There are two monuments to Archer’s Brigade at Gettysburg. One is west of Gettysburg on Meredith Avenue (Stone & Meredith Avenues tour map) and the second is southwest of town on West Confederate Avenue (West Confederate Avenue – Pt. 2 tour map).
The brigade was commanded by Brigadier General James Jay Archer. Archer was captured in the initial fighting with the Union Iron Brigade along Willoughby Run, the first general officer of the Army of Northern Virginia to be captured in the war. Colonel Birkett D. Fry of the 13th Alabama Infantry then took command.
The brigade had been badly hurt in the fighting on July 1st and was left in reserve on the 2nd. But on July 3rd, despite its losses, it was ordered to join Longstreet’s Attack, more popularly known as Pickett’s Charge.
Colonel Fry was wounded (his fifth of the war) and taken prisoner in the charge, and Lieutenant Colonel Samuel G. Shepard of the 7th Tennessee Infantry Regiment took over. Its numbers and leaders sadly reduced – less than 400 men remained at the end of July 3rd – the brigade would be temporarily combined with the remnants of Brockenbrough’s Brigade after the battle.
From the monument:
July 1. The Brigade moved from Cashtown early in the morning towards Gettysburg. After a march of six miles came in view of the Union forces. The Brigade was deployed on the west side of Willoughby Run and about 10 A. M. advanced encountered 1st Brigade First Division beyond the run. The firing continued for a short time when a large force appearing on the right flank and opening a cross fire the position became untenable the Brigade was forced back across the run but advanced with the Division later in the day. The advance in the morning reached this position.
July 2. Not engaged.
July 3. Formed part of the column of Longstreet’s assault.
July 4. The Brigade took up the line of march during the night to Hagerstown.
C. S. A.
Army of Northern Virginia
Hills Corps Heth’s Division
5th Battalion and 13th Alabama
1st 7th 14th Tennessee Infantry
July 1. Reached the field in the morning. The Battalion was ordered to watch Cavalry on the right. The four regiments advancing to Reynolds Woods were met and flanked by the 1st Brigade 1st Division First Corps and fell back across the Run losing 75 prisoners including Brig. Gen. Archer.
July 2. In the evening marched from the woods west of Willoughby Run and took position here.
July 3. In Longstreet’s assault was the right Brigade of Pettigrew’s Division. Advanced to the stone wall at the Angle and some of the men leaped over it. Had 13 color bearers shot four of them at the wall. Lost 4 of 5 flags and 5 of the 7 field officers with company officers and men in nearly the same proportion.
July 4. After night withdrew and began the march to Hagerstown.
Present 1048 Killed and wounded 160 Missing 517 Total 677
See more on the history of the regiments in Archer’s Brigade in the Civil War: