Monday, December 22, 2014

Reflections, From a Distance


With such an abrupt departure on the part of Charles Edward Broyles, leaving home and family in Dalton, Georgia, for the Colorado Territory, you may be wondering how things were going for his wife Lucy and their seven children after his exit. Of course, we have no records available to discern what may have unfolded in the five years leading up to the next census in 1880—after all, who documents gossip?—but by then, it is clear that Charles had remained in Colorado while Lucy and some of her children still maintained a household in Dalton.

It was difficult, at first, to discern any signs of just how this husband and wife parted in 1875. Partly owing to the more flowery language of the times, partly owing to Charles’ circular approach to unfolding his life story in his brief journal, I wasn’t sure at first whether the two had parted on amicable terms.

You may remember I had shared a portion of Charles’ description of meeting and marrying his wife, along with his glowing statements about her character. We need to revisit those comments now—and, for those of you who didn’t take the opportunity to read ahead from the transcription of his full statement, to pick up the rest of his narrative. You see, in order to help myself piece together the story, I had omitted some of the details. We need to review them now, to try and fill in the blanks where Charles’ narrative left me with questions.

If you recall, Charles had explained,
I married Miss Lucy A. Johnson of Barnwell, S. C. and lived together some thirty years

What the entire sentence actually continued to say—and I’ll leave in the full detail of his choice of words here—was:
I married Miss Lucy A. Johnson of Barnwell, S. C. and lived together some thirty years and was finally divorced by Gods inerorable law. This occurred in 1881 while I was in Colorado and had been since March 1875.

Divorced? I thought nary a whisper was mentioned about the “D” word, back in that era. I decided to take that rendition in a more poetic sense, and was rewarded for my patience in seeking more explanation later in the text.
Then we parted as others with fond hope of meeting. But not so we never met again. And now four boys and two girls are left in Georgia as the fruit of our marriage.

As if feeling a twinge of guilt for leaving her for so long, Charles then added his defense (which I’ll include with word choices as he gave them):
I had not seen her for years as I was anxious to make a property before going back that would make her and children conforable and happy.

So, as he represented himself in his autobiographical notes, his intention was to strike it rich succeed in his endeavors to the extent of being able to return to Georgia, sweep his wife off her feet and have her, delightedly, return with him to his new life in the outback of Colorado.

Just in case a casual reader (such as we are, reading his private notes now, over one hundred years later) might misunderstand what he was saying, he affixed a more plainspoken recap of what happened:
In November 1881 my wife died at her home in Georgia. … I was thus deprived of that hope and as noble a woman as ever lived on this earth.

This may very well have been what happened—or at least what Charles dreamed would happen. With only one minor detail—Lucy died in 1880, not 1881—documentation seems to bear that out. (Well, at least the part about his wife dying before he could return home—as if he ever would have actually returned to Georgia, considering the circumstances in which he had departed.)

Meanwhile, another flowery composition gives us a picture of what was happening on the Georgia side of this drama’s stage, in the form of an obituary published in the North Georgia Citizen on December 2, 1880.
Death of an Estimable Lady.

            Death is a stern and impartial visitor, coming when we least expect, and bearing our loved and dearest from our sight.
            The many and warm friends of Mrs. Lucy Broyles were shocked to hear of her death, which sad event took place on Sunday morning, Nov. 28, at her home, the residence of Maj. C. E. Broyles. Mrs. Broyles was a native of Barnwell, S. C. Perhaps many of her old friends there remember her, as she appeared in her lovely girlhood, when Miss Lucy Johnson.
            Mrs. B. had resided in Dalton for many years, winning friends wherever she went by the sweetness of her disposition, her refined manners and sprightly and intelligent conversation. She was universally beloved. The poor, the sick and the afflicted have lost in her a warm friend and sympathizer, and her children, that she so fondly loved, the best of mothers. Indeed she was the very sunlight of their existence—her smiles, her love, her kind advice and tender counsels, made their home the abiding place of perfect love and peace.
            But she has gone. Her pure spirit has taken its flight to the heavenly land, and those who loved her so dearly have nothing to comfort them, in their sore bereavement, but the knowledge that she rests in peace, and the hope of meeting her in the eternal world. Her last words gave evidence of a bright and shining faith.
            When her eldest son (summoned from Atlanta to her dying bed) arrived and bent over her with the words, “O! mother this is a bitter cup for me,” she opened her eyes, lustrous with love and hope, and faintly murmured, “Yes, bitter now—but sweet in the hereafter for me.” Then with other half uttered words of love for “her boy” and her other loved ones, she sank into unconsciousness and finally into the last and eternal sleep.

At the time of her passing, Lucy Ann Johnson Broyles was three months shy of fifty years of age.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ensuing Difficulties


…on the 22nd day of March 1875, I left Georgia for the Territory of Colorado.
Ever since I discovered the journal of Charles Edward Broyles, older brother of my second great grandfather, I was puzzled by his apparently abrupt departure. Supposedly established in a prominent position in his community, Charles left career as well as home and family for the unknown possibilities of life alone in an outpost of the nation’s territorial claims.

The only possible reason for his decision to leave, as mentioned in his journal, might have been extrapolated from his comments about trying to set up his sons in business. One wonders whether he sold out at a loss. But would that have been enough to tip the scales in favor of vacating an entire life established in a community?

I cast about, searching for clues as to why Charles might have left. After all, though journals may be perceived as “tell all” documents, they often leave out significant segments of the rest of the story. One entry in a genealogy forum suggested a reason for his hasty departure: that, after the war, he had lost his plantation. Remembering Charles’ entry in the 1870 census where his real estate was valued at a comfortable amount yet his personal property was comparatively less than that of his neighbors, I considered that a possibility. After all, Charles had been a loyal player, when it came to giving his all to the Confederate cause. He did mention returning home, after the war, “poor, moneyless and…half clothed.”

To see if anything further could be gleaned from documentation, I went fishing on the various newspaper archives with holdings from the state of Georgia. Historic newspapers are always a wonderful resource—well, if you can locate any articles mentioning your specific ancestors, that is—for third party reports and (supposedly) impartial viewpoints. Thanks both to several holdings for the state of Georgia at GenealogyBank and for the local newspapers’ habit of sharing what other city papers in the state had already reported, news on Charles Edward Broyles was often repeated from his residence in Dalton in publications from several other Georgia cities.

During the difficult period of Reconstruction, when factions within the Republican party were bitterly opposing each other, Charles’ circumstances may well have become an unintended casualty of the disputes. One report, reprinted in the Macon Weekly Telegraph on an unlucky Friday the thirteenth for Charles—May 13, 1870—was attributed to the editor of the Atlanta Constitution, reporting from Dalton.

Portrayed by the editor as a tale “of a late Radical row, at Dalton,” it made gloating reference in those editorial comments to the Radical Republican faction, though the body of the report gave no such indication. Further, it was unclear from the proceedings whether Charles was considered part of the Radical faction, or one of those opposing it.

Regardless, things did not turn out well for Charles in either the proceedings or the outcome.
            Some little belligerent excitement has taken place for a day or two.
            Last term of the Superior Court, Harris and Agent Baker, of the State Road, were indicted for gambling. The cases were taken up by ex-officio Justice of the Peace, Col. Glenn, and the parties were fined. Judge Parrott refused to submit to this change of jurisdiction, and retained the cases on the Superior Court docket. The grand jury of the present court seemed to think that the Solicitor-General, Colonel C. E. Broyles, has not pushed these cases with proper vigilance, and in their presentments they reproved him. Mr. N. P. Harbin, a prominent Republican, was on the grand jury, and it is understood that the Solicitor ascribed the reproof to him, whereupon he sought to hold him to accountability and a difficulty ensued. The parties were separated.
            The Solicitor was tried before Col Glenn this morning, and fined two hundred dollars.
            The whole difficulty has been between Republicans.

While an unfortunate occurrence for Charles, it hardly seemed enough to be the last straw that would cause him to ditch it all and leave town. Yet, all other mentions of his name in the newspaper were routine listings of court cases and outcomes. Charles served out the remaining two years of his term as Solicitor General without any further outbreaks that I could find.

