Brief History of the Original 7th Tennessee Infantry
The 7th Tennessee was organized at Camp Trousdale, Sumner County, Tennessee (other sources record Lebanon, in Wilson County), where it was mustered into the Confederate States of America Army in July of 1861. On July 15th the company entrained for Virginia, reaching Staunton, Virginia on July 25th. Along with the 1st and 14th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, it formed what was known throughout the war as the Tennessee Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. The 7th and the 14th Tennessee Regiments were to be together from the original formation of the Brigade until the surrender by General Lee at Appomattox Court House.

Brigadier General James J. Archer
Brig. Gen. James Archer
Commander, 5th Brigade
"Archer's Brigade"
The Brigade joined Stonewall Jackson at Winchester in December 1861 accompanied by Shumaker’s Battery. With Jackson the 7th participated in an expedition to Bath, Virginia to destroy the railroad bridge near that point. Later the Tennessee Brigade was joined by the 3rd Arkansas Infantry and placed in the brigades commanded by such leaders as Major General Theophilus H. Holmes, General Joseph E. Johnston, and Brigadier General Robert Hatton. When General Hatton was killed at the battle of Seven Pines, May 31 1862, Brigadier General James J. Archer assumed command of the Brigade, which thereafter was known as the famed “Archer’s Brigade”, and continued as such until Archer’s death on October 24, 1864. Following Archer's death, Brig. General William McComb was given command. His brigade contained the survivors from nine different units: the 2nd Maryland Battalion, and the 1st, 7th, 14th, 23rd, 25th, 44th, and 63rd Tennessee. The 7th Tennessee had a long history of courage and determination, as evidenced by its participation in every major battle in which the Army of Northern Virginia fought including part of Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. By April 2, 1865, the entire brigade consisted of only 860 men and 87 officers. Of these the 7th Tennessee had only 134 survivors remaining in the regiment.

The 7th Tennessee would continue to fight bravely right up until the surrender of the Army of Virginia at Appomattox. Its last battle was at Hatcher's Run, where they were vastly outnumbered and cut off from the rest of the also outnumbered Confederate Army, with their backs against a mill pond several hundred yards wide. There were now fewer than 100 men left in the 7th. They huddled close together to defend their treasured battle flag. As thousands of Federals closed in, resistance began to collapse. During these last confusing moments, many Southerners pitched their weapons and gear into the millpond and swam to the other side. Angry Federals raced to the water’s edge and shot at the escaping Confederates. Those remaining on the river’s edge resisted for a few more minutes; then the gallant 7th Tennessee “Hurricane Rifles” surrendered, as did the men from the other regiments in the brigade. On the muddy banks of Hatcher's Run, the 7th Tennessee had fired its last shots of the war, although Sheppard, commander of the company since Gettysburg, and several dozen followers staggered on to Appomattox. There they honored their regiment by participating in the official surrender, but had pitifully few remaining arms to lay down. The War was over.

Additional Historical Information on the 7th Tennessee and its Leaders:

Special thanks to Harold Voltz for his contributions to the History section.


Last updated April 14, 2006.