George Burgwyn Anderson (April 12, 1831 – October 17, 1862) was a career military officer, serving first in the antebellum U.S. Army and then dying from wounds inflicted during the American Civil War while a general officer in the Confederate Army. He was among six generals killed or mortally wounded at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862.
George B. Anderson, the oldest son of planter William E. Anderson and his wife Frances Eliza Burgwyn, was born near Hillsboro, North Carolina. Anderson was the second cousin of Col. Henry K. Burgwyn of the 26th North Carolina. He entered the Caldwell Institute, where he graduated at the top of his class. While attending the University of North Carolina, he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy and graduated tenth of forty-three cadets in the Class of 1852. He was brevetted as a second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Dragoons and trained at the cavalry school at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Anderson was promoted to second lieutenant on March 21, 1854.
Military career and marriage
Following his training, Anderson was sent to California to assist in the survey of a proposed railroad route before joining his regiment at Fort Chadbourne in Texas. On December 13, 1855, he was promoted to first lieutenant. He commanded his cavalry troop in the march from Texas across the plains to Fort Riley, Kansas. In 1858, he was the adjutant of the regiment while serving in the Utah Territory during the Utah War and promoted to Captain. In 1859, he was ordered to Louisville, Kentucky, for duty as a recruiting officer. There, he met and married Mildred Ewing. He also served another stint as Adjutant from August 1858 to September 1859.
Civil War service
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Anderson resigned his U.S. Army commission on April 25, 1861 and returned home. The Governor of North Carolina, John Willis Ellis, appointed him as colonel of the 4th North Carolina Infantry on July 16. Anderson commanded the Confederate garrison at Manassas, Virginia from October 14, 1861 to March 25, 1862. Anderson capably led his regiment at the Battle of Williamsburg in May 1862 and was rewarded a month later with a promotion to brigadier general on June 9. He was assigned command of a brigade in Major General D.H. Hill's division. In the Seven Days Battles, Anderson led his brigade at Gaines Mill. During the Battle of Malvern Hill on July 1, Anderson commanded both his own brigade and Brig. Gen Winfield Featherston's brigade of James Longstreet's division, as Featherston had been wounded the previous day at Glendale and his brigade's officer corps, having been decimated in the fighting, contained only inexperienced majors and captains. Anderson himself was wounded at Malvern Hill and command of his brigade fell to Col. Charles Tew of the 2nd North Carolina. While recovering, he was part of the defenses around Richmond, Virginia in July 1862, serving in the 4th Brigade of Major General G.W. Smith's Division.
Maryland Campaign and death
Now able to return to active duty, Anderson resumed his brigade command in time for the Maryland Campaign. He fought at the Battle of South Mountain before marching into the Cumberland Valley to Sharpsburg, Maryland, as the Army of Northern Virginia concentrated. During the subsequent Battle of Antietam, Anderson's veteran North Carolinians defended a portion of the Sunken Road (known as "Bloody Lane") against repeated Union attacks. A Minié ball struck Anderson near his ankle, injuring it badly. Anderson was transported to Shepherdstown and then by wagon up the Shenandoah Valley to Staunton, Virginia, to recuperate. He was eventually shipped by train to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he died following surgery to amputate the infected foot.
Anderson is buried in Historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh.