 3rd great grandmother, Sarah Jane (Chandler) Gorday in her Civil War Widow’s Pension application. I’m so excited to read more about him, the 6st, and to see photos!
    Thank you!

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