That rather unprofessional comportment, however, may have been our forewarning of trouble to come. By Friday, March 5, 1875—interestingly enough, only seventeen days before the date Charles specifically recorded as the point at which he left Dalton—the Marietta, Georgia, Journal came up with this brief report:
Homicide at Dalton.—We learn that a homicide occurred in Dalton on Saturday. Mr. C. E. Broyles, once Solicitor General of the Cherokee Circuit, is said to have attacked, while under the influence of liquor, without provocation, a crippled man named Davis, and stabbed him so severely that he died Sunday. Broyles was arrested and held to bail in the sum of $500 to answer the charge of stabbing.

Could it be? I checked every detail. Yes, it was Dalton. Yes, he was once Solicitor General. True, the paper didn’t label him as “Col.” Broyles, as reports often fashioned him. But while this entry included only his initials, rather than his name, everything else seemed unmistakably to point the finger at our Charles.

With everything else in his life seemingly spiraling out of place—loss of a war for which he had contributed not only his means but his devoted service, possible loss of property, loss of professional face, perhaps loss of respect of his own sons—perhaps this was the last episode that spurred him on to desperate action.

As the wheels of justice may grind slowly, I have my doubts that a decision on that unfortunate case was reached before Charles left town on March 22. While it may have been in a drunken stupor that he stumbled into this difficulty, it was assuredly with eyes wide open that he abruptly left it, three weeks later.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Heading West


The year of 1875 was a happening year for one particular place “out west.” The Territory of Colorado was about to have its status changed. With the passage, on March 3, 1875, of an enabling act detailing the requirements to be satisfied for statehood, the territory was on its way to becoming the thirty eighth state of the Union.

Interestingly enough—though I hesitate to say “coincidentally”—Charles Edward Broyles, former Solicitor General for the Cherokee Circuit in northwest Georgia, chose that very month to once again pull up stakes and move far from the place he had called home.
…on the 22nd day of March 1875, I left Georgia for the Territory of Colorado, I arrived in Denver Colo. About 28th of March, and about April 1st left for Del Norte Colo. Reaching that place on the 9th of April after a nine days journey by wagon and team.

What would draw him to Colorado? Wasn’t his well-established home and business in Georgia enough to satisfy him? This is not exactly the same stage of life in which he, the young attorney, had tried his hand at agriculture by moving, along with his new bride, from his home in South Carolina to Tennessee. Nor was it the youthful exuberance that led him to send all his earthly possessions down river to move his soon-to-be-expanding family from Tennessee to Georgia. By now, seasoned attorney and politician, experienced Civil War veteran, Charles was entering his fiftieth year of life—a turning point in more ways than one.

To be sure, Colorado did have its own attractions. Way back in 1850, just as Charles was settling in the outer reaches of the state of Georgia, another party’s westward expedition from Georgia to California had discovered gold in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, precipitating what later became known as the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. In 1864, another prospector had discovered silver. The possibility of more discoveries to come may have held an attraction for Charles.

What was unusual about this move, though, was that Charles embarked upon the journey by himself. The notes he left in his journal mentioned absolutely nothing about why he left his wife Lucy, and even his older sons, behind in Georgia. Admittedly, the prospector’s life would not be the kind of tableau in which one would expect to find a Southern lady portrayed. But that he left home, entirely alone, still surprised me—and made me wonder why.
My first year in Colo. was spent in mining and like thousands I did no good. I went to Lake City and helped build the sixth log cabin in that place. When it was a willow brush patch. In the fall of 1875 I came back to Del Norte. The next spring I opened a law office and had good success. I made money and put it in prospect holes from New Mexico to the Gunnison Country. In 1876 I went to Ouray, made money but could not collect my fees. In the fall I came back to the then Garland City. And here I had good success at law and when the railroad got to Alamosa I went on there with it and made money also.


Above: Pike's Peak, painting by Albert Bierstadt; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Into Business,
Out of Business


Returning to the practice of law in Dalton, Georgia, after the turmoil and upheaval of war must have been a difficult change for Charles E. Broyles. True, he spent the next several, transitional years involved in the public arena, concerned over the practical implications of Reconstruction in the South. His efforts were rewarded—as best they could be under the circumstances—by a modest political appointment, leaving him close to home. There was, after all, some reconstruction of a more domestic sort that needed attention, as well.

A small insertion in the Macon, Georgia, Weekly Telegraph, under the heading, “Confirmed by the Senate,” listed several such appointments occurring just before the publication date of Friday, August 21, 1868. Among the names:
Charles E. Broyles to be Solicitor General of the Superior Court in the Cherokee Circuit, for the term of four years.

So, it was just as Charles had said in his journal. He served from 1868 through 1872.

By the time of the 1870 census, midway through his term as Solicitor General, Charles and his wife Lucy were parents of eight children, including two—Price and John—born after the war. Their oldest, named after his father, was now twenty years of age. Daughter Laura was now seventeen, followed by Sarah at fifteen, Joe Frank at twelve, and Robert, who was then ten. With the exception of Charles junior, who now was employed as a railroad conductor, all the others were either attending school or remaining at home with their mother.

In his journal, the elder Charles had made some mentions indicating the possibility of money problems. It is hard, looking solely at the 1870 census, to determine if that were so. Just eyeing the two pages the Broyles family spanned in the census record, for those families including information on value of real estate, Charles’ $6,300 far and away exceeded that of the other reports. Yet, for value of personal estate, his paltry $300 entry seemed scant in comparison to neighbor (and dry goods merchant) Charles B. Lyle’s $2,800, or neighboring hardware merchant Edward D. Wood’s $4,500. Even Charles’ own son reported more: $550. It is hard to think of a father being in the position of needing to borrow from his own son. Perhaps the senior Broyles was cash poor but property rich.

The trouble with returning to town and re-starting a client-based business was that it could take time to develop a practice that actually would support a lifestyle—no matter how austere. Perhaps that is when Charles’ wife felt the need to step in and offer some helpful advice. Sometimes, though, that can be the most disastrous time to attempt desperate moves.  
My term ended in 1872. And I assumed my profession. But was induced by my wife to buy a stock of goods and put the boys to merchantizeing as rail roading was more trying and hazardous. I did so. They neglected the business and went back to railroading. So I gave my attention to this until in March 1875 I sold out, and on the 22nd day of March 1875, I left Georgia for the Territory of Colorado.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Too Poor For Public Life


Charles Edward Broyles’ money woes followed him from the last days of the Civil War to the early days of Reconstruction.

At first, that lack of funds didn’t seem to curb his determination to follow his perceived lifelong mandate from his father to pursue “the glories of victories won upon the arena of public life.”

Given his endeavors up to this point hardly qualified as victories, perhaps Charles keenly felt the need of something to balance the tally. Not long after his return home to Dalton, Georgia, Charles was back in that public arena, according to a news report issued on September 26, 1866, in the Macon, Georgia, Telegraph. You may notice a couple familiar names in this excerpt.
            …a large and respectable portion of the citizens of North Georgia, assembled at Dalton on Saturday the 15th instant, for the purpose of taking action upon the proceedings of the late Constitutional Union Convention, held in Philadelphia on the 12th of August.
            On motion of Col. J. A Glenn, Col. H. L. Sims was chosen President of the day…
            On motion of the Rev. J. M. Richardson, a committee of five, consisting of the Rev. J. M. Richardson, Col. C. E. Broyles, Col. R. W. Jones, Rev. H. C. Carter and H. McHan, were appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting.
            The committee retired and during a portion of their absence the meeting was addressed by Cols. J. A Glenn and C. E. Broyles, upon the political issues of the day, strongly denouncing all hostility to the President as dangerous to our Republican institutions, sectional in their character, and in the end calculated to widen, instead of healing, the wounds of the Union.

Given the indefatigable political drive of our subject, it is no surprise to learn that, penniless though he may have been after the war, he would not let that lack present any barrier to his continued participation in the political process. I’ll let Charles explain his involvement of the next few years in his own words below and in tomorrow’s post. Then we’ll go back and revisit this episode from the lens of newspaper reports around the state of Georgia from that same time period. You know there will always be at least two sides to every story.
In 1868 I borrowed money to go as a delegate to the reconstruction convention in Atlanta. I made the 2nd ratification speech in favor of R. B. Bullock for Governor and he came up to me at the time and promised me that if he was elected Governor “he would remember me.” That fall the Republican Convention to nominate a candidate for Congress was unanimously for me. I had the nomination but declined it because I was too poor to make the canvas. I was then appointed Solicitor General of the Circuit. I preferred it to the Judgeship. And with this office which I filled four years, I relieved my family of much of their want and suffering. My term ended in 1872. And I assumed my profession.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Money Woes


…I was disabled and had neither horse nor money to regain my command.

