Anna Ella Carroll

Tour Dorchester





For more than sixty years, American scholars have tried to deny Anna Ella Carroll any role in the Tennessee River campaign, defined as the combined movement of army and naval forces south through the Tennessee River Valley in February 1862, commanded by BG Ulysses S. Grant and Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote, that resulted in the capture of Confederate Forts Henry and Donelson on February 6 and 16, respectively. As MG William T. Sherman stated, these were the “first real” victories for the Union in the Civil War and constituted the major line of invasion into the Confederacy by U. S. forces in the West.

Scholars have further questioned Carroll’s advisory role with the Lincoln administration itself, given that only four letters are extant between Lincoln and she. In particular, writers have misstated the facts of an August 14, 1862 letter to Lincoln concerning a request for $50,000 for a publication program. A July 2 draft by Carroll confirms her intent. Writers have also failed to note letters written to Carroll by other officials and members of the Lincoln administration. It is also an indisputable fact that over time many of Carroll’s letters were stolen or destroyed.


Given the above, this paper will demonstrate:

RE: the Tennessee River military campaign of 1862, that:

  • Anna Ella Carroll was the only one to have gotten placed a strategic plan for the West in the hands of Pres. Abraham Lincoln that was adopted by his administration in January 1862 to be implemented under War Order No. 1, effective date, February 22.

  • Physical proof of the existence of this plan exists, viz., a primary document and the statements of biographer Sarah Ellen Blackwell. Blackwell explained that Carroll’s war memoranda were abstracted from congressional files, but ordered to be printed by succeeding committees from copies made from Carroll’s originals, making those official printings the same as original copies. Carroll’s legislative file is held by the National Archives.

  • Corroborating evidence of Lincoln’s personal involvement in the planning of the Tennessee River advance confirms that the administration adopted Carroll’s plan; this includes confirmation of Hollister Noble’s reading of secret agent Judge Lemuel D. Evans’s “confidential notes,” per Evans’s congressional testimony.

  • Claims of other scholars that Edwin M. Stanton was not appointed secretary of war to implement Carroll’s plan and that Sen. Benjamin F. Wade’s letter of April 4, 1876, stating this, was forged by Carroll, are inaccurate. This conclusion is based on actions taken by Lincoln, Wade, and Stanton; testimony of Asst. Secty. of War Thomas A. Scott; the report of the military committee of Gen. E. S. Bragg hearing Carroll’s case in 1881, and the fact that these claims are not confirmed up by other facts. Further, scholars’ claims that dispute Scott’s and Wade’s actions are ultimately based on a necessary conclusion that they, being high appointed and elected officials of the U. S. government, and former Texas Chief Justice (secret agent) Lemuel D. Evans had committed perjury by submitting false testimonial letters and in oral testimony. These authors’ claims are further argued by impugning Carroll’s, Wade’s and Evans’s characters. No reasonable person would come to these conclusions. They represent a sad grasping at straws and seem based on questionable motives.

  • The major fact of Anna Ella Carroll’s claim for compensation due her from the U. S. government for remaining monies owed her under an oral agreement entered into with Asst. Secty. Thomas A. Scott and for her general wartime services, is that four military committees of the U. S. Congress over a period of twenty years all voted in her favor. These committees continued to meet only because the Congress as a whole failed to pass the compensation bills the committees had prepared and submitted for passage. There was never a dispute in the Congress as to the facts that Carroll or others claimed in her memorials. (N. B.: One of these committees did not dispute the facts of her case, but did not recommend compensation, for spurious reasons. This author has not researched floor debates on these bills; yet Carroll’s lawyer, William Warden, wrote in private correspondence that he thought the reason the bills were not being passed was because of Carroll’s identification with the suffrage movement that supported her. Some have speculated similarly that the reason members did not vote for Carroll’s bills was that she was the perfect example of why women should get the vote.)

  • Anna Ella Carroll’s leadership in the American (Know-Nothing) party does not make her a mere “bigot,” as some have claimed. In Maryland, in 1853 when it began, the Know Nothing party was the progressive party in the state, compared to its sole competitor, the Democratic party, as the American party was not proslavery, but was pro-Union and prolabor. Mainly the party tried to prevent the slave holders in the state from gaining control of what would be a proslavery, prosecession state government through its leadership of the Baltimore Catholic vote. The party also sought to clean up municipal corruption and crime and protect the jobs of native workingmen, white and black. The Know-Nothings renounced the Catholic Church for not condemning slavery (the Church had owned slaves in the state); for promoting state funding for parochial schools and opposing Bible-reading societies; and for warring with Italian republican forces under Garibaldi in the latter’s attempt to unify Italy (and wrest control of the papal states from Pope Pius IX).

RE: Anna Ella Carroll’s general involvement with the Lincoln administration, that:

  • Lincoln’s own words and quotes of him verify his regard for Carroll’s political/legal writings;

  • Atty. Gen. Edward Bates demonstrated unqualified support for Carroll’s knowledge of constitutional law; correspondence with other officials demonstrates Carroll’s activities within the administration;

  • Carroll’s request to Lincoln for $50,000 has been misrepresented and is made clear by the text of her letters, in her own hand writing, to the president; claims that Carroll tried to bilk the government for her services for as much as $250,000, after extensive research, similarly have been found to be baseless.

  • In 1885, Carroll’s claim for services was referred to the U. S. Court of Claims. The full text of the case opinion makes clear that the Court judges refused to review primary documents and testimonies and lacked other evidence such as copies of military telegrams, in coming to the conclusion that given this absence of evidcnce, they could not pronounce on the legal merits of Carroll’s claim for reimbursement. However, they determined that Congress, based on a moral conviction, could award Carroll monies and honors. Hence they returned her case to Congress , which was not a verdict, and ipso facto, not a negative one, as some have claimed.

Below find a point by point refutation of arguments made against Carroll’s case. For a full reading of my Great Necessities chapter on the Tennessee River campaign, go to – right sidebar.

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RE: the Tennessee River military campaign fo 1862:


In her 1876 testimony before the congressional committee of Gen. A. S. Williams, Anna Ella Carroll stated that while in St. Louis in the fall of 1861, when working with Judge Lemuel D. Evans, U. S. secret agent for Texas and Mexico: “I determined to inform myself what the [river] pilots thought of the gunboat expedition then preparing to descend. . .[the Mississippi] river. On inquiry I was directed to Mrs. [Charles M.] Scott, then in the hotel, whose husband was a pilot. . . .On his arrival in St. Louis I sent for him. He said it was his opinion and that of all the pilots of these waters that the Mississippi could not be opened by the gunboats. I inquired as to the navigability of the Cumberland and Tennessee. He said at favorable stages of water the gunboats could go the former up as high as Nashville, and the latter at all stages as high as Muscle Shoals in Alabama. The moment he said the Tennessee was navigable for the gunboats the thought flashed upon me that the strongholds of the enemy might be turned at once by diverting the expedition in course of preparation to open the Mississippi up the Tennessee, and, having had frequent conversations with Judge Evans on the military situation, I left the room to communicate this thought, as he had just then called at the hotel , and asked him if it would not have that effect. He concurred that it would, and that it was the move if it was the fact that the Tennessee afforded the navigation; and he accompanied me to interrogate Mr. Scott, to be satisfied as to the feasibility of the Tennessee.” (44/3, House Misc. Documents 179. p. 9)

Regarding the above testimony, two scholars have, in effect, accused Carroll of criminal acts, viz., committing perjury herself, and suborning perjury of Sen. Benjamin F. Wade, chairman of the Committee on the Conduct of the War and Asst. Secty. of War Thomas A. Scott, in order to get them to testify on her behalf. Yet the final 1881 Bragg committee report (44-1 Congress, Senate Report 386, p. 3) stated: “Again, in the Forty-fourth Congress, the Military Committee of the House favorably considered this claim, and Gen. A. S. Williams was prepared to report, and being prevented by want of time, placed on record that this claim is incontestably established, and that the country owes to Miss Carroll a large and honest compensation, both in money and honors, for her national service.” Bragg’s committee recommended a federal pension for Carroll and submitted a bill to that effect. Up until 1897, no bill passed the Congress to reimburse Carroll for monies owed her by the federal government or pay her for services rendered to the Union cause.

Carroll initially went to the Congress asking reimbursement for remaining monies owed for her publication of pamphlets, printed in the tens of thousands, that were written under a verbal contract entered into with Asst. Secty. of War Thomas A. Scott. This agreement was made after Pres. Abraham Lincoln requested she write on behalf of the administration, being a professional pamphleteer and trained in constitutional law by her father Gov. Thomas King Carroll of Maryland (1830).

The main writers who have contested Carroll’s claim are Kenneth P. Williams, author, Lincoln Finds a General, and his article on the Tennessee River campaign and Prof. Janet Coryell in her book, Neither Heroine Nor Fool. In this treatise let me deal with the major contentions.

Specific claims:

1. General research on the Tennessee River campaign

Both Williams and Coryell reinforce most historians’ view that BG Ulysses S. Grant was mainly responsible for the planning and execution of the Tennessee River campaign, in spite of the fact that MG Henry W. Halleck was Grant’s superior and both, as army officers, would have had to have acted within a chain of command that extended to Pres. Abraham Lincoln. Moreover Foote was Grant’s co-commander, senior to him in service, and initially captured Fort Henry alone, Grant’s forces having been delayed by bad weather and roads. Fort Donelson fell to their combined forces.

Both Williams and Coryell cite the wires sent by Foote and Grant to Halleck on January 28, 1862, urging Halleck to take Fort Henry (see copies in Exhibit A below). Historians also cite Grant’s memoirs in which he gave himself credit for the planning and execution. However, according to MG William T. Sherman’s memoirs and war records (Exhibit B), by January 20, Halleck had already stated twice his view that the true line of invasion was the Tennessee River Valley. Memos of January show he and Foote planning the advance.

At this same time, Foote was sending daily reports to Lincoln on the progress of the construction of the mortar boats that could be used on the Mississippi River only. Once Lincoln learned, on January 26, that the mortar boats would not soon be completed, the next day he issued War Order No. 1 (Exhibit C), that called for a total east-west movement of all US forces, including the flotilla at Cairo, Illinois. Carroll claimed, and other documents confirm, that Lincoln initially planned to implement her plan under this order, the execution date being February 22. According to Hollister Noble, the author of Woman with a Sword, and the testimony of secret agent Judge Evans (Exhibit D), Halleck directed the reconnaissance of the Tennessee River by BG C. F. Smith at the end of January, upon Lincoln’s order.

Although these records clearly show Halleck planning the Tennessee River advance, the main point that Carroll and Evans made in testimony was that Carroll’s plan comprised, not just the idea for advancing upon the Tennessee River, but a whole strategic concept to which the importance of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad was key. In Halleck’s memorandum to McClellan on January 20, he does state that a movement upon the Tennessee would turn the Confederate position at Columbus, Kentucky on the Mississippi, and force the evacuation of Bowling Green, but no mention is made of the Memphis- Charleston Railroad. Further his initial orders to Grant of January 30, to immediately move on Fort Henry, were more limited: “Sufficient garrisons must be left to hold these places [points north on the Tennessee River] against an attack from Columbus. . . .Fort Henry should be taken and held at all hazards. . . . .Having invested Fort Henry, a cavalry force will be sent to break up the [Memphis-Ohio] railroad from Paris to Dover,” to prevent an attack from Donelson. Grant’s wire to Halleck on January 29 makes clear that he did not perceive the possible effects of the capture of both forts: “From Fort Henry it will be easy to operate either on the Cumberland, only 12 miles distant, Memphis or Columbus.” (Official Records I:7:121-22).

As noted by Carroll below, the importance of a Tennessee River advance to the railroad was not only that it offered a unique line of invasion, but that by cutting the Memphis-Charleston Railroad, the movement would sever the most secure east-west Confederate rail connection; flank territory north, viz., the whole state of Kentucky, including a number of strongly defended positions on the Mississippi River; and much of western Tennessee. Carroll stated in her memorial (45-2 Congress, House Misc. Document 58, p. 14) that the reason commanding CSA Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston made a stand at Donelson was to gain time to converge his forces south to cover the Memphis-Charleston Railroad. By April 1862, Johnston had moved his forces to Pittsburg Landing to cover the M&C RR. This is where the crucial battle of Shiloh took place, in which Grant was narrowly victorious. Per Carroll a rapid advance further south into northern Alabama would have put Union forces in a position to operate through to Mobile (that would gain them support from the U. S. Navy).

