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J. Archer

J. Archer

Confederate (CSA)

Brigadier General

James Jay Archer

(1817 - 1864)

Home State: Maryland

Education: Princeton College, Class of 1835

Command Billet: Brigade Commander

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: Archer's Brigade


see his Battle Report

Before Sharpsburg

After Princeton, he attended Bacon College (Georgetown, KY), and studied law at the University of Maryland . He then practiced law. He volunteered for service, and was a Captain, in Mexico, 1847 - 48. He was cited for bravery (by brevet to Major) for action at Chapultepec. He was then discharged, but was again commissioned in the US Army in 1855. He resigned his commission as Captain in May 1861.

He began his Confederate service as a Captain, Provisional Army, but was soon appointed Colonel of the 5th Texas Regiment, which he led in the Peninsula campaign and at Seven Pines. In June 1862 he was appointed Brigadier General in command of the Tennessee Brigade/Hill's Light Division, which fought in the Seven Days and at Second Manassas.

On the Campaign

He was in command of the Archer's "Tennessee" Brigade of Hill's Light Division which arrived at Sharpsburg after an all day march from Harpers Ferry late on the afternoon of 17 September and was part of the counterattack which drove the Federal Left Wing back from Sharpsburg at the end of the battle. He had been ill and "turned over command of the Brigade to Colonel Turney (First Tennessee), under whom, with the exception of the Fifth Alabama, it marched to the battle-field of Sharpsburg, while I followed in an ambulance. " He resumed command as the Brigade formed for attack late in the afternoon of 17 September.

The rest of the War

He led the Brigade at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. He then commanded Archer's Brigade/Heth's Division at Gettysburg where he was captured: the first General officer to be captured after Lee took command of the ANV. He was exchanged after nearly a year as a prisoner in 1864 and briefly commanded 2 brigades, but died in October as a result of continuing ill health.


12/19/1817; Harford County, MD


10/24/1864; Richmond, VA; burial in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia