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T. M. Anderson

T. M. Anderson

Federal (USA)


Thomas McArthur Anderson

(1836 - 1917)

Home State: Ohio

Education: St Mary's College (MD), Cincinnati Law, Class of 1858

Command Billet: Commanding Battalion

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 12th United States Infantry, Second Battalion


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

He graduated from St Mary's College, Maryland in 1855, and from Cincinnati Law School in 1858. He entered law practice in Cincinnati.

Service summary1 :
Private, Co. A, 6th Ohio Infantry, 20 Apr to 15 May 1861;
Appointed 2nd Lt, 2nd US Cavalry, 7 May 1861 (through the influence of uncle, Major Robert Anderson, of Fort Sumter fame);
Promoted Captain, 12th US Infantry, 14 May 1861.

On the Campaign

Captain Anderson remembered Antietam later:
"... with the Army of the Potomac, marching to meet Lee in Maryland. At South Mountain we were under fire but held in reserve. The Twenty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry was immediately in our front. I asked a young commissary-sergeant of the Twenty-third who was in command of his regiment. He told me Major Hayes. As he was an old acquaintance I rode forward and spoke to him. As the commissary sergeant was William McKinley, within two minutes I spoke to two men who subsequently became Presidents of the United States."

"On the afternoon of the 16th of September, while we approached the battle-field of Antietam, some negroes were digging post-holes to the left of the road. When the enemy opened an artillery fire on us these discolored Americans tried to hide in the holes. When, however, some of their shells struck the ground near by and threw showers of dirt over them, they popped out of their holes and sprinted across the field, rolling over whenever a shell exploded. This performance amused our men so, that they seemed to lose all sense of fear. Our brigade marched on and formed line of battle to the left of Sharpsburg with the right resting below the stone bridge. Just before daybreak on the 17th the First Battalion crossed the bridge and took open order just beyond. Later in the day the Fourth and the Fourteenth went over, and this force moved up to the crest of the hill in front of Sharpsburg. Pleasanton's cavalry crossed over and formed to the right of the bridge. The Third Infantry and the battalion of the Eighth and Twelfth were held in support of the artillery, which was firing on the enemy from our side of the creek. In the afternoon I was directed to detail two men to assist in working the guns. As old Martin Burke had insisted oil training our men in artillery drill, they were able to give most efficient assistance."

"Near sundown all the rebel force in the center of their line except two regiments and a battery, had been sent down to resist Burnside's advance. Captain Dryer sent a note stating this fact and asked for orders. At that time General McClellan was consulting with Gen. Fitz-John Porter and General Sykes immediately in our front. I saw the note delivered to General McClellan. General Sykes told me after the war that General McClellan, after reading the note, seemed inclined to order forward the reserves to break Lee's center, but that General Porter reminded him that he commanded the last reserve of the last Army of the Republic. The order was not given and the golden opportunity to win a great victory was lost. There never was a better opening for an effective infantry advance and a brilliant cavalry charge."2

The rest of the War

Capt Anderson was in action at Fredericksburg (December 1862) and Chancellorsville (May 63), where he was wounded. He was on sick leave and detached duty til February 1864. He was then on the Wilderness campaign and at Spottsylvania (May 1864), where he was again wounded. After recovery in November he was assigned to Gen Hooker's staff.2

After the War

He rejoined the 12th US as Commanding Officer at Richmond on 4 July 1865. He continued in career Army service, rising to command the 14th US Infantry - appointed Colonel - by September 1886.

During the Spanish-American War ...
"Brigadier General Thomas McArthur Anderson commanded the vanguard of the U.S. expeditionary force (Eighth Army Corps) in the Philippines. His troops left San Francisco on May 25, 1898 and arrived in Cavite on June 1. Once Anderson's troops had arrived, U.S. forces laid seige to Manila, but only when General Arthur MacArthur's forces reached the Philippines in late July did the land war begin. Anderson led a division of 8,500 men against the Spaniards, unaware that Admiral Dewey and General Merritt had made a deal with the Spanish commander of Manila, Ferm"n JĀ·udenes y Alvarez to surrender soon after the fighting started. He relinquished the city to U.S. forces, purposely excluding Aguinaldo and Philippine nationalists."

"Anderson stayed in the Philippines to fight the insurrectionists until General Henry W. Lawton succeeded him in 1899. "3

He was appointed Brigadier General in the Regular Army in March 1899, and retired in January 1900.

References & notes

Additional biographical data from Patterson4. The photograph is from the USAMHI5 and was posted online by Chris Piering at the fine 12th US Infantry site.

More on the Web

Also, see Anderson's gravesite at Arlington, and the complete text of his Civil War Recollections (transcribed).


1/21/1836; Chillicothe, OH


5/8/1917; Portland, OR; burial in Arlington National Cemetery, VA


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, pg. 165  [AotW citation 37]

2   Transcribed online by Chris Piering at the 12th US Infantry site, Jim Hurd, webmaster.
Anderson, Thomas M., Brigadier General, USA, Civil War Recollections of the Twelfth Infantry, Journal of the Military Service Institution of the US, 1907-09-01, pp. 379-393  [AotW citation 45]

3   US Library of Congress, The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War, Published 1999, first accessed 01 January 2002, <>, Source page: /anderson.html  [AotW citation 41]

4   Patterson, Michael Robert, Burials In Arlington National Cemetery, Published 1996-, first accessed 01 January 2001, <>, Source page: /tmanders.htm  [AotW citation 38]

US Army, Military History Institute (USAMHI), American Civil War (ACW) photographs, Military History Institute Photograph Database, Published c. 1998, first accessed 01 January 2005, <>, Source page: Anderson  [AotW citation 39]