Although not mentioned by Carroll, the capture of Nashville would have opened the door to an early capture of Chattanooga, which was attempted by Gen. Ormsby Mitchel, that would also have flanked Confederate forces in Unionist East Tennessee. However, the failed (secret agent) James J. Andrew’s Raid to disrupt reinforcements from coming north from Atlanta through the destruction of bridges and track, aborted that attempt. Had Chattanooga been strongly taken and held in the spring of 1862, the state of Georgia could have been invaded two years earlier than Sherman did. (See Karl Marx quote on Tennessee at; memoir of William Pittenger, Andrew’s Raider, recipient Medal of Honor.)

Going back to Carroll’s plan, unless a scholar were to consult navy records; Stanton’s and Hay’s Lincoln papers; Noble’s appendix; and congressional documents on Carroll’s case, he or she would be unaware of these critical actions of Lincoln and the substance of Carroll’s claim itself. As to Lincoln, because mortar boats could not be used on the Tennessee River, per Foote’s assessment, when they were found not to be ready, Lincoln’s decision to advance upon the Tennessee River appeared sealed. (As late as January 13, Lincoln referred to a “down river” movement, suggesting that he still planned on the Mississippi River expedition.)

Anna Ella Carroll was the only one who placed a strategic plan for the Tennessee River Valley campaign before the president. There is no evidence that McClellan shared Halleck’s January 20 wire, even about a Tennessee River advance, with the president. By January 30, the date Halleck ordered Grant and Foote to advance upon Fort Henry, Gen.-in-Chief George B. McClellan’s 3-pronged land campaign, with gunboats supporting it on the twin rivers, formulated mainly by MG Don Carlos Buell, commander, Department of the Ohio, had come to naught. This was not the advance advocated by either Carroll or Halleck, which was a single line of invasion up the Tennessee River by gunboats and land forces.

In her congressional testimony in 1876 (44-1 Congress, House Misc. Doc. 179, p. 6), Carroll explained her strategic concept: “. . . .the Tennessee River afforded the requisite navigation for the gunboats to the Muscle Shoals in Alabama, only a few miles from the Memphis & Charleston Railroad (the enemy’s only complete line of communication). She comprehended that the movement of a strong force up that river to a position in command of that railroad would effectually cut the Confederacy in two by severing the Atlantic from the Mississippi portion; that it would turn Columbus and all the formidable fortifications on the Mississippi to Memphis; free all Western Tennessee and Kentucky from the enemy, and bring the whole of that country, southward to Mobile under the control of the national arms. . . .”

For those wondering how Carroll honed her military mind, these skills may have been acquired partly as a school girl, for she had read Sir Archibald Alison’s History of Europe from 1789 to 1815, a multi-volume detailed history of the Napoleonic Wars, later taught in U. S. Army training schools.

Had Anna Ella Carroll only claimed credit for the Tennessee River campaign, one might well doubt her influence with the Lincoln administration. However, during the war Carroll sent several memos to Secty. of War Edwin M. Stanton advising on strategy and movements, receipt being confirmed by listings in her War Department file. In her second most important, written in October 1862, she recommended that Vicksburg not be taken from the Mississippi River due to the power of the enemy’s shore and bluff batteries. Instead an advance south down the Mississippi Central Railroad should be made. From there the capture and “. . . .the occupation of Jackson and the command of the railroad to New Orleans would compel the immediat4e evacuation of Vicksburg. . . “. Sarah Ellen Blackwell, Carroll’s 1891 biographer, cited a notation on this paper that read “’approved and adopted by the Secretary of War and the President and immediately sent out to the proper military authorities”. (“Miss Carroll’s Claim,” 1874, pp. -7-8; Blackwell, p. 82) Unfortunately this document was one of those abstracted from Carroll’s legislative file (see point 2 below), but like her original Tennessee River plan, the congressional printing authenticated its content.

Grant commenced the Vicksburg campaign on November 2, 1862. Although it’s not clear whether his attack on Jackson (to divide Confederate forces; CSA Gen. John Pemberton had been able to occupy Vicksburg) was a case of “great minds run in the same direction,” or partially Carroll’s intelligence and recommendation, the fact is Grant took Vicksburg from the rear, although he relied on naval bombardment during the city’s siege. Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, 1863.

