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NP: October 26, 1864 Richmond Examiner: Death of General James J. Archer, Oct. 24

Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Brett Schulte.



                Death of Brigadier General Archer.—Another brilliant and gallant Southern officer has gone down to the quiet grave from the thunderous arena of war, struck by the shaft of disease, not by the shaft of the enemy. Brigadier General James J. Archer, commanding Archer’s brigade, Heth’s division, Hill’s corps, of General Lee’s army before Richmond and Petersburg, died in this city on Monday night [October 24, 1864], at 11 o’clock, at the residence of General Joseph R. Anderson, Franklin street.

General Archer was a volunteer officer in the Mexican war, and shone with great conspicuousness in a number of the hardest fought battles. Upon his return he received a commission in the regular United States Army, and was appointed to the command of a post upon the Western frontier. When the war for Southern Independence broke out, General Archer (then Colonel) turned the command of his post over to Sheridan, now commanding the Yankee army in the Valley, and sailed for California, from which point he made a Confederate port, offering his sword and services to the Confederate cause.  He was appointed by the Government to the command of a Texas regiment, with the rank of Colonel, from which grade he soon rose to Brigadier in command of a brigade. At the battle of Gettysburg he was slightly wounded and taken prisoner. Several months since he was exchanged, and returned from Johnson’s Island, immediately to resume command of his old brigade in front of Petersburg. But his health, shattered by long confinement, was unequal to the arduous duties which, in field and camp, he continued to impose upon himself. At the battle of the 31st of July he left a sick bed to lead his brigade into action, and nobly did he lead it1—Death was undoubtedly the result of physical prostration, the result of too soon taking the field after suffering a prostrating confinement of many months in a Northern dungeon.

General Archer was a gentleman of cultivated mind, a lawyer by profession, and about forty years of age. He was a native of Harford county, Maryland, where a numerous circle of relatives and friends will receive the announcement of his death with poignant grief and concern.

The funeral will take place to-day at 12, M[eridian, i.e. Noon], from the Capitol, where the body will be deposited this morning. Its temporary resting place will be Holloywood [Cemetery].2

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  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: No actual battle occurred on July 31, 1864.  The Battle of the Crater was fought the day before, and Archer was not yet exchanged at that point.  There was no battle on August 31, 1864, and September 31 obviously does not exist.  He DID lead his brigade for at least a portion if not all of the extended Battle of Peebles Farm from September 30-October 1, 1864, and the exertion in this battle is usually what sources attribute his death to.  It is also possible, though less likely, the paper had a typo and they were referring to his action at Gettysburg on July 1 1863.  More research is needed here.  If you can help, please contact me.
  2. “City Intelligence.” Richmond Examiner. October 26, 1864, p. 2 col. 6
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