One of the most complete collections of Civil War correspondence to appear in print, Charlotte’s Boys
recounts the fate of Charlotte Branch, her three sons, and their extended family and friends from 1861 through 1866. John, Sanford, and Hamilton Branch’s enlistment in the Oglethorpe Light Infantry, Savannah’s militia, left their mother in Georgia with only letters to keep her company. The story of the Branch boys shows the Civil War’s impact on individual soldiers and their families. From John’s burial on the battlefield at First Manassas to Sanford’s wounding and capture at Gettysburg to Hamilton’s involvement until the South’s surrender, this historic compilation of letters follows the three Branch brothers through their most desperate and victorious moments of the war.
On a larger scale, Charlotte’s Boys shows the dedication and loyalty of Savannah’s citizens to each other, their city, and their cause during the Civil War. More than a portrait of a single family’s experience, this anthology depicts the trauma endured by Savannah herself. Through the Branch boys, readers are offered a revealing look at military and civilian struggles during the war to an extent that has never before been seen.
The letters of the Branch boys, their mother, and their family and friends have been borrowed from the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia in Athens. The included maps, artifacts, and Branch family photographs are held in the Atlanta History Center.