As to contrary theories, Kenneth P. Williams, author of “The Tennessee River Campaign and Anna Ella Carroll” (Indiana Magazine of History, 1950, pp. 221-248) is the only scholar who has carefully searched military and other records. Coryell basically follows his playbook, in terms of theories, but did little original research in the war records. Williams somewhat accurately cited war records and confirms my research to a considerable extent. However, he cherry picked facts, for instance, distorting novelist Hollister Noble’s case for Carroll that he made in his appendix (Williams:233-34; Hollister Noble, Woman with a Sword). Noble’s statement that Lincoln ordered the reconnaissance of Fort Henry by Smith was taken from the “confidential” notebook of secret agent Evans. Williams never mentioned Evans’s notes, making Noble’s claim seem not credible. Williams also stated that Lincoln’s order was never found. But Lincoln did not send Smith a detailed order; Halleck did on January 24 (Exhibit E). This order is found in the appendix (p. 930) of Series I, Vol. 7 of the official war records, that section noted as containing memoranda that were not received in time for insertion in sequence. This suggests that this order was somehow different, perhaps Smith keeping the only copy, others destroyed for reasons of secrecy. But this would not negate Noble’s claim that Lincoln ordered Halleck to have a reconnaissance conducted, as Evans’s also later testified. The need for secrecy about Carroll’s plan is emphasized, especially by Senator Wade. In 1884, Abbie Gannett, a suffragist, writing on Carroll’s behalf quoted Lincoln as saying, “did the soldiers know that a woman was planning for the war department, every one of them would desert.” (See Gannet’s Worcester Spy article)

Williams’s research is, moreover, generally inadequate for he never consulted navy records or congressional documents. And when Williams turned to Washington, he offered unsupported theories, similar to what Coryell much later argued: 1) Sen. Benj. F. Wade, chairman of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, was a confused and vindictive old politician who only supported Carroll’s claim because she was a friend of his wife; 2) Asst. Secty. Thomas A. Scott’s trip West, begun on the same day, January 29, that McClellan wired Halleck about receipt of intelligence that Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard was reinforcing Johnston in Tennessee, had nothing to do with Grant’s and Foote’s advance upon the Tennessee three days later. Scott’s job was to mobilize reinforcements for them. Williams’s claim about Scott also directly contradicts Scott’s own testimony to that effect, which Williams never consulted.

In the final analysis, if one were to accept the theories of Williams and Coryell, one would have to believe that both Wade and Scott had committed perjury in submitting documents as evidence in congressional hearings. One would have to believe that former Texas Chief Justice Lemuel D. Evans had also committed perjury in his personal appearance before the congressional military committee in 1876. Ultimately one has to believe that the members of all the four military committees who voted in Carroll’s favor over thirty years, some of whom were former generals, were incompetent fools, having been duped by a mere woman. This is to say nothing of all the Washington public officials who had dealt with Anna Ella Carroll over a period of forty years. Williams’s and Coryell’s theories also fly in the face of the fact that Lincoln was clearly involved in the implementation of the Tennessee River campaign which opens the door for the submission of Carroll’s plan to him. Of course, according to Coryell and Williams, Carroll herself was the main criminal.

2. Existence of Carroll’s Tennessee River plan:

The physical proof of Carroll’s plan lies in the text of a letter hand written by Treasury Department official Elisha Whittlesey, returning the original he had copied. It reads:

Treasury Department
Comptroller’s Office
August 1st, 1862

My Dear Friend

This will be accompanied by the original of your article filed

[illegible] Plan for a Campaign up the Tennessee River Laid before Thos. A. Scott, Asst. Secy of War, Nov. 30, 1861.

By Anna Ella Carroll

which you handed to me this morning which I have caused to be copied as requested copy is sent to you and also my friend and old acquaintance Caleb Atwater, Esq. now of Cleveland, Ohio read the article with great pleasure and satisfaction.

Most Respectfully,
Elisha Whittlesey”

Source: A. E. Carroll papers, 1822-1890, MS 1224, Maryland Historical Society, Library, Baltimore, Md

Further, in 1891 Sarah Ellen Blackwell published the first biography of Carroll that contains many testimonials and documents. She explained her search for Carroll records in War Department files. In the case of the campaign plan and map that Carroll took to Asst. Secty. Thomas A. Scott, these documents were lost or abstracted from Senate files during 1871, as testified to by Sen. Benj. F. Wade and Samuel Hunt, the secretary of the committee. Carroll reproduced these missing documents from her originals and they were printed: “’by order of Congress’, and thus guaranteed they became to all intents and purposes, the same thing as the original documents. . . . .” But as these copies did not come from the War Department originally, they were not returned to it. “On March 20, 1891, I examined the files of the 41st Congress, 2d Session, at the Secretary’s office of the U. S. Senate, at the Capitol, and there I found Miss Carroll’s first memorial, 1870, with the ‘plan of campaign’ attached just as described by Thomas A. Scott.”

