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Some of Gordon’s Georgians who fought at Wrightsville

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.

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”

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.