Organized May 28, 1861; mustered into Confederate service July, 1861; reorganized April, 1862; surrendered Appomattox Courthouse April 9, 1865.
Of the field officers, Colonel Hatton was promoted to brigadier general May 23, 1862, and killed at Seven Pines May 31, 1862. Colonel Goodner resigned April 8, 1863. Lieutenant Colonel Howard was wounded at Gaines' Mill and died July 9, 1864.
The regiment was organized at Camp Trousdale, Sumner County, where it was mustered into Confederate service in July, 1861. On July 15 it entrained for Virginia, reaching Staunton, Virginia, on July 25, 1861. Along with the 1st (Maney's) and the 14th Tennessee Infantry Regiments it formed what was known throughout the war as the Tennessee Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia, under Brigadier General Samuel R. Anderson. The 7th and 14th Tennessee were together from the original formation of the brigade until the surrender at Appomattox.
After a stop of several weeks at Big Springs, Virginia, the brigade participated in the unsuccessful Cheat Mountain Campaign in West Virginia.
After the return to Big Springs, they were ordered to join Brigadier General John B. Floyd near Raleigh Courthouse, from there moved to Major General Thomas I. Jackson at Winchester in December, 1861. Here Shumaker's Battery was attached to the brigade. With Jackson, on January 4, 1862 they participated in the expedition to Bath, Virginia, to destroy the railroad bridge near that point.
On February 9, 1862, Maney's 1st was ordered to Tennessee, and the 7th and 14th along with the 3rd Arkansas Infantry were placed in a brigade commanded by Major General Theophilus H. Holmes, commander of the Aquia District. On February 24, 1862 the 7th and 14th were ordered to Manassas to join General Joseph E. Johnston's Army. On March 8, 1862 Turney's 1st Confederate joined the 7th and 14th Regiments to form Anderson's Brigade at Evansport (now Quantico), Virginia. These three Tennessee Regiments remained in the same brigade throughout the war, being the only Tennessee Regiments to spend their entire term of service in the Virginia Theater.
In May, 1862, Colonel Hatton was promoted to Brigadier General and given command of the brigade. Lieutenant Colonel Goodner was promoted to colonel; Major John K. Howard to lieutenant colonel; and Captain John A. Fite to major. At the Battle of Seven Pines, May 31, 1862, General Hatton was killed, and Brigadier General James J. Archer assumed command of the brigade, and continued until his death October 24, 1864. From this time on the brigade was famous as Archer's Brigade.
The brigade was placed in Major General Ambrose P. Hill's Division, and in June, 1862 consisted of the 5th Alabama Battalion, 1~th Georgia Regiment, 1st, 7th, and 14th Tennessee Regiments, and Braxton's Battery. As such it was in the engagements at Mechanicsville and Gaines' Mill June 26-27, where the 7th suffered 72 casualties, and had every field officer either killed or wounded. Here Lieutenant Colonel John K. Howard was killed.
In August, 1862, Heth'ss Division was ordered to join Major General T. J. Jackson's Corps, and was in the Battle of Cedar Run on August 9, where the regiment suffered 34 casualties; of Manassas Junction August 26; and of Manassas Plains, August 28. At Second Manassas, the regiment was commanded by Major S. G. Shepard. In rapid succession there followed the engagements at Harper's Ferry, Sharpsburg, and Shepherdstown, in September, 1862. By this time the brigade was down to 350 men. The Seventh was commanded by Lieutenant and Adjutant George A. Howard, with effectives of less than 100, and of this number lost over 30 in killed and wounded at Sharpsburg.
The regiment then had a brief respite at Berryville, Virginia, but about the last of November was ordered to join General James Longstreet at Fredericksburg, which it did after a ten day march. In the Battle of Fredericksburg December 13, 1862 the regiment had 38 casualties, thus winding up a strenuous and hard fought year.
The regiment remained in winter quarters near Fredericksburg until about the first of May, 1863. Colonel Goodner had resigned in April, 1863, and Major John A. Fite was promoted to the rank of colonel; Samuel G.Shepard to lieutenant colonel; and W. H. Williamson to major. These officers held their position till the end of the war.
At Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863 the 13th Alabama Infantry Regiment had been added to the brigade and continued with it to the end. The brigade opened the fighting on May 3rd with the capture of a strong point in front of the Chancellor house, and later was in the charge which captured the Chancellor house.
After Chancellorsville, the Army of Northern Virginia was reorganized, General A. P. Hill taking command of the III Corps; Archer's Brigade was placed in Major General Henry Heth's Division of Hill's Corps. There followed the Pennsylvania campaign, culminating in the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. At Gettysburg, the brigade was in the famous assault on Cemetery Hill which is known as Pickett's Charge. Actually, the charge was made by two brigades from Pickett's Division, and four from Heth's Division. Archer's Brigade, the Tennessee Brigade, was in line immediately to the left of Pickett's men, and the Tennessee Brigade penetrated the Federal lines momentarily, but were not able to hold the position. Here General Archer and Colonel John A. Fite, of the 7th, were captured.
After Archer's capture, Archer's and Walker's Brigades were consolidated for a time under Brigadier General H. H. Walker. Under him, the regiment was in the Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-7, 1864, and Spottsylvania Courthouse on May 12. Here General Walker was wounded and Brigadier General B. D. Fry took command of the combined brigades, and led them in the Battle of Cold Harbor on June 3, 1864. Then followed the siege of Petersburg, beginning June, 1864 and lasting till April, 1865. During this the 7th was almost continuously in the trenches around Petersburg. Here the 2nd Maryland Battalion was added to the brigade.
An inspection report dated September 23, 1864, stated that at inspection August 13, the brigades were in very poor condition, the Tennessee Brigade, which had idolized General Archer, being particularly unhappy and dissatisfied since the consolidation, but that General Archer had since resumed command of the brigade, and that he would no doubt improve matters. However, Archer died October 24, 1864, and on October 31, the brigade was commanded by Colonel Robert M. Mayo. Soon after Colonel William McComb of the 14th Tennessee took command of the brigade, and was later appointed brigadier general and retained command until the end.
On February 3, 1865 a deserter to the Federal lines reported there were not more than 60 men left in the regiment. On April 9, 1865 General Lee surrendered the Army at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. The 47 men left in the Seventh were paroled as a part of the III Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, Lieutenant General Ambrose P. Hill, Major General Henry Heth's Division, Brigadier General William McComb's Brigade, consisting of the 2nd Maryland Battalion, 1st (Turney's), 7th, 14th, 17th, 23rd, 25th, 44th, and 63rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, with Lieutenant Colonel Samuel G. Shepard in command of the Seventh.
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This unit history was extracted from Tennesseans in the Civil War, Vol 1. Copyrighted © 1964 by the “Civil War Centennial Commission of Tennessee” and is published here with their permission.
This history may not be republished for any reason without the written permission of the copyright owner.
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