Robert Anderson was born in 1825. After graduating from the Military Academy at West Point he saw action in the Seminole War (1838-42) and the Mexican War (1846-48) where he received a brevet for bravery. Seriously wounded in the conflict with Mexico, Anderson served on a number of boards and commissions before taking command of the defenses of Charleston harbor in 1860.
President Jefferson Davis took the view that after a state seceded, federal forts became the property of the state. On 12th April, 1861, General Pierre T. Beauregard demanded that Anderson surrender Fort Sumter. Anderson replied that he would be willing to leave the fort in two days when his supplies were exhausted. Beauregard rejected this offer and ordered his Confederate troops to open fire. After 34 hours of bombardment the fort was severely damaged and Anderson was forced to surrender.
Anderson was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and served as commander of the Department of Kentucky (28th May to 15th August, 1861) and Department of Cumberland (15th August, 1861 to 8th October, 1861). Anderson, who had never fully recovered fully from the wounds he received in the Mexican War was forced to retire from the United States Army on 27th October, 1863.
Major General Anderson was invited to return to Fort Sumter when it officially returned to federal control on 14th April, 1865.
Robert Anderson died in 1871.