ARCHER'S BRIGADE


Archer


This page is dedicated to James Jay Archer's brigade and it will content history of the brigade and its officers.
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James Jay Archer (1817-1864), Brigadiergeneral C.S.A. nicknamed Sally Archer.
Born in Hartford County, Maryland from a wealthy family. Graduated at Westpoint in the class of 1826, consisting of Albert Sidney Johnston and Edmund Kirby Smith, after serving on the frontier he resigned in 1834 and had various jobs (Lumber merchent, planter). In 1861 he inlisted as a captain in the regular army of the confederate state, soon afterward promoted to colonel of the 5.th. Texas regiment of Hoods brigade, the men disliked him and remarked that he must be the most hated officer in the army.
His regiment performed various duties including the battle of Seven Pines, after that battle he was transferred to Robert Hatton's brigade consisting of Tennessee and Alabama regiments because Hatton was killed at Seven Pines. He was promoted to Brigadiergeneral and as such served with the brigade in A.P. Hill's famous light division, name occurred because of its reputation for its quick marches. He won imortal fame with this brigade, first considered a martinet and very non communative, but suddenly the mens reflections of him changed and they came to love him, some spoke of him as the very god of war, and they gave him the name "The Lttle Gamecock", in the following battles the brigade made good accounts of itself : Mechanicsville, Gaines Mill, Second Manassas, Ox Hill, and Sharpsburg, where his brigade helped steem the federal advance, and strike a severe blow on the Union army. At Chancellorsville he occupied Hazel Grove by accident, but it turned out to be of vital importance, Hardship and the hard fighting took its toll on Archer, and he was sick most of the time in the field, at Gettysburg, he reluctantly pushed his brigade forward to McPherson's Woods, when requested by his new division commander Henry Heth, and it turned out to be disaster, the iron brigade charged and captured most of the brigade including a sick Archer. When he was taken to the Union headquarters of Abner Doubleday a funny incident appeared, his old friend Doubleday came towards him and said, well its good to see you then, Archer harsh barked back, well its not good to see you, not by a dammed sight. He was taken to the rear and after the battle to Union prison Fort Delaware, where he was released from in 1864, he came back to his old brigade and his men was very delightful to se him again, but an old wound and hadship of prison forced him to resign, and he died on October 24 1864, and many tears were shed by his men of the little brave man.



14th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment

The Confederate War Memorial, at Arlington, bears an inscription, which aptly describes the brave men of the 14th Tennessee, who marched off to serve their country and never saw their homes again: 

Not for fame, or reward, not for place or rank,
Not lured by ambition or goaded by necessity,
But in simple obedience to duty as they understood it,
These men suffered all, sacrificed all, endured all
And died.

Nearly 1,000 officers and men served in the 14th Tennessee, during the War Between the States. Yet only a scant 40 remained alive with the regiment at Appomattox, when Lee surrendered. Hard fighting in more than two dozen battles and engagements left the unit's ranks decimated, tattered and worn. At Gettysburg alone, the regiment lost 58% of the men who entered the battle.
Originally organized in May 1861, at Clarksville, Tennessee, the 14th almost immediately received orders transferring it to the Virginia theatre. Here the regiment remained for the duration of the war and served with distinction in the Army of Northern Virginia, until its final capitulation. During this time, the 14th Tennessee fought in virtually every major battle or campaign conducted by Robert E. Lee.
The 14th served as part of Archer's famed "Tennessee" brigade assigned to AP Hill's Light Division. Hill's men earned a hard won reputation for making critical counterattacks preserving Confederate victories at Cedar Mt., 2nd Manassas and Sharpsburg. The 14th fought in the van of each of Hill's desperate onslaughts. At Chancellorsville, Archer's brigade seized the critical high ground of Hazel Grove, forcing the Union right wing to fold back upon its center and allowing Lee to reunite his divided forces in the face of a numerically superior enemy.
Gettysburg nearly destroyed both the 14th Tennessee and Archer's brigade. On the first day of battle, along Willoughby Run, the famous Union Iron Brigade turned Archer's unsupported flank, somehow James Jay Archer never saw what was happening. His command retreated in wild confusion and Archer one of many captured. The 14th had just devastated the 2nd Wisconsin with withering volley fire at close range when it discovered itself alone and exposed on the right and rear. Using the protection of Herbst Woods, the 14th retired in good order.
After a day's rest, Lee assigned the remnants of the "Tennessee" brigade to a special task force under Pettigrew to join Pickett's all "Virginia" division in an attack upon the Union center. What remained of Archer's brigade now formed the hinge joining Pettigrew's and Pickett's men. Together, they formed a battle array of more than 10,000 troops, stretching almost a mile wide commanded by Birkett Fry. The men from Tennessee aligned on Pickett's left and went in at The Angle alongside the shattered Virginians. Long before any one reached the wall, Union fire slaughtered men in droves. An eyewitness, reporting on Archer's men, wrote:

"Every flag in the brigade excepting one was captured at or within the works of the enemy. The 1st Tennessee had 3 color-bearers shot down, the last of whom was at the works, and the flag captured. The 13th Alabama lost 3 in the same way, the last of whom was shot down at the works. The 14th Tennessee had 4 shot down, the last of whom was at the enemy's works. The 7th Tennessee lost 3 color-bearers, the last of whom was at the enemy's works, and the flag was only saved by Captain Norris tearing it away from the staff and bringing it out beneath his coat. The 5th Alabama Battalion also lost their flag at the enemy s works."

The colors of the 14th Tennessee were among the first to pierce the Union line and it lost heavily in captured men. At the time, the banner of the 14th bore battle honors for the fighting at "Seven Pines, Mechanicsville, Cold Harbor, Shepherdstown, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Ox Hill, Harper's Ferry, Sharpsburg, Frazier's Farm, Cedar Run, and Manassas." Barely one hundred men reformed the regiment on the following day.
Despite its losses, the 14th Tennessee and the rest of Archer's once proud brigade continued to serve in Heth's division of AP Hill's III Corps. They added additional honors to their record for service at Falling Waters, Bristoe Station, Mine Run, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Globe Tavern, Weldon Railroad, Reames' Station, Burgess' Tavern, and Hatcher's Run.