James Jay Archer
(1817-1864)

Brigadier General

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

Previous Page

Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.  http://www.archives.alabama.gov/conoffalb/index.html

James Jay Archer, a native of Bel Air, Maryland, was born December 19, 1817. After graduation from Princeton in 1835, he studied law at the University of Maryland and was admitted to the bar. As a captain of infantry and then of voltigeurs  (The Voltigeurs were French military skirmish units created in 1804 by Emperor Napoleon I.) in the regular army he received the brevet of major for gallantry at Chapultepec during the war with Mexico, and was honorably mustered out, August 31, 1848. He followed the legal profession until 1855, when he again entered the regular army as captain of the 9th Infantry. Resigning his commission in 1861, he was mustered into Confederate service as colonel of the 5th Texas, being promoted brigadier general June 3, 1862, to succeed Robert Hatton in command of the Tennessee brigade. As a regimental and brigade commander he took part with great distinction in every battle of the Army of Northern Virginia from the Seven Days until Gettysburg. On July 1, 1863 Archer and a large part of his command, a brigade in Heth's division, were captured. A prisoner for more than a year, he was exchanged in the summer of 1864, his health shattered by his long confinement on Johnson's Island. Posted for duty with the Army of Tennessee on August 9, and ten days later with the Army of Northern Virginia, he commanded for a short time his old brigade and that of General H. H. Walker. He died in Richmond on October 24, 1864, and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery there.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.