1st Tennessee Color Bearer
on the morning of July 1st General Henry Heth started his
Division from around Cashtown to Gettysburg to find a much needed supply
of shoes. The battle-hardened
brigade of General James J. Archer’s Tennessee and Alabama troops would
lead the way.
marching about three miles Archer’s column discovered Federal cavalry in
a field off to their right front. The
5th Alabama Battalion marching at the front of the brigade, and
two companies of the 13th Alabama were ordered out to form a
skirmish line. The order for
the colors to be uncased was given and the brigade moved forward on the
road in column; the cavalry falling back exchanging fire with the gray
the Federals back within about a mile and a half of Gettysburg, Archer
found Gamble’s dismounted cavalry drawn up across the Chambersburg Pike.
Confederate artillery was brought up and put into position, and
opened fire on the Federals.
brigade, marching in column of fours to the right of the road
halted and faced left into line of battle, and was ordered to load.
Deployed from left to right was the 7th Tennessee, 14th
Tennessee, 1st Tennessee, and the 13th Alabama.
9’oclock the order “Forward” was passed down, and the gray line
advanced as Federal shells fell among them right of the line. Lieutenant John Calef, commanding Company A, 2nd U.S.
Artillery, closely watched the Rebel advance, remarking their battle-flags
looked redder and bloodier than he had seen them before.
Calef ordered his gunners to aim at the Confederate flags.
Advancing down a gradual slope into a valley escaping artillery
fire, and driving the dismounted cavalry away the 1st
Tennessee, and the 13th Alabama shifted right to silence the Federal guns. Crossing a clear stream
about three feet wide, and knee deep the 1st Tennessee advanced
through a copse of trees running up a ravine.
Spreading out in a fan shape as it neared the top of the ridge they
encountered the 7th Wisconsin of the Iron Brigade where a
vicious fight erupted. The
Black Hats charging them in column, the Tennesseeans laid on their backs
to load and whirled over to fire. The
fight lasted about 30 minutes when the 19th Indiana hit the 1st
Tennessee on its right flank. Seeing
this, the order was given to fall back.
The Tennessee boys fell back across the creek with Federal all
around them, a number being captured.
Murray of the 19th Indiana reported “The Tennessee color
bearer broke through the lines and run up a slope, and then turned and
shook the flag at our troops and disappeared from sight.”
Murray shot at the Reb twice as others eager to capture a
Confederate flag, but the Tennesseean eluded his pursuers and escaped.
1st Tennessee color bearer was Wiley Woods of Co. F, “The
Salem Invincibles.” Woods
also was the man on July the 3rd in the Pickett-Pettigrew
charge who took his Regiment’s colors to the stonewall at the angle
where he and the flag were captured.
Parker, a Civil War scholar, has done extensive research on the life of
the Confederate soldier. This was inspired by listening to his Great
Uncle's stories as told to him by his Father - a Confederate soldier. Bob
also contributed to the A & E series "Civil War Journal."
Regimental History: http://www.keathleywebs.com/scv/1st_tenn.html
Also called 1st Confederate Infantry and 1st Tennessee Volunteer Infantry (Prov). This unit should not be confused with a 1st Tennessee Infantry that served in the Western theater under Gen. Braxton Bragg.
A bit on Confederate regiments (Federalized regiments, if you'll excuse the term): http://www.tarleton.edu/~kjones/csarmy.html