The 7th Tennessee at Fairview
They had proven to be a reliable regiment to hold the ground. At Fredericksburg, a few months prior, the 7th stood like a wall as units around them ran away. This next battle was Lt. General Thomas J. Jackson’s best champaign before his untimely death: a surprise end-run around the enemy’s flank. The operation is often considered General Robert E. Lee’s “perfect battle,” as he successfully defeated an army more than twice the size of his own.
Archer’s 7th was one of the lead units assigned to attack a key position just south of Chancellorsville. From Hazel Grove, with the help of massive artillery support, they spearheaded an assault on Fairview, a primary military objective.
The division alignment at Chancellorsville was nearly identical to what it had been at Fredericksburg, with the exception that Brockenbrough’s brigade went from supporting the artillery at Fredericksburg to being the general reserve in the center of the division at Chancellorsville. But otherwise in both battles Archer was on the right, Gregg/McGowan on the right-center, Lane in the center, with Pender and Thomas on the left (they weren’t side by side at Fredericksburg so that is the other anomaly to their position being nearly identical in both battles.) Once the two wings of the Confederate army united at Chancellorsville and Hill’s division merged with Anderson’s division in the final drive on Fairview, Archer’s position ended up being near the center.
“The Confederate commanders understood the need to connect their divisions, and Stuart prepared an all-out assault against Hazel Grove at dawn. Hooker made it easy for him. As the Southerners approached the far crest of Hazel Grove they witnessed Sickles’ men retiring in an orderly fashion. “Fighting Joe” had directed that his troops surrender the key ground and fall back to Fairview, an elevated clearing closer to Chancellorsville.”
”Stuart pressed forward first to Fairview and then against the remaining Union units at Chancellorsville. Lee’s wing advanced simultaneously from the south and east. The Bluecoats receded at last and thousands of powder-smeared Confederates poured into the clearing, illuminated by flames from the burning Chancellorsville mansion.”
A Virtual Tour of the battlefield at Chancellorsville from Hazel Grove to Fairview: