Archer Anderson was the son of Joseph Reid Anderson (1813-1892), and his wife, Sarah Eliza Archer (1819-1881). From 1843, Joseph R. Anderson ran the Tredegar Iron Works at Richmond, VA, and in 1848 purchased the business. It was the largest producer of ordnance for the Confederate government during the Civil War. He later served the Confederacy as a brigadier general.
Archer Anderson attended the University of Virginia in sessions 31-32 and 35 (1854-1856 and 1858-1859). In the intervening years he traveled in Europe and attended the University of Berlin. After graduating in 1859, Anderson returned to Europe, where he married Mary Anne Mason (1834-1928) in Paris. The couple had the following children: John Y. Mason (d. young), Sarah Archer, Archer Jr., Joseph Reid Johnston, Mary Mason, St. George Mason, and Kathleen Graham Anderson.
When the Civil War began, the volunteer company that Archer had belonged to — Company F of the 1st Virginia Volunteers — became part of the 21st Virginia Infantry Regiment. Among many battles, the unit fought in the battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam), where Anderson was seriously wounded. He returned to active duty with the Army of Tennessee at the rank of Colonel and fought at the battle of Chickamauga and the battle of Bentonville, NC.
After the war, Anderson was appointed secretary and treasurer of the Tredegar Company, and after his father’s death in 1892, he became president of the company. He also was active in civic affairs. When Archer Anderson died in 1918, his son Archer Anderson, Jr. became president of the company.
Joseph Reid and Sarah Archer Anderson, and Archer and Mary Anne Mason Anderson, are buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA, along with other members of their family.
- The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar. [website] <http://www.tredegar.org/> (accessed 8/29/2012).
- Ancestry.com. 1850-1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc.
- Anderson tombstones at Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA. Findagrave.com (accessed 8/29/2012).
- Savits, Renee M. “A guide to the Tredegar Iron Works records, 1845-1865,” c2003; in the Virginia Heritage database. <http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/view?docId=lva/vi00493.xml> (accessed 8/29/2012).
- Thomas, Lawrence Buckley. The Thomas book. New York, 1896, p. 556c-556d.