Friday, February 25, 2011

Black History Month Highlight: Aaron Anderson

Aaron Anderson served on USS Wyandank during the Civil War. While part of a boat crew clearing Mattox Creek, Virginia on 17 March 1865, Anderson performed his duties in the face of devasting enemy fire. For his courage during this action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

According to the 18 March 1865 account included in the Official Records, Anderson recieved special notice of his courage during the boat expedition. According to T.H. Eastman, commanding USS Don, "the crew of th eboat were all black but two," further adding that a white boatswain's mate and Aaron Anderson were specifically "reported to me by Acting Ensign Summers as having assisted him gallantly."

Although little is known of Anderson's life after the war, his actions merited him the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

Medal of Honor citation of Landsman Aaron Anderson (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 13):
"Served on board the U.S.S. Wyandank during a boat expedition up Mattox Creek, 17 March 1865. Participating with a boat crew in the clearing of Mattox Creek, ANDERSON carried out his duties courageously in the face of a devastating fire which cut away half the oars, pierced the launch in many places and cut the barrel off a musket being fired at the enemy."

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