James Archer

General James Archer

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Archer's Capture

sholarm@TEN-NASH.TEN.K12.TN.US says:

Can anyone shed light on where in the area would have General Archer (CSA) be detained as a prisioner. I have been unable to put my finger on the location of field grade officer prisoner detention. As you are aware he was caputured on the first day by some slick flanking move on the part of the Union, thus leaving his Brigade with the XO for third day advance on the center.



Archer was started south fairly quickly after capture. Ultimately he was moved to Point Lookout, MD. Likely he was moved back to either Taneytown or Union Mills, and thence to the RR to Baltimore or DC. The Union had the luxury of being able to get rid of it's prisoners easily and quickly in this campaign.

Dave Powell

Dear Barry,

You really came through with the goods on my Archer question. Thank you very much (I thought I'd really gone off the "arcane" scale with this one). Ah, the GDG is a wonderful thing.

D.S. Freeman wrote that it was in view of Marylander Archer's success at calming the interstate rivalries of his brigade's regiments that "Maryland" Steuart was given command of a similarly mixed-state brigade just before the Gettysburg campaign.

I'm glad we were able to give Archer more than just another look at the "Sally" question. (I still think that all sexuality was so much more under cover in that time that it is unlikely this was a homosexual moniker.) Archer achieved a couple of high points:

one, coming off his sickbed to lead the saving charge of Hill's Light Division at Sharpsburg (he is given a glorious write-up in Hill's own official report) and

two, reacting coolly and ably to the Meade's Division's charge through the hole in the line to his immediate left at Fredericksburg, which had momentarily threatened the Confederate right. Thanks again.

Larry Tagg

Esteemed member Glenna Jo & Bill Christen News of Gen. Archer from the journal of...

Lt. Wm. B. Gowen Journal written while interred at Johnson Island POW Camp:

"December 26 [1864]: Five prisoners, among them Genl. Archer, got outside the prison wall a few nights ago. They made their way to the shore of the Bay and got out some distance on the ice when some of them fell through the ice. The noise reached the ears of the pickets nearby who came up and gobbled the poor fellows up again. Another Christmas has passed which makes the second one since I left home."

Bill Christen


By W.H. Harries, 505 Selley Avenue, St, Paul, Minn.

In the July [1911 Confederate] Veteran appears an article by W.A. Castleberry that is so at variance with the facts as I remember them that I ask permission to make a brief reply. Besides the regiments he mentions, the 5th Alabama Battalion was also in Archer's Brigade [Castleberry stated the regiment consisted of the 1st, 7th, and 14th TN, and the 13th AL].

In the battle of Gettysburg I was secone lieutenant of Company B, 2nd Wisconsin Infantry, and D.B. Dailey was the first lieutenant. Our brigade on the morning of July 1 marched from Marsh Run, near Emmitsburg. When we reached a point about one mile south of Gettysburg between 10 and 11 A.M., we left the Emmitsburg road and charged diagonally across the fields into the woods in which Archer's Brigade was deployed. Our brigade was composed of the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, and 24th Michigan. The 6th Wisconsin, however, did not go with us, as it was detached from the brigade and sent to the railroad cut on the right, where Major Blair and the 2nd Mississippi surrendered to Colonel Dawes, of the 6th Wisconsin.

The 2nd Wisconsin went into the woods on the right of the brigade, and our company had twenty-one men and was on the right of the regiment.

As we charged into the woods Archer's Brigade gave way, and it appeared to me that General Archer refused to be borne to the rear with his retreating men, some of whom remained with him and became prisoners. I came up directly opposite General Archer and a few feet from him, and while I was getting prisoners to the rear of our troops Lieutenant Dailey stepped up to General Archer and said, "I will relieve you of that sword," and he did so. He then threw away his own sword and buckled on the Archer sword. This sword is now in the possession of the widow of Lieutenant Dailey, who resides at Council Bluffs, Iowa.

About twenty years ago I was on the battle field of Gettysburg with Gen. Harry Heth, who commanded the division in which Archer served, and I asked him about the relatives of General Archer. After this I had some correspondence with Mrs. Dailey, suggesting the return of the sword if any of Archer's relatives could be found, or placing it in the Historical Society of Wisconsin; but nothing came of it, as Mrs. Dailey wrote me that her two sons were in the army, and she did not wish to do anything with it without their consent.

On the afternoon of July 1 we were driven back through the town of Gettysburg, and Lieutenant Dailey, seeing that he would probably be taken prisoner, rushed into a house and gave the sword to a Miss McAllister, who resided there. When I was in Gettysburg twenty years ago, I saw and conversed with her in relation to the sword. She said that she concealed in a wooden box the sword Lieutenant Dailey gave to her, throwing newspaper and some wood over it. General Archer did not break his sword in the ground or anywhere else that day [as had been stated in the earlier artilce by Castleberry]. Lieutenant Dailey was taken prisoner about 4 P.M. on July 1. He escaped in the dark July 5, and went back to Gettysburg and got the sword from Miss McCallister.

checked all the facts presented by Lt. Harries.

John Gross