Portal:American Civil War/Selected biography/3

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Major Robert Anderson.jpg

Robert Anderson (June 14, 1805 – October 26, 1871) was an American military leader. He served as a Union Army officer in the American Civil War, known for his command of Fort Sumter at the start of the war. He is often referred to as "Major Robert Anderson", referring to his rank at the time of Fort Sumter.

As Southern states began to secede, Anderson, a pro-slavery Kentuckian, remained loyal to the Union. He was the commanding officer of Fort Sumter at Charleston Harbor in Charleston, South Carolina, when on April 12, 1861, it was bombarded by forces of the Confederate States of America. The artillery attack was commanded by P. G. T. Beauregard, who had been Anderson's student at West Point, and continued until Major Anderson, badly outnumbered and outgunned, surrendered the fort on April 14. Anderson's actions at Fort Sumter made him an immediate national hero, but age and infirmity had ended his usefulness in the field.

One notable post-war achievement of Anderson took place in Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1869, when he visited Braintree to discuss the future of the U.S. Army with the founder of the United States Military Academy, Major General Sylvanus Thayer. An outcome of that visit was establishment of the Military Academy's Association of Graduates (AoG).