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First Name: Richard

Last Name: Anderson

Birthplace: Hanover County, VA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Continental Army (1775 - 1784)

Middle Name: Clough

Date of Birth: 12 January 1750

Date of Death: 26 October 1826

Rank: Colonel

Years Served:
Richard Clough Anderson

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


Richard Clough Anderson
Colonel, Continental Army

Virginia Continental Line

Richard Clough Anderson was born on 12 January 1750 in Hanover County, VA.

Anderson was 25 when the American Revolution began in 1775. On 16 March 1776, he became a Captain in the Virginia Continental Line, and fought in the battles of White Plains, Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, Savannah, Charleston and Yorktown. He also endured the hard winter at Valley Forge, making him a veritable walking, talking, history of the Revolution.

Anderson and his company fired the first shots at the Battle of Trenton, routing a 15-man Hessian outpost. A few days later, when Washington re-crossed the Delaware and fighting began with the British Army under Cornwallis at Assunpink Creek, Anderson was wounded in both thighs by a "yager ball" a bullet from the large bore rifles carried by Hessian Jagers. A friend put him on a horse-drawn gun carriage and he followed the American Army to Princeton. Beside him on the gun carriage lay another wounded Virginia officer, Lt. James Monroe. While recovering in a Philadelphia hospital, Anderson contracted smallpox but survived to accept an appointment as Major in the First Virginia Line.

At the 1779 siege of Savannah, Anderson led a charge on an enemy redoubt and was badly wounded by a blow from a British officer's sword which knocked him off the parapet. Carried back to camp, he met the dying Casimir Pulaski, who gave Anderson his sword. It became a family treasure. Anderson was still convalescing in a Charleston hospital when the City surrendered to the British in 1780. After nine months of less than harsh imprisonment, he was exchanged in February 1781 and became Aide-de-Camp to the Marquis de Lafayette. He played a key role in advising the Marquis in the complicated fighting against Cornwallis's invasion of Virginia.

When Cornwallis retreated to Yorktown, and Washington arrived to begin the historic siege, he appointed Anderson Adjutant General with the temporary rank of Colonel. After the British surrender, the rank was confirmed and Anderson was given command of the Third Virginia Line. He stayed in the Army until 1783, departing after seven and a half years of service. A portrait of him at this time conveys his tough, defiant, savvy spirit.

In 1784, Anderson migrated to Kentucky, where he soon acquired a 500-acre plantation in Jefferson County. His mansion, which he called Soldiers Retreat, became famous for its hospitality. Andrew Jackson and Aaron Burr were among his celebrity guests. He accompanied Lafayette throughout Kentucky when the Marquis returned for his triumphant tour of the nation in 1824-25.

Anderson married Elizabeth Clark, sister of George Rogers Clark, by whom he had five children. When she died in 1795, he married Sarah Marshall, a cousin of Chief Justice John Marshall, and produced another 12 children. Among his sons was Major Robert Clough Anderson, Jr., who was in command of Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, when the Confederates opened fire on it at the outbreak of the Civil War. A later descendant, Larz Anderson, built the palatial mansion in Washington, DC, that serves as the National Headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati.

Death and Burial

Colonel Richard Clough Anderson died on 16 October 1826 at Soldiers Retreat in Jefferson County, KY. He is buried at Anderson Family Cemetery in Louisville, KY.

Honoree ID: 2066   Created by: MHOH




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