When examining the timeline and narrative of Charles Edward Broyles in his service to the Confederate Army during the Civil War, there are a few places where we need to stop and take a long, hard look between the lines of his narrative. I believe examining those unexplained blank spots will ultimately help us discern the reasons behind his abrupt move from his home in Dalton, Georgia, to the apparent second life he lived, once he arrived in Colorado territory.

Going back to the entries in Charles’ journal that I had mentioned yesterday, there were a couple sentences we need to look at another time.

The first one, above, mentions how the loss of his horse and money hampered him from returning to service in the Confederate army. While I can’t find any confirmation of this online—and if you are well versed in Civil War era military requirements, please add to the conversation in the comments below—there were apparently requirements beyond that of military skill or leadership qualities, in becoming a person of rank. I had seen hints of that when researching my second great grandfather, Charles’ younger brother Thomas, who had obtained a horse so he could serve in the cavalry rather than as a foot soldier in the infantry. The newly-formed Confederate government was apparently unable to provide mounts for these men; they had to obtain their own.

Again, though I haven’t been able to find confirmation of this, Charles’ journal entry seems to indicate that it was incumbent upon the officer himself to provide financial backing in order to “raise a regiment,” as Charles did along with Colonel Jesse A. Glenn of the 36th Georgia Infantry.

While I am not familiar with the aspects of achieving a rank of command in that era of military history, it seems Charles’ journal entries are implying such requirements. Because of his prior injury to his feet during his first tour of duty (as “a foot”), and also possibly because of his history of having had typhoid fever in his youth (“that so crippled my limbs”), his only possibility of continued service may well have been mounted upon a horse.

Then on its way to North Carolina I was paroled at Anderson Court House S. C. and in the fall of 1865 returned with my family to Dalton Ga.

The journal narrative here enters a murky phase in Charles’ description of his final days of service. He was “furloughed…on the 5th day of February 1865, on account of rheumatism” in Augusta, Georgia, yet not paroled until the unit reached “Anderson Court House S. C.” And while the war officially ended on April 9, 1865, with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee in Virginia, conclusions of hostilities were obtained more as a rolling date, as department after department of the fallen Confederacy yielded to the reality of their losses.

It is hard, from the overview of history, to determine exactly where Charles Broyles might have been during this range of surrender dates. He likely was still considered part of the armies of General Joseph E. Johnston and, due to the rolling dates of surrender even within these companies, may have been—since Charles mentions “on its way to North Carolina”—released as the company made its way to Greensboro by May 4, 1865.

Granted, it seems as if there is an unexplained gap between the date of surrender—wherever and whenever it was for Charles’ company—and his return to his home in Dalton, Georgia in “the fall of 1865.”

This, however, is another example of the gaps in narrative for which we’ve got to read between the lines. Notice he says “returned with my family to Dalton.” This brings up another question: while he was away from home, serving in the Confederate army, where was his family? By the start of the war, he and his wife, Lucy, had had five children. This is a difficult position in which to put a family of such size, especially considering the long absence of the family’s traditional breadwinner.

Not to mention, what about their safety while the Union army was ravaging a significant swath of land across the state of Georgia? We need to remember that neither Charles nor Lucy had close relatives in the area; both had been born and raised in South Carolina.

It is interesting to note that Charles was paroled at “Anderson Court House S. C.” A little geography lesson is in order here. If you remember, Charles’ childhood home was in a place in South Carolina that had once been called Pendleton District. The term “district,” if you follow a geo-political timeline, had been used alternately with that of “county” in South Carolina.

Up until 1826, the Pendleton District included a large area of land in upstate South Carolina which claimed as its county seat the town—logically—of Pendleton. However, in 1826, it was determined that the area needed to be subdivided, and two new districts were formed: one named Pickens, the other named Anderson. Because the town of Pendleton was considered to be too close to the border of the new Pickens District, a courthouse was established at the center of the new Anderson District—named, appropriately, Anderson Courthouse.

