Robert Anderson 1805–1871
Born Jefferson County, near Louisville, Kentucky
In November 1860 U.S. Army major Robert Anderson was ordered to South Carolina to assume command of three federal forts—Moultrie, Sumter, and Castle Pinckney—located in Charleston Harbor. Despite his southern sympathies, Anderson was devoted to the Union and steadfast in his desire to avoid action that could provoke war. Fearing seizure of his Fort Moultrie garrison in the wake of South Carolina’s vote for secession, Anderson moved his troops to Fort Sumter under cover of darkness on December 26, 1860. In January 1861, when rebel guns prevented a supply ship from reaching his garrison, Anderson did not return fire. But when the Confederates launched their bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, he defended the fort until further resistance was futile. After surrendering on April 14, Anderson immediately became a hero in the North, and President Lincoln promoted him to the rank of brigadier general.