Rank and organization: Private, Company H, 18th Massachusetts Infantry.
Place and date: At Weldon Railroad, Va. - 21 August 1864.
Citation: Capture of battle flag of 27th South Carolina (C.S.A.) and the color bearer.
Frederick C. Anderson: an 18 year old Farmer from Raynham, MA, he enlisted on August 22, 1861 and was mustered into the 18th Mass. Infantry on August 24, 1861. Per regiment records he was 5 ft. 3 in. in height, with a light complexion, blue eyes, and sandy hair. He was recorded as having been engaged in the following actions: Antietam, MD on Sept. 17, 1862, Shephardstown, VA, Fredericksburg, VA, Chancellorsville, VA, Upperville, and Gettysburg. He re-enlisted for three years service on January 1, 1864 at Beverly Ford, VA, receiving a $325.00 bonus, Capt. Edward M. Onion the re-enlisting officer. He was also engaged during the Campaign against Richmond May-July 1864. He was awarded the Medal of Honor on August 21, 1864 for capturing a battle flag at Weldon Railroad on Sept. 6, 1864 (citation cited below). He was transferred to the 32nd Mass. Infantry on October 21, 1864 with the remnants of the 18th Mass. and was mustered out of the army as a member of the 32nd Mass. He died prior to Oct. 15, 1884 when his wife applied for a widow's pension,
which was not granted to her.
From the pages of the New York Herald
September 16, 1864
Presentation of United States Medals for Bravery.
THE FIFTH CORPS.
Mr. James B. Wardell-Dispatch.
HEADQUARTERS - FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
SIX MILE HOUSE, Va., Sept. 13, 1864.
MEDALS FOR THE BRAVE
One of the most interesting performances that ever occurred in the Army of the Potomac, and one that will perhaps have the most beneficial effect upon the men in the field, inciting them to nobler deeds of bravery and daring (if it were possible for an army to be more brave than ours), took place to- day at these headquarters. The occasion of it was the presentation by Major General Meade of three medals to three enlisted men for their bravery in each of them capturing from the rebels their colors. This was in pursuance of an act of Congress passed some time ago, rewarding enlisted men by presenting them with medals for deeds of valor performed in the field. This is the very first occasion of such a presentation, and, being such, unusual interest and importance attach to it. The very best results from this movement on the part of the War Department may be looked for. The incentive this will give to enlisted men, showing them, as it does, that their services are highly appreciated, and the more so as they show themselves worthy of that appreciation, will prove of the utmost consequence, both to us as a nation and to them as representatives of its army.
THE SCENE OF THE PRESENTATION
To-day was chosen by Major General Meade for the presentation, and never could there have been a finer one for any outdoor scene. The spot chosen was General Warren headquarters, and, although the order for the presentation did not arrive until eleven o'clock this forenoon, through the exertions of General Warren and his adjutant general, Lieutenant Colonel Locke, everything was in readiness by half-past three, at which hour General Crawford's division was drawn up in front of headquarters, an impromptu platform erected, which was gayly decked off with flags, among which were the captured rebel flags, bands of music stationed, and everything done to make the occasion one long to be remembered and talked over by those who witnessed it.
THE GENERALS PRESENT
At four o' clocke Generals Meade, Warren and Hancock ascended the platform, Generals Crawford, Ayres, Griffin, Baxter, Hunt and Bragg, with their staffs, standing near, as also a large number of regimental officers.
GENERAL WARREN, in a loud, clear voice, stated the object for which they had thus met together, and called the names of those who were to be honored, desiring them to come forward to the platform. First Sergeant John Shilling, Company H, Third regiment Delaware Volunteers, who captured a South Carolina flag; private F. C. Anderson, Company H, Eighteenth Massachusetts Veteran Volunteers, who captured the flag of the Twenty-seventh South Carolina, and private George H. Reed, Company E, Eleventh Pennsylvania Veteran volunteers, who captured the flag of the Twenty-fourth North Carolina came forward to the platform, and presenting arms, came to a shoulder.
