George Burgwyn Anderson

Contributed by: Diane Siniard

Name: George Burgwyn Anderson 
State Served: North Carolina  
Highest Rank: Brig-Gen  
Birth Date: 1831 
Death Date: 1862 
Birth Place: Hillsboro, NC, North Carolina 
Army: Confederacy  
Promotions: Promoted to Full Colonel (4th NC Inf)
Promoted to Full Brig-Gen  
Biography: Brigadier-General George Burgwyn Anderson, the oldest son of
William E. Anderson and his wife, Eliza Burgwyn, was born near
Hillsboro, Orange county, N. C., April, 1831. At an early age
he entered the State university at Chapel Hill, and on
graduation divided first honors with three others of his

He was appointed to the United States military academy when
seventeen years old, and was graduated tenth in a class of
forty-three in 1852, with a commission in the Second dragoons.
After a few months at the cavalry school at Carlisle he was
detailed to assist in the survey of a railroad route in
California, after that duty rejoining his regiment at Fort
Chadbourne, Tex.

Having been promoted first lieutenant in 1855, he commanded
his troop in the march from Texas across the plains to Fort
Riley, Kan.; accompanied his regiment as adjutant in the Utah
expedition of 1858, and remained in that territory until 1859,
when he was ordered on recruiting service at Louisville, Ky.
There he was married in November following to Mildred Ewing,
of that city.

When the crisis of 1861 arrived he promptly resigned, being,
it is said, the first North Carolinian in the old army to take
this step, and offered for the defense of his State the sword
which he had worn with honor, and which descended to him from
his uncle, Capt. John H. K. Burgwyn, U. S. A., who was killed
at Puebla de Taos during the Mexican war.

Anderson was at this time a magnificent specimen of manhood,
full six feet, erect, broad-shouldered, round-limbed, with a
deep, musical voice, and a smile wonderfully gentle and

Being commissioned colonel of the Fourth regiment by Governor
Ellis, he rapidly completed its organization, and soon after
the battle of July 21st, reached Manassas Junction, where he
was appointed post commandant and charged with the
construction of the defensive works.

He remained in command here until March, 1862, and meanwhile
was strongly recommended for promotion to brigadier-general by
Gens. D. H. Hill and J. E. Johnston, but this was for some
reason withheld until forced by the unsurpassed gallantry of
his regiment at the battle of Williamsburg.

It is sufficient evidence of the magnificent training and
discipline of his men to record that out of 520 rank and file
which the regiment carried into action, 462 were killed or
wounded, and out of 27 commissioned officers, all but one were
killed or wounded.

This was not a foredoomed forlorn hope or a charge of a "Light
Brigade," but surpassed any such recorded in history, both in
loss and achievement, for they went in to win and did win.
During this fight Colonel Anderson seized the colors of the
Twenty-seventh Georgia and dashed forward leading the charge,
and though his men, cheering wildly as they followed, lost
scores at every step, their courage was irresistible, and
Anderson planted the colors on the stubbornly-defended

This was witnessed by President Davis, who at once promoted
Anderson to brigadier-general. His brigade included the
Second, Fourth, Fourteenth and Thirtieth North Carolina

During the bloody Seven Days' fighting which followed, he was
conspicuous for skill in detecting the weak points of the
enemy and boldness and persistence in attack. While leading a
desperate charge at Malvern Hill he was severely wounded.

His next serious engagement was at South Mountain, Md., where
his brigade, with the others of D. H. Hill's division, held
back half of McClellan's army till nightfall. Three days
later at Sharpsburg, on September 17, 1862, he was for the
last time distinguished in battle.

During an assault of the enemy, in which a large part of
Hill's division fell back through a mistake in conveying
orders, General Anderson and his men nobly held their line,
until he was struck by a ball in his foot near the ankle,
which brought him to the ground.

It was a most painful injury, and he suffered great agony in
being carried to Richmond and thence to Raleigh, where finally
an amputation was made. He sank under the operation, and died
on the morning of October 16, 1862.

He was a man of spotless purity of life, integrity and honor,
as well as dauntless courage. His ennobling influence upon
the North Carolina soldiery can hardly be overestimated.

Source: Confederate Military History, vol. V, p289 

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