If you’ve been following the saga of Charles Broyles for the past several days, you are probably realizing that Anderson Courthouse was simply the new digs for the county seat of what once was considered the home district of the Broyles household. In other words, though the boundaries had changed, for Charles to head to Anderson Courthouse was for him to return to the area of his old family home.

Why would Charles return to South Carolina instead of his own home in Dalton, Georgia? It is likely that his wife and children rode out the turmoil of war, living either with Lucy’s own family in Barnwell or with Charles’ family in the old Pendleton District of South Carolina.

Keep in mind that the overarching purpose of exploring this line of my second great grandfather’s brother is to explore the possible network and connections that led my own ancestor to meet his bride, who was also a Georgia resident, at least before and after the war. The question of where these women and children went to avoid becoming casualties of battles—or at least to mitigate their suffering during the hardship of war times—may help lead us to explanations of how future familial connections were made.


Above: Dalton looking east to Cohutta Mountains; pencil, Chinese white and black ink wash on green paper by Alfred Rudolph Waud, labeled "Battle of Dalton" and dated October 13, 1864; courtesy Library of Congress; in the public domain.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Horrors of War


I don’t think I could do the narrative justice for the action seen during the Civil War as well as could the brief comments Charles Edward Broyles entered in his journal years later. So much was packed into those few years; Charles repeatedly mentioned “the horrors of war” and “the destruction of human life.” While he endured some personal suffering as well, the totality of the scenes his eyes took in, during those few years, left an indelible impact upon him.

As his narrative so briefly touched on so many battles, and included so many names mentioned, for as many as I could find, I’ve hyperlinked to further explanations in entries found at Wikipedia, if you’d like further details on the events mentioned in Charles’ notes. Other than that, I’ve left much of Charles’ spelling variations as I found it in the typewritten transcription of his original document.
In 1861 I went to Virginia a private in the 11th Ga. regiment commanded by Col. G. T. Anderson. And was with the army of General Joseph E. Johnson at Winchester Va. that made the great march to reinforce Beauregard at Bull Run. I was a foot [soldier] and not being accustomed to walking I suffered much while my feet bled freely. We did not get to the Bull Run fight. As being new troops the older was shipped from Piedmont Franquier Co. Va. in advance of us. We got there after the battle was over, but in time to witness the destruction of life and property with the horrors of war.

In the fall I returned home and commenced to help raise a regiment with Col. J. A. Glenn. We succeeded and I was commissioned Major of it in 1862. I served under Kirby Smith in Kentucky in that year and in the winter came out Braggs Army. We were then soon sent to Middle Tenn. and remained there until the day before Christmas 1863 when our regiment with Stepenson’s division was ordered to Vicksburg Miss. We garrisoned this place until the Federal fleet passed Vicksburg and we then moved out on Big Black. And fought the battle of Champion Hill or Bakers Creek. This was a hard battle, I was holding my horse in the thickest of it when he was shot. I let him go to die and suppose he did. We fell back to Vicksburg and the seige commenced. It was not in my front Grant made his attack but in the Brigade to my left. I stood and witnessed the whole battle and the destruction of human life.

We surrendered after 48 days and nights. During which time we suffered for food and ate mule meat. And anything we could get. We surrendered on the 4th of July 1863. Was paroled on the 9th and left on the 12th. The troops all went home. And in October of was exchanged...at Chichamauga. We followed General Burnside to London and after the battle of Chickymauga we were relieved by Longstreet and occupied missionary Ridge, while Sherman was in Chattanooga.

I was commissioned Colonel of my regiment in Spring of 1864. I was in front of Sherman to Atlanta in the battles of Resacca, New Hope Church, Luss Mountain, Kennesaw, Pouder Springs, Chattahooche, and many skirmishes, and all around Atlanta I turned back with Hood and was in...Nashville Tennessee, In the two days fighting there and returned on his retreat with him to Augusta Ga.

At this place I was furloughed by General Beauregard on the 5th day of February 1865, on account of rheumatism. This ended my service of the Confederacy as I was disabled and had neither horse nor money to regain my command. Then on its way to North Carolina I was paroled at Anderson Court House S. C. and in the fall of 1865 returned with my family to Dalton Ga. poor moneyless and I may say, half clothed. We worked hard and our troubles were great and many. But bourn as best we could.
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