Quartermaster, U.S. Navy
Place/Date of Action:during Battle of Charleston Harbor, 8 Apr 1863
Issued: G.O. No. 17, 10 July 1863
Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Crusader and the Keokuk during various actions of those vessels. Carrying out his duties skillfully while on board the U.S.S. Crusader, Q.M. Anderson, on all occasions, set forth the greatest intrepidity and devotion. During the attack on Charleston, while serving on board the U.S.S. Keokuk, Q.M. Anderson was stationed at the wheel when shot penetrated the house and, with the scattering of the iron, used his own body as a shield for his commanding officer.
The USS Keokuk, on which was Quartermaster Anderson, was part of a nine ship flotilla, including the USS New Ironsides and seven monitors (Catskill, Montauk, Nahant, Nantucket, Passaic, Patapsco, and Weehawken), set to attack Charleston, South Carolina on April 7th, 1863. The battle began at noon, but obstructions in the harbor and a strong tide made the ships unmanageable, and accurate fire from the coastal forts quickly turned the attack into a failure. The ironclads received a heavy pounding, one the Keokuk did not recover from. Struck by some ninety shells, she was kept afloat through the night, but sank the following morning, with all of her crew saved.
He filed his naturalization papers in 1866, and became a US citizen on 23 Nov 1866. He was a resident of Portsmouth by this time, having married Mary Walsh there in 1864. Seven children are recorded in city records with this couple, though most of them died young. He remarried to Nellie Walsh in 1886, and they had a son, and he thirdly married in 1897 to Margaret Gannon. For many years he worked as a watchman at the Navy Yard ferry landing, and had a home at 69 Daniel Street.
General Orders and Circulars Issued by the Navy Department, 1863 to 1887, pg 9
Medal of Honor, 1863-1968: pg 20
Naval History and Heritage Command: photo of the Keokuk used above
Wikipedia article about the U.S.S. Keokuk