b. 19/06/1845 Mexico City, Mexico. d. 22/08/1922 Albany, New York.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 15/01/1865 Fort Fisher, North Carolina.
Anderson was born June 19, 1845 in Mexico City but by the beginning of the Civil War was working as a farmer in New York. He enlisted for service in the military from Schenectady on August 31, 1864 as a private into Company K of the 142nd New York Infantry. Anderson has the unusual, but not unique, distinction of being an African American soldier who served in a white Civil War regiment. On January 15, 1865, Anderson participated in the Union's second attack on Fort Fisher in North Carolina. General Adelbert Ames recommended all thirteen men for the Medal of Honor, but his report was misplaced and the medals not issued.
Forty-nine years after the end of the war, in 1914, Anderson hired a lawyer in an effort to receive the Medal of Honor. One of the other soldiers in the palisade-cutting group, Private Zachariah C. Neahr, had successfully petitioned for the award decades earlier. At Anderson's prompting, the Adjutant General of the Army launched an investigation which uncovered General Ames' letter of recommendation and sought out the other men of the group. Three men, Alaric B. Chapin, George Merrill, and Dewitt C. Hotchkiss, were found to be still alive and were, along with Anderson, again recommended for the medal. Anderson, Merrill, and Chapin were each issued the Medal of Honor on December 28, 1914; Hotchkiss' recommendation was overlooked a second time, and he was never decorated.
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Private Bruce Anderson, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 15 January 1865, while serving with Company K, 142d New York Infantry, in action at Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Private Anderson voluntarily advanced with the head of the column and cut down the palisading.
BURIAL LOCATION: GREEN HILL CEMETERY, AMSTERDAM, NEW YORK.
SECTION 33, GRAVE 1375