Christopher Branch to Thomas Mann Randolph

Honor’d Sir

I must first apoligize for the liberty I am about to take, in addressing you upon a subject, upon which I feel the deepest concern, some few days since, a petition was handed me for my signiture, for the discharge of the R. W volunteers, after, finding the sentiments, and determination of my comrades, readily consented to sign the said petion,1 which I am inform’d has been handed you, It is quite unnecessary for me to add, any more than has already been said in the address, and you know also, the propriety, or ip impropriety, of this strange conduct; Their reasons have already been stated, and to on your judgement, should I most willinly willingly the subject should depend; [. . .] I am unwilling sir, to say that, that which my own, reputation as a soldier, forbids, but under existing circumstances, I am constrain’d to do so,—Capn Booker has the pleasure of commanding some few as worthy and honorable young men as any under heaven and who take a pride in doing all the duties of a soldier and to his sad Misfortune there are others, who, think too little of their own reputations to care for his, or their brothers in arms—

I am frequently told, in the course of the day (by persons who cannot possibly know) that we will certainly be discharged, and if so the sooner the better, for both, men and my officers; to my shame and mortification, three of our men have, left us and in a few days more there will be but few left, It may not be improper to state to you, what I from knowledge know to be the intention of a very large majority of our men; In the event of their disappointment, they are determin’d to follow the example already set,—

Few persons know the sacrifice I made when I became a member of this Corps. my situation above all others, ought to have forbidden it, I have a widdow’d, and aged Mother, and an unprotected sister, who have no other to look up to for protection but myself, in case of the death of my uncle William Fleming, (Judge) but whom no doubt, you know well2 butt sir I pledg’d myself to goverment, as a faithful soldier and unless honorably discharg’d, am willing to undergo any hardship or privation that war can inflict—My occupation is that of a house Joiner, and if we are to be discharg’d should like to be in Virginia at the beginning of the ensuing year to commence my business as I should wish,—and hope so soon as convenient you will relieve us from a state of disagreeable suspense

Your most obt Humb st
Chris Branch
RC (MHi); addressed: “Colo Thomas M Randolph 20th US Ifnty—present”; endorsed by Randolph: “Cr. Branch Nov. 1813.”
1Manuscript: “petion.”
2Additional closing parenthesis editorially removed.
Christopher Branch
Date Range
November 17, 1813