Colonel Anderson was the head of the Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond, Viriginia, famous for constructing the ironclad ship, the Merrimac, which was used by the Confederates against the Union's ship, the Monitor, in the first battle between ironclad ships in 1862. His wife, Mary, was the daughter of John Young Mason (1799-1859), a distinguished Virginia politician and diplomat. John Mason variously served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1823-1827, the US State House of Representatives from 1831-1837, the Judge of the US District Court for Virginia from 1837-1844, Attorney General of the US from 1844-1849 and the US Secretary of Navy under Presidents Polk and Tyler. He was also a member of the Virginia Constitutional Convention and the Richmond Whig said of him "Fat, ruddy and fifty-five, comes the President of the Convention, a fair, pleasant speaking man, with one of those voices Shakespeare so much commends in women...He has the habit of success." (Nov. 6, 1850 as quoted in the Dictionary of American Biography).