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07/26/2021 01:21 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate

John Philipp Sanderson

Photo credit:

Portrait:  J..P. Sanderson, Roger Hunt Collection, RGS-CWP82.89, USAMHI; also: “,” 13 January 1861, CW, 4:174-75,




Session Position District Party
1845 7 Whig
1847 7 Whig
 Counties   Lancaster, Lebanon


1818 - 1864

Born in Lebanon County, February 13, 1818, John Sanderson was the son of Thomas and Catherine Sanderson.  He received a classical education; studied law; was admitted to the Lebanon County bar, 1839; owner and editor of the Lebanon Democrat in the early forties, and published the Philadelphia Daily News with future Congressman John W. Killinger and Edward M. Paxson.  Elected to the state House of Representatives in 1845, he served in the state Senate, 1846-1848, became Simon Cameron’s chief political advisor and press chief, and in the 1857 campaign – operative for gubernatorial candidate Isaac Hazlehurst.  In January 1861, Sanderson, by now a “confidential friend of Cameron’s,” visited President Lincoln with U.S. Senator Edgar Cowan, persuading the commander in chief to appoint Cameron Secretary of War.  A reluctant Lincoln finally agreed.  Sanderson received a position as a clerk for the United States War Department, 1861, resigning to become Lieutenant Colonel of the 15th U.S. Infantry, earning recognition for meritorious action at Shiloh, helping establish instant fame for the 15th in the subsequent battles of Murfreesborough, Chickamauga, and Atlanta.  The four red badges on the 15th Crest (below) symbolize these four encounters.  Sanderson received a promotion to Colonel, July 1863; was appointed Provost Marshal-General of the Department of Missouri, February 1864; and led an investigation into the secret, subversive operations of the northern and western political organization known as the “Knights of the Golden Circle,” or the “Order of American Knights.”  The Senator published Views and Opinions of an American Statesman on Foreign Immigration (1843) and Republican Landmarks (1856).  The Honorable John Philip Sanderson passed away in St. Louis, Missouri, October 14, 1864; interred in Springfield, Ohio with his wife.