Union General Robert Anderson

Historical Marker #534 in Louisville notes the birthplace of Robert Anderson, the commander of Ft. Sumter and the "first Union hero of [the] Civil War."

Born in 1805 at "Soldiers Retreat" in Jefferson County, Anderson was a West Point graduate and Mexican War veteran. In November 1860, immediately before the Civil War, Anderson took command of Federal troops in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.

Five months later, South Carolina demanded that Anderson surrender Ft. Sumter, one of the Charleston Harbor strongholds. Anderson refused, and then withstood a thirty-four hour bombardment before surrendering. Anderson's stand made him a hero in the North, and Lincoln promoted him to brigadier general.

Anderson returned to Kentucky, where he became military commander of the state. However, poor health forced him to relinquish the post after only a few months.

In April 1865, although he had retired from active service, Anderson returned to Ft. Sumter and raised the United States' flag over the battered bastion. Therefore, this Kentuckian's actions signified both the beginning and the end of the Civil War.