Branch was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, and later moved to Texas. He was a member of the Texas House of Representatives in 1859 and the Texas Senate in 1861.
During much of the Civil War, Branch served in the Confederate States Army as a captain in Company A the 21st Texas Cavalry (also known as the 1st Texas Lancers.) He later represented Texas in the Second Confederate Congress in 1864 and 1865 until the end of the war.
- National Park Service Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System Film Number M227 roll 4