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  • Writer's pictureBeth Stenstrom

Robert Branyan

Robert Branyan

Rank: Private, 42nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Descendant: Diane S


Robert was born 3 June 1838 in Harrisburg, Dauphin Co, PA, the second son of James Alexander and Edith Harvey Branyan. By 1850, they were living in Penn, Perry County, PA.

In April 1858, he married Emma Virginia Helen Charters. They eventually had 10 children: Naomi Alice in 1859, Robert Jr in 1862, Abraham Lincoln in 1865, Sarah in 1868, Charles S in 1869, William Walter in 1870, Ralph Monroe in 1873, Frank Stockton in 1875, Marie in 1877, and Maud Virginia in 1887. Throughout the 1860’s and 1870’s, they lived in Petersburg, Perry County, PA. By 1880, they were back in Penn, Perry County, PA. Before and after the war, he was a nailor.

On 4 June 1861, just after the Civil War began, he enlisted in Company B (better known as the Bucktails) 42nd PA Infantry. The regiment was also known as the 42nd Volunteers/1st Rifles and the 13th PA Infantry Reserves Regiment. The regiment was part of McCandless’ 1st Brigade, Crawford’s 3rd Division, Warren’s 5th Army Corps, USA. His regiment was active during the Battle of the Wilderness. On 4 May, the unit crossed the Rapidan and bivouacked near the Lacy House. On 5 May, the unit moved towards Parker’s Store, and attacked the enemy, pushing them back. The fighting continued on 6 May, and the unit bivouacked again that night near the Lacy House. They continued on to Spotsylvania. He mustered out 11 June 1864, since he had signed up for 3 years.

On 15 October 1879, he applied for and was granted an invalid pension. On 4 April 1884, he passed away and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Duncannon, Perry Co, PA. His son, Robert Harvey Jr was the paternal great grandfather of Diane Kean Smith.

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