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Sergeant Major
Apr 1, 2016
Atlanta, Georgia


by Mauriel Phillips Joslyn

Sergeant Hamilton Branch writing to Charlotte Branch
to Culpepper Courthouse Virginia
March 11th, 1862

Dear Mother
I left Warrenton at 10 and marched about three miles when we had the good luck to meet up with a wagon which we had six of us to carry our knapsacks to the springs. We paid him $3 for carrying them when we got there he told me that he was not going on our road any further, but we could but he could carry us within 10 miles of Culpepper Courthouse. He did so and brought us to the Rappahannock River about a half-mile from this place. When we walk up to the house it was just dark. We knocked at the door and the gentleman himself came to the door. We asked him if we could get lodging for the night. He said no I do not blame him for we looked rough. One of the boys then told him that we had made a long march. He then asked us what regiment we belong to. I told him the 8th Georgia. He then said we could come in and it in gentleman certainly. I can find a place for you when we got the call with when you got in he called for a light and told us that they take our things out. He then said that he was that he supposed we were hungry. He then carried us in and gave us a splendid dinner. We are now in a splendid room with good beds and two boys to wait on us. I will write more about this fine gentleman some other time we will all go from here to the courthouse all is well. Hammie

March 12th, 1862

Dear Mother
I left this morning and Mark to Brandy Station there took the car and went to Culpepper I heard that our regiment at gone through there so I got on the car for Gordonsville and came here. about two miles from the courthouse oh, I saw one of our boys sitting on a fence. a holler to me that our regiment was going to stop there for the present, so as there is a train going back in a few moments, I am going back to,. Is well. I saw Mr. Witherspoon this morning. God bless you, my dear Mother. I will write again in a day or two. Your loving son. Hammie

Exchange Hotel
Orange Court House
March 13th, 1862

Dear Mother
After mailing you a letter at Gordonsville, I left on the train for Culpepper Courthouse. I got off at Orange Court House because I had heard that our division had left Culpepper for this place. I came up to this hotel and got some nice meals and stayed all night. I have heard that our division is still at Culpepper. Hammie

Camp near Culpepper
March 14th, 1862

Dear Mother
I left Orange Courthouse for this place last night. as soon as I got in the car I spread my blanket down and went to sleep. when I awoke this morning, I found that we had arrived at Culpepper Courthouse. I found that our division was camped about a half mile from town. I went out there and found all the boys well and having a nice time as possible. They were all pretty tired and sore foot. we have four small bell tents for the company 48 men. Hammie
(**Sibley tents were circular and designed to hold 15 men.)

near Culpepper
March 15th, 1862

Dear Mother
Still at Culpepper. Have been on guard all day as sergeant of the Guard. I went to town and bought some nice sponge cake and some nice pies. It has been raining all day and I am soaking wet. Hammie

Bivouac Plenty
March 16th, 1862

Dear Mother
We left Culpepper Courthouse this morning before breakfast and Marsh on very muddy roads to this camp which is about 10 miles from Culpepper. we have named this plenty because we arrived here very hungry, not having had anything to eat all day and have had plenty to eat and have our haversacks full for the March tomorrow. tomorrow is my birthday and although I cannot be with my dear relatives and Friends, they can know that I will think of them all day and that I am well and have plenty to eat. Hammie

near Orange Courthouse
March 17th, 1862

Dear Mother
We left plenty yesterday morning at sunrise and after crossing over two or three creeks and one River, arrived at this place about one and a half miles from Orange Courthouse. I walked into town as soon as we were dismissed and bought $2 worth of candy so that I had something nice for my 19th birthday. anyhow, I expect we will stay here two or three days if not make a stand here. Hammy

near Orange Courthouse
March 18th, 1862

Dear Mother
Our bivouac last night was a mile and a half before we arrived at Orange Court House. This is two and a half miles beyond Orange Courthouse. We left our camp of last night, this morning about 12 and after marching through Orange Courthouse arrived at this place. It is a nice piece of woods oh, so we will get plenty of wood anyhow. Colonel Lamar says that we will stay here a week or two. I think a stand will be made at the Rapidan River but I don't know. All is well. All are well. We will get our four tents tomorrow. Bad news from Carolina and Florida. Hammie

(**the bad news refers to was Federal General Burnside's seizure of the coast of North Carolina and the fall of Fort Picken in Pensacola Florida

Orange Court House
March 20, 1862

Dear Mother
I received your letter of the 8th yesterday and was glad to hear from you. it was the first we received since we left Centerville. I received your letter with the $10 before we left winter quarters and acknowledged the receipt of it before leaving there. I received the stamps in the letter yesterday. We are all well. It has been raining for the last two days and we have been wet. Hollie and Willie White arrived this morning. I received the bundle by Holly. it contained a shirt two handkerchiefs and a pair of gloves but not the jacket sent by Mrs. Dillon. the bundle had gotten torn open and the gloves fell out in Richmond oh, so Holly told me and I am afraid the jacket has been lost. I am very sorry indeed. We are still here although we are not allowed to leave camp. Some say that we are going to Richmond, others that we are going to North Carolina but they are only Camp rumor. There is no new news here. Hammie

Orange Court House
March 27th, 1862

Dear Mother
I received your last letter in due time. we are all well. We have just been dismissed. We are drawn up in line with one blanket and for day's ration. there are only two wagons to go. everybody thought we would go to the relief of Stonewall Jackson, but the orders whatever they have been countermanded and we have been dismissed, but we'll have to be ready to March anytime now. The summer campaign has commenced, and we will be gone on the go all the time. Holly sends his regards.
your loving son,