June 1, 1814–September 2, 1895
Born on June 1, 1814 near Louisville, Kentucky, Charles Anderson spent his youth in Kentucky. Anderson's father, Colonel Richard Clough Anderson, was a veteran of the American Revolution who served as aide-de-camp to the Marquis de Lafayette.
Born on June 1, 1814 near Louisville, Kentucky, Charles Anderson spent his youth in Kentucky. Anderson's father, Colonel Richard Clough Anderson, was a veteran of the American Revolution who served as aide-de-camp to the Marquis de Lafayette. Anderson's mother, Sarah Marshall, was a first cousin of John Marshall, a Chief Justice on the United States Supreme Court. Upon the Revolution's conclusion, Richard Anderson embarked upon a career as a surveyor. Anderson was one of several surveyor's of the Virginia Military District in the Northwest Territory and settled in Louisville with his family. Anderson also engaged in farming at his home, which he had named "Soldier's Retreat."
Charles Anderson's parents emphasized the importance of an education, and in 1829, his mother enrolled her son in Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Anderson graduated in 1833 and returned to Louisville that same year to study for a legal career in the law office of Pirtle and Anderson. In 1835, Anderson passed the bar exam and established his own practice in Dayton, Ohio. Here he met and quickly married Eliza J. Brown after a short courtship. Brown's father had served with Anthony Wayne during the Indian ears of the 1790s. Anderson's law practice soon flourished, and local voters elected him Montgomery County, Ohio's prosecuting attorney. Anderson also engaged in farming.
In 1844, Anderson expanded his interests, becoming involved in politics on a larger scale by winning election to the Ohio Senate. Anderson was a member of the Whig Party, and as a senator, he advocated additional rights for African Americans, including the repeal of Ohio's black laws. Unfortunately for Anderson, his fellow politicians rejected his efforts. While a number of Ohioans belonged to the abolition movement, the majority of state residents did not believe in equality for African Americans with whites. Anderson also was a major proponent of a new statehouse for Ohio. Anderson did not seek reelection in 1846, choosing to leave office. He then spent several months in Europe, especially in Austria, resting.
In 1848, Anderson moved from Dayton to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he opened a law practice with Rufus King. He remained in Cincinnati for the next seven or eight years, when he returned to Dayton. In 1859, Anderson moved with his family to the vicinity of San Antonio, Texas. Suffering from ill health, Anderson hoped that Texas' warmer climate would help him regain his health. In Texas, Anderson engaged in farming but also quickly strained relationships with his neighbors. In 1860, Anderson addressed a sizable crowd in San Antonio. He called on his fellow Texans to remain loyal to the United States, maintaining the "perpetuity of the national Union." Many people in attendance supported secession, and Anderson and his family members soon began to receive physical threats for their pro-Union views. Anderson sold his property in Texas and attempted to flee to Mexico, but he and his family were intercepted by pro-Confederate Texans, who had Anderson jailed in San Antonio. Anderson eventually escaped, fled to Mexico, and secured passage back to Dayton.
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln sent Anderson on a diplomatic mission to Great Britain. Lincoln directed Anderson to engage in a speaking tour of England, educating British citizens on Union war aims. Lincoln hoped that Anderson would build support for the Union war effort, convincing British citizens and government leaders to not send monetary or military aid to the Confederate States of America.
Upon Anderson's return to Ohio in 1862, Ohio Governor David Tod commissioned Anderson as a colonel in the 93rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Anderson was severely wounded at the Battle of Stones River, which was fought between the Union's Army of the Cumberland and the Confederacy's Army of Tennessee from December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863. Fearing that his wound was fatal, Anderson resigned his commission and returned to Ohio in January 1863.
Anderson recovered fully from his wound and, in 1863, resumed his political career, running for Ohio's lieutenant governor's office on the Union Party ticket with gubernatorial candidate John Brough. Brough and Anderson easily won the election against Clement Vallandigham, the Peace Democrat candidate, Copperhead, and eventual commander of the Sons of Liberty. Anderson's term as lieutenant governor was consumed with war-related issues, including protecting Ohio from Confederate attack and fulfilling Ohio's draft requirement for the Union military.
On August 29, 1865, Brough died unexpectedly, and Anderson assumed the governor's office. He remained as Ohio's governor until Brough's term expired on January 8, 1866. With the war having ended in April 1865, Anderson's few months as governor were uneventful. He retired from politics in January 1866 and returned to Dayton, where he resumed his legal practice and engaged in farming. In 1870, Anderson moved to Lyon County, Kentucky. He died on September 2, 1895 in Kuttawa, Kentucky. He is buried in the Kuttawa Cemetery in Kuttawa.
Anderson's brother was Robert Anderson, the Union commander of Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Another brother, William Marshall Anderson, supported the Confederacy during the Civil War and attempted to establish a colony in Mexico for ex-Confederates during 1865 and 1866.