Sarah E. Blackwell, A Military Genius, The Life of Anna Ella Carroll (the great unrecognized member of Lincoln’s Cabinet), Vol. 1 (1891), pp. 81-82.

3. Role of Asst. Secty. of War Thomas A. Scott

Williams and Coryell, again, selectively cited facts and made inaccurate claims about Scott’s role in the west. Only Williams stated that on January 29, 1862, Gen.-in-Chief Geo. B. McClellan wired Halleck that a deserter in Virginia had informed federal officers that Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard was leaving to reinforce Johnston, the Confederate commander in Tennessee. Once informed, the next day, Halleck ordered Grant and Foote to immediately move on Fort Henry that began on February 2. On the night of the 29th, Secty. of War Edwin M. Stanton ordered Scott west to organize reinforcements for Grant and Foote, as Scott’s biographer, Samuel Kamm, described it, “It was Scott’s mission to ascertain the exact number of troops available in the West for what Stanton called a ‘combined active operation’”, that would advance into “the interior of Kentucky and Tennessee.” Scott wrote Stanton on February 1, 1862: “In accordance with your instructions under date of January 29, I left Washington, the same evening for Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and the Western Department.” On February 5, Halleck wired Scott in Indianapolis requesting reinforcements for Grant then moving upon Fort Henry. What Scott’s biographer, Kamm, failed to note in his thesis was that Halleck ordered Grant and Foote to advance upon Fort Henry the morning after Scott left for the West to begin organizing reinforcements for them. Given Stanton’s order describing an “active combined operation” into Kentucky and Tennessee, this clearly demonstrates that Scott was organizing reinforcements for Halleck. (Samuel R. Kamm, The Civil War Career of Thomas A. Scott, Ph. D. thesis, 1939, pp. 86-87; Stanton papers, Library of Congress, same date; also see Scott’s testimony to that effect (Exhibit F).

Despite Scott’s direct congressional testimony, the clear chain of events, and Stanton’s operational order, Williams claimed that “. . . .it seems certain that Scott’s trip looked forward to the very indefinite moves that Lincoln [War Order No. 1] had in mind for Washington’s birthday, and not the movement that Grant and Foote started on February 3.” (p. 238). Apparently adhering to Williams’s’ thought, Coryell claims that Scott’s trip west, “was not to supervise the implementation of Carroll’s plan,” but only to inspect troops and the railroads for Stanton, (Neither Heroine Nor Fool, p. 142). For all practical purposes then, Williams’s conclusion is the same as mine, that Lincoln’s War Order No. 1 was the order under which Carroll’s plan was to be implemented. However, the intelligence received about Beauregard caused Halleck to order an advance sooner than planned.

4. Role of riverboat pilot Charles M. Scott

Coryell alone claims that the idea for the advance upon the Tennessee River was that of riverboat pilot, Charles M. Scott, per his testimony in the 1876 hearings and a letter written by Carroll and published in The National Intelligencer on April 10, 1865. But Coryell initially credited Grant and others for perceiving the importance of the Tennessee River. So to whom exactly is she assigning credit, Grant, Scott, or someone else? If she means to mainly credit Scott, then he would face the same credibility problem as did Carroll, that is, competing with Grant for credit for the campaign, which Coryell does not address. Moreover, Captain Scott’s testimony confirms that a plan did emanate from the meeting between Carroll, Scott, and Evans.

Coryell cites The National Intelligencer article of 1865, saying that Carroll credited Captain Scott with the Tennessee plan in this. True, this article is one in which Carroll’s brings to light Scott’s role in the development of the plan, as a result of his complaint to her about being badly treated, apparently by the government. But she testified regarding this praise that it “was more than he had any right to have expected.” (House Misc. Documents 179, 1876, p. 10). She also stated that in 1871, Scott told her personally that “he had nothing against my claim that was my due.”

