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Edward Clifford Anderson, SR

Edward Clifford Anderson, SR

The basics
Quick Facts
Countries Georgia
Gender male
Birth 8 November 1815 (Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia, U.S.A.)
Death 6 January 1883
Star sign ScorpioScorpio
Edward Clifford Anderson, SR
The details

General Edward Clifford Anderson, SR, (November 8, 1815 – January 6, 1883) was a naval officer in the United States Navy, Mayor of Savannah, and a Brigadier General in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He commanded Old Fort Jackson near Savannah, Georgia before its capture in 1864. He was elected Mayor of Savannah, Georgia nine times, before and after the war. He was the first Mayor to be elected after the civil war on December 6, 1865.

Early life and the US Navy

Edward Clifford Anderson was the ninth child of George Anderson and Eliza Clifford Wayne. One of his brothers was John Wayne Anderson, who commanded the Republican Blues for over thirty years. His grandfather, Captain George Anderson served in the American Revolutionary War and died aboard his ship, Georgia Paquet on a trip to Great Britain in 1775. Growing up around the docks of Savannah, he dreamed of being a famous naval officer much against his father's wishes. He attended the Round Hill School in Massachusetts from 1824 to 1830 before returning to Savannah, Georgia. Fulfilling his dream, he was appointed acting midshipman by Secretary of the Navy Levi Woodbury on October 20, 1833 he served on USS St. Louis for a year. On November 24, 1834 was commissioned midshipman and was assigned to 'Old Iron-sides', USS Constitution. He began keeping a diary during his tenure aboard Constitution, and added to it over the years, documenting his life and those of his shipmates. He served in the Mexican American War and eventually heeded his fathers call to resign from the Navy in 1849, returning again to his native Savannah. He was elected Mayor of Savannah for the first time in 1855.

Civil War

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Anderson was sent to Richmond by Governor Joseph E. Brown, to purchase ordinance from the Tredegar Iron Works for the State of Georgia. Soon after, Anderson was personally summoned to Montgomery, Alabama by the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, who commissioned him a major in the Corps of Artillery. He was ordered at once to set sail for Europe, as a confidential agent to buy war material for the Confederacy. In England, he was stalked continually by spies hired by the United States Consul General, Charles Francis Adams. Anderson described his position as the Secretary of War in England. He and fellow Georgian James D. Bulloch negotiated with the British for the sale of warships and blockade runners to the South. Upon learning of the Southern victory at the First Battle of Bull Run, Anderson raised a Confederate Flag upon the rooftop of a friend's house in Liverpool. Their success in both exporting arms, and running the blockage prompted other British firms to begin blockade-running efforts. Returning home in November, 1861, aboard the newly purchased Merchant Steamship Fingal with Bulloch, they delivered much needed arms and ammunition. Anderson was promoted, and served as "Commander of the River Batteries" as a part of General Robert E. Lee's staff. He was a member of the Confederate high command at Savannah until the end of the war. At this time, Anderson was placed in command of Fort James Jackson, becoming the Confederate Headquarters for River Defenses, including the Confederate Navy.

Fort James Jackson (also called Old Fort Jackson), was authorized to be constructed by President Thomas Jefferson between 1808 and 1812, was built on top of an old earthen battery from the American Revolution. At the time, war with Great Britain or France seemed likely, and Fort Jackson was the best site from which to protect Savannah from attack by sea. In the American Civil War, it was one of three forts protecting Savannah, the others being Fort Pulaski and Fort McAllister standing in Confederate defiance of the Union naval blockade. Fort McAllister was commanded at different times, by two of his nephews, General Robert H. Anderson and Major George Wayne Anderson who surrendered the fort to Sherman's forces. The loss of Fort McAllister opened the way to the sea for General Sherman, allowing him to link up with the Union Navy, resupply his forces, and bring the City of Savannah to its knees.

Fort James Jackson

Supervising the forts under his command, he was constantly sought out for his artillery expertise. During General Sherman's March to the Sea Anderson was placed in charge of the City of Charleston in December 1864. He was involved in the planning and execution of the city's evacuation before his transfer to Augusta, GA before returning to Savannah to lead refugees out of his beloved city.

Within a month, a state convention of elected delegates was called to the state capitol in Milledgeville, by the Provisional Governor of Georgia, James Johnson. Edward Clifford Anderson was one of the Chatham County representatives at the convention, where a unique resolution was passed calling for a special election for a Mayor and a Board of Aldermen for the City of Savannah. On December 6, 1865, in the only balloting which had been allowed in the city since its surrender, Edward Clifford Anderson was elected the first post-war Mayor of Savannah.

Politics and government service

Republican Blues 1860

Edward Clifford Anderson's second term of Mayor began on October 15, 1866. The city was enduring many tribulations during the Reconstruction Era, including an outbreak of cholera. Mayor Anderson personally responded to many pleas for help and assistance, with the City Council eventually reimbursing him for money he paid out personally to charity. Anderson levied taxes on sales, freight, and the banks to enlarge and reorganize the police force, under the command of his now famous nephew, General Robert H. Anderson. The city market and jail were made usable once more, with streets, sidewalks and sewers restored. In March, 1866, the Savannah Board of Education was inaugurated to educate the children of Savannah, under the direction of the Mayor. Business and commerce were among the top priorities for the new Mayor, along with removing obstructions from the river, expanding the docks, and finishing the Georgia Central Railroad.

To improve the lives of ordinary citizens, Mayor Anderson held a "Mayor's Court" each day, to hear and decide cases related to drunkenness, theft, wife-beating, murder, rioting and other public disturbances. This good governance served the city well, as it recovered from the damages of the war. At the end of his third term in office, Anderson did not offer himself up for re-election. On the afternoon of October 20, 1869, the police force, in full dress uniform marched to Anderson's home to salute their former commander. He served on the Board of Directors of the Southern Bank, was Director of the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad, and on the Board of Directors of the Central Railroad and Banking Company. The Savannah City Council sent Anderson in secret to Washington DC, to protest Governor Rufus Bullock and his efforts to have Georgia remanded back to military control. During that time, he met with both President Ulysses S. Grant and General William Tecumseh Sherman in an attempt to have the Governor removed, to no avail.

In 1873, Anderson was convinced to run for Mayor once again, winning his eighth election to the office. On January 28, 1873, the Savannah News published a story detailing Anderson's political career, stating that "He is justly regarded as one of Savannah's most useful and honored citizens, and his election... at this crisis in our public affairs is hailed as a good omen of the future." During this term in office, he succeeded in passing bonds to cover the city's debt, and working with the United States Government to dredge the Savannah River channel, and expanded telegraph lines to locations like Tybee Island. His focus on business and commerce secured re-election for a second two-year term.

In 1877, Anderson did not offer himself for re-election, now being sixty-two years of age. His health slowly began to deteriorate, but he continued his civic interests, serving as president of both the Savannah Board of Education and the Chatham Academy Board of Trustees. He was also a member of the governing board of the Georgia Historical Society, The hospital for Negroes, the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations. His name was submitted twice for appointment as Secretary of the Navy but was not selected. That November, he was confined to home by illness, with his passing on January 6, 1883, at the age of sixty-eight.

The Savannah News printed a long obituary emphasizing Anderson's career as an office in the United States Navy and the Confederate States Army. They stated that "this community has lost one of its most highly respected and useful citizens". A week later, the Savannah Board of Education published a separate eulogy to his memory, extolling their former President's unselfish devotion to the encouragement of learning. His funeral was attended by the Mayor and Aldermen of the city, the Board of Education, the United States Navy, the Police and Fire departments and many others. He is buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery, in lot 540.

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