MAJOR GENERAL MEADE, commanding the Army of the Potomac, then arose, and during the utmost quiet and most respectful attention, addressed the soldiers as follows: -
OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS OF FIFTH CORPS - I have to-day to perform a most pleasant and gratifying duty - to present to certain meritorious non-commissioned officers and privates medals of honor, conferred on them by the War Department for distinguished conduct on the field of battle, in capturing flags from the enemy. It has been customary in all ages for nations to commemorate and reward the gallantry and devotion of their sons when engaged in the holy cause of defending their country. In the Word of God some of the most beautiful passages of the Psalmist are devoted to commemorating and praising the deeds of the warriors of old; for even the chosen people of God were, in the execution of His will, compelled to take up arms and battle for their cause. The histories of the ancient republics of Greece and Rome are filled with accounts of the honors bestowed upon these warriors, crowning them with wreaths of laurels, by triumphal processions, in which were exhibited the trophies and prisoners captured in battle, the whole population turning out to do honor to these heroes. In more modern times nations have adopted various modes of conferring distinctions for military services, by conferring military rank, titles of nobility, estates and appropriations of money; on the private soldiers medals and other decorations, together with pensions and endowing institution, where the aged and disabled soldier can live in comfort and quiet. Nor has our own country been remiss in this respect, notwithstanding the oft quoted adage that republics are ungrateful. Besides numerous votes of thanks by Congress, the gratitude of our people for the devotion displayed by soldiers on the battle field has been testified in many ways - States, counties and cities have presented lands, houses, &c. The fairs devoted to raising funds for the Sanitary Commission have been made the means of honoring the brave and distinguished; and during the session before the last Congress passed a resolution authorizing the Secretary of War to confer on distinguished non-commissioned officers and privates medals of honor. This is the first occasion on which the men of this army have been so honored; and I have deemed it proper, through your corps commander, to call you together, that the conferring of this distinction might be witnessed by the comrades of the recipients, and that the influence of their example might serve to incite others to emulate their worthy conduct. I wished, more over to say to you that, although this is the first occasion of the presentation of these medals of honor, I trust, and have reason to believe, the precedent thus made will be soon followed by many other presentations, and that I am now preparing a list of names of enlisted men who have from time to time, since my assuming command of this army, distinguished themselves by acts of gallantry in the field, and whose services have been reported officially to the Department. This list I shall transmit to the Secretary of War, and urge on him the justice, and expediency of sending medals of honor to all mentioned therein. It has always been my desire promptly to reward the good conduct of the private soldiers of the army. I have always borne testimony to the devotion and bearing of the men of my command, and upon all occasions like the present where I have had an opportunity to give public expression to my views I have stated it was to the heroism and gallantry of the private soldiers that our past success in this war was due and upon which our future success depended. I know, and you know, that, whatever may be the talents or the genius of a commanding general, and however well laid his plans, unless he is sustained by the brave hearts and stout arms of his soldiers success will not attend his efforts. I therefore take this opportunity, while reminding you of how much depends on the individual exertions of each one of you, to say to you that our countrymen look to you for renewed exertions, to unceasing and persistent efforts to overcome our enemies and bring this war to a close; and I trust the medals now presented will serve as incentives to urge you to emulate and surpass the deeds of your comrades now about to be honored. Sergeant John H. Shilling, Third Delaware; private F. C. Anderson, Eighteenth Massachusetts, and private George W. Reed, Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, I now present you with the medals of honor, conferred on your by the Hon. Secretary of War, by virtue of the authority of the Congress of the United States, for your conspicuous gallantry and good conduct displayed in capturing on the field of battle flags from the enemy. Take these medals, and wear them with honorable pride. Preserve them and hand them down to your posterity and testimonials of the faithful manner in which you have discharged your duties and served your country in its hour of trials. Accompanying each medal you will find a letter from the Secretary of War, to which you are called to reply in acknowledgment. Your replies, when made, I shall be happy to transmit to the Department. And now, fellow soldiers of the Fifth corps, let me again urge you to emulate the example of these honored men, and by your future efforts not only deserve similar rewards, but aid in the great work in which we are all engaged - the overcoming of the enemies of our country and the restoration of peace and happiness to the whole land. Dismissing as now useless to discuss all questions as to the origin of this war, we have daily and hourly evidences that it exists and that it can only be terminated by hard fighting and by determined efforts to overcome the armed foes of the government. Nor do I think it proper to raise here any questions as to the policy on which this war should be conducted. With these questions, as soldiers, we have nothing to do. Their discussion among you is not only useless, but pernicious. Our policy is to fight, and the only question as to the conduct of the war pertinent for us to discuss is how best we can defeat those who are in arms with the avowed purpose of destroying that government under which, for three-quarters of a century, we had lived a united and happy people, almost reaching a point when we would have ranked among the first Powers on the earth. Our duty is to compel submission to the laws, enacted with the consent of the very people who now rebel against them, on the special plea of self-government. This duty is no easy task, as we here present well know; for it is no more than right to admit that our foes fight with a bravery and determination worthy of a better cause. But it is a duty which I know you will all discharge at every sacrifice, and I earnestly pray the Ruler of the Universe that in His infinite wisdom and mercy He may so order events that, through your bravery and devotion to the cause, our enemies may be made to yield, and the cause of truth and justice prevail, so that, peace being restored to the land, the flag of our fathers honored and respected from the St. Lawrence to the Rio Grande, we may be enabled to return to our homes and families, to receive those honors a grateful country is ready to bestow.
CHEERS FOR THE GENERAL
Upon the conclusion of the address General Warren stepped forward and asked the "to give three hearty cheers to show the General they had a heart to appreciate his kindness, which was done, and they were given with a will that must have acquainted the "Johnnies" with the fact that something unusual was going on. The band struck up "Hail Columbia," the troops were marched off to their quarters, and General Warren invited his guests to partake of a collation, which was not the least agreeable feature of the proceedings.
Thus pleasantly passed an occasion of interest to many both in and out of the army, which, if followed up and full justice be done to our brave boys by the War Department, bids fair to accomplish the most beneficial results.
CAPTURED REBEL FLAGS
These three flags were captured in the late assaults made by the enemy to retake the Weldon Railroad, and are the latest captures made. The War Department have in their possession nearly two hundred rebel flags, for which it is indebted to our soldiers, and which call for a like expression of sentiment to that given to-day.
The Adjutant of the Third Delaware, Lieutenant M. Eyre, also captured a flag from a South Carolina regiment at the same time the others were captured; but, being a commissioned officers he does not come under the order awarding medals, as that relates only to enlisted men.