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Anderson, Robert, -1871

Defender of Fort Sumter in 1861; born near Louisville, Ky., June 14, 1805. He was a graduate of West Point Military Academy, and entered the artillery. He was instructor for a while at West Point. He served in the Black Hawk War q. v.), and in Florida. In May, 1838, he became assistant adjutant-general on the stair of General Scott, and accompanied that officer in his campaign in Mexico, where he was severely wounded in the battle of Molino Del Rey (q. v.) In 1857 he was commissioned major of artillery, and in October, 1860, Secretary Floyd removed Colonel Gardiner from the command of the defences of Charleston Harbor, because he attempted to increase his supply of ammunition. and Major Anderson was appointed to succeed him. He arrived there on the 20th, and was satisfied, by the tone of conversation and feeling in Charleston, and by the military drills going on, that a revolution was to be inaugurated there. He communicated his suspicions to Adjutant-General Cooper. In that letter Anderson announced

Robert Anderson.

to the government the weakness of the forts in Charleston Harbor, and urged the necessity of immediately strengthening them. He told the Secretary of War that Fort Moultrie, his Headquarters, was so weak as to invite attack. “Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney,” he said, “must be garrisoned immediately, if the government determines to keep command this harbor.” Fort Sumter, he said, had 40,000 lb. of cannon powder and other ammunition, but was lying completely at the mercy of an enemy. He informed the Secretary of evident preparations for a speedy seizure of the defences of the harbor by South Carolinians. General Scott, aware of the weakness of the Sounthern forts, urged the government. from October until the close of December. to reinforce those on the coasts of the slave States. But nothing was done, and Anderson, left to his own resources, was; compelled to assume grave responsibilities. He began to strengthen Castle Pinckney, near the city, and Fort Moultrie. When the South Carolina ordinance of secession had passed, menaces became more frequent and alarming. He knew that the convention had appointed commissioners to repair to Washington and demand the surrender of the forts in Charleston Harbor, and he was conscious that the latter were liable to be attacked at any moment. He knew, too, that if he should remain in Fort Moultrie, their efforts would be successful. Watch-boats were out continually spying his movements. He had applied to the government for instructions, but receive none. and he determined to leave Fort Moultrie with his garrison and take post in stronger Fort Sumter. This he did on the evening of Dec. 26. The vigilance of the Confederates had been eluded, They, amazed, telegraphed to Floyd. The latter, by telegraph, ordered Anderson to explain his conduct in acting without orders. Anderson calmly replied that it was (done to save the government works. In Sumter, he was a thorn in the flesh of the Confederates. Finally they attacked him, and after a siege and furious bombardment, the fort was evacuated in April, 1861. In May, 1861, he was appointed a brigadier-general in the regular army, and commander of the Department of the Cumberland, but failing health caused his to retire from the service in 1863, when he was brevetted a major-general. In 1868 he went to Europe for the benefit of his health, and died in Nice, France, Oct. 27, 1871. See Pickens, Fort; Sumter, Fort.

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