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 Brigadier-General James J. Archer was born in Harford county, Maryland, of a distinguished family which has contributed brave soldiers to American battles. He was a graduate of the United States military academy, class of 1826, the class of Albert Sidney Johnston and E. Kirby Smith, and was assigned to the Third infantry. After serving on frontier duty in the West he was promoted first-lieutenant in October, 1833. March 31, 1834, he resigned and was engaged in business as a lumber merchant at Havre-de-Grace, Md., until 1847, and from that date until 1861 as a planter at San Patricio, Tex. He was commissioned a captain in the regular army of the Confederate States March 16, 1861, and soon afterward with the rank of colonel of the Fifth Texas regiment, was in command of the Texas brigade at the Evansport batteries. In May as acting brigadiergen-eral he was on duty at West Point, Va., and after the battle of Seven Pines he was promoted brigadier-general and assigned to the command of a brigade in A. P. Hill's division, consisting mainly of Tennessee and Alabama regiments. Under his gallant leadership Archer's brigade soon rose to prominence in the famous ‘light division’ and won laurels through all the hard fighting which followed. On June 26th in the battle of Mechanicsville, he advanced along the Bethesda road and made a desperate attack upon the Federal position with such valor that the losses of the attack fell principally upon his brigade. Following the retreating enemy he was again engaged with distinction at Gaines' Mill. With Jackson's command in the campaign of Manassas which followed, he was in action at Cedar Mountain, August 9th, Manassas Junction, August 16th, and in the battles of Manassas, August 28, 29 and 30. On the 29th, according to General Lee's report, General Archer ‘firmly held his ground against every attack.’ He was subsequently in action at Ox Hill, during the Maryland campaign took part in the capture of Harper's Ferry and the battle of
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