Robert H. Anderson

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This article is about the Confederate officer in the American Civil War. For the Union officer in the same war, see Robert Anderson (Civil War). For other uses, see Robert Anderson (disambiguation).
Robert Houstoun Anderson
Robert Houstoun Anderson
Born (1835-10-01)October 1, 1835
Savannah, Georgia
Died February 8, 1888(1888-02-08) (aged 52)
Savannah, Georgia
Place of burial Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia
Allegiance United States United States of America
Confederate States of America Confederate States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
 Confederate States Army
Years of service 1857–1861 (USA)
1861–1865 (CSA)
Rank Union army 1st lt rank insignia.jpg First Lieutenant (USA)
Confederate States of America General-collar.svg Brigadier General (CSA)
Unit Army of Tennessee
Commands held 5th Georgia Cavalry

American Civil War

Other work U.S. Army officer, police chief, Board of Visitors US Military Academy at West Point

Robert Houstoun Anderson (October 1, 1835 – February 8, 1888) was a cavalry and artillery officer in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Savannah, Georgia, Anderson was educated in the local schools. He received an appointment to the United States Military Academy. After graduation in 1857, as a brevet second lieutenant, he was stationed in upstate New York. He later served as an infantry first lieutenant at Fort Walla Walla in the Washington Territory.[1]

Civil War service[edit]

In early 1861, shortly before the official secession of his home state, Anderson accepted a commission as a lieutenant in the artillery. In September of that year, he was promoted to major in the CSA. In September 1862 he was wounded at the Battle of Antietam.[2] He was appointed assistant adjutant general to Maj. Gen. W. H. T. Walker of the Georgia State militia. In April 1862 Major Anderson formed the Georgia Sharpshooters seeing action at the Battle of Fort McAllister (1863) before his transfer to the frontlines as colonel of the 5th Georgia Cavalry.[1]

Commissioned a brigadier general on July 26, 1864, Anderson was attached to the Army of Tennessee as a cavalry officer during the Atlanta Campaign. After the death of commanding officer Brig. Gen. John H. Kelly near Franklin, Tennessee, Anderson assumed temporary command of the division before resuming his former position as brigade commander following the fall of Atlanta. He would later lead his brigade against advancing Union forces during Sherman's March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign before the collapse of the Confederacy in April 1865.[3] He was wounded at the Battle of Brown's Mill near Newnan, Georgia on July 30, 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign and at Fayetteville, North Carolina during the Carolinas Campaign, on March 11, 1865.[4]

Postbellum career[edit]

Bust of General Anderson, by Alexander Dole

Following the war, Anderson served as the police chief of Savannah from 1867-1888, and was appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes to the Board of Visitors for the US Military Academy at West Point. While there he helped reunite old friends and reconciliation efforts. He was appointed again to the Board by President Grover Cleveland in 1887. As Chief of Police for the city of Savannah, he brought order and through his leadership made the force one of the most effective in the nation. He died at the age of 52, and is still remembered with much affection by the Savannah Police Department. He is buried in Bonaventure Cemetery with his wife and children beside him.[5] His son Robert Houstoun Anderson Jr. also served in the US Army with distinction on the border, and in China before his death due to disease in the Philippines in 1901.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bio of Robert H. Anderson
  2. ^ Our Connection with Savannah - A History of the 1st Battalion Georgia Sharpshooters by Russell K. Brown
  3. ^ Linedecker, p.
  4. ^ Welsh, Jack D. Medical Histories of Confederate Generals. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1995. ISBN 978-0-87338-505-3. Retrieved June 20, 2015. p. 9.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  5. ^ Find A Grave


External links[edit]