Several documents (the Intelligencer article, Carroll’s “Recollections” manuscript, The North American Review in 1886, congressional testimonies) describe the interaction between Carroll, Scott, and Evans in their interview about military strategy and it’s not clear who said or thought what first. It would be almost impossible for anyone to remember who said exactly what first, or what thought flashed across whose mind when, minimally four years after the fact. However, Carroll emphatically testified that she requested the interview with Scott. Moreover in this same oral testimony before Congress, Evans corroborated that Carroll developed the strategic plan: “I solemnly state that it is my conviction that he [Scott[ had no plans ― no definite conception, immediate or remote ― that would follow upon the military movements. He had a clear appreciation of the difficulties to be encountered in the Mississippi expedition. His knowledge of that river, as also of the Cumberland and Tennessee was accurate and full. . . .This was the sum of the information he communicated in that conversation which I deemed important, and requested him to write down for Miss Carroll, as she had stated it was her purpose to induce the government to change the plan of campaign.” Evans also stated that much of Scott’s testimony was false, including that Evans had suggested he inflate a cotton claim, apparently to demonstrate Evans was a fraudulent schemer. (p. 31)

Carroll never denied Scott’s role in giving technical navigational details. Yet Scott’s claim to having developed a plan is refuted by earlier correspondence and his congressional testimony verges on the absurd. Scott wrote Carroll on January 14, 1870 (Cradock-Jensen papers, MDHS), asking to get in on her claim as he needed money, for he was having a hard time finding work because of his pro-Union stand during the war. When Scott appeared before the congressional committee in 1876, arguing it was his military plan initially, he stated that his interview was with Judge Evans, not Carroll, and she was only the mere messenger who took the plan to Washington (which Evans strongly denied). When asked by congressmen why Scott did not take his plan to Grant for whom he worked, Scott replied that at the point in the war, he didn’t know whom he could trust and thought that Grant would be removed. But according to his testimony, he later met two strangers in his wife’s hotel who immediately told him they were secret agents and he blurted out his plan to them. The committee thought so little of his testimony that they did not report on his claim. Further, had the committee believed Scott’s testimony to any degree, surely no further congressional committees would have heard Carroll’s claim or prepared compensation bills. Compensation bills for her were submitted for many more years, even after her death in 1897.

5. Edwin M. Stanton’s appointment as secretary of war

In a letter written by Sen. Benjamin F. Wade (R-Ohio) to Carroll in April 1876, (Exhibit G) Wade stated that Carroll’’s plan and his lobbying efforts were the main factors in gaining Edwin M. Stanton his appointment as secretary of war. Doris Kearns Goodwin in her book Team of Rivals makes clear that Seward and Chase supported Stanton’s appointment. Yet A. K. McClure, the chairman of the Pennsylvania State Senate Military Committee on the War, wrote in his memoir that when Lincoln nominated Stanton, “. . . .there was not a single member of his cabinet who had knowledge of his purpose to do so until it was done. . . .”. (McClure, Abraham Lincoln and Men of War Times, p. 77, 165) As further support for Wade’s contention, the submission of Carroll’s plan is the only convincing time-sensitive reason why Simon Cameron was removed as secretary of war in mid-January, as he had wanted to leave the War Department for some time. (Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, 2005, pp. 410-12) Moreover Wade and Stanton were fellow Ohioans, and were acting in concert with Lincoln, making congressional preparations to enforce War Order No. 1, issued January 27, under which Carroll’s plan was originally intended to be implemented. (See Great Necessities)

Williams claims that Wade must have been in error, that he had confused movements vaguely ordered under Lincoln’s War Order No. 1 with the Tennessee River plan, which has already been dealt with above.

Moreover, as further evidence of Washington’s involvement, according to Kamm, Thomas Scott’s biographer, Stanton was exercising tight control over the Tennessee Valley campaign. In a letter in which he criticized Scott for issuing orders when in the Western Department, Stanton clarified, “. . . .signify to me what orders you deem necessary, and if I approve them they will be given from here, as military orders should be.” Stanton’s papers also show that he had originally planned on sending 60,000 troops from Washington to the West (the number Halleck had stated was required on January 20), but regiments were quickly sent down from the Midwest states. Yet on March 6, Scott wrote Stanton, “The Potomac column 20 days ago would have secured all that country and completely crushed secession in the West.” Stanton was also backing Halleck’s river drive against other plans being proposed by McClellan and Buell. Stanton’s perception of an initial need to move as deep into Confederate territory as quickly as possible, conforms to Carroll’s strategic concept. Not until the beginning of March did the generals begin to focus on the Memphis-Charleston railroad. (Kamm, op cit, pp. 96, 117-18, from Stanton’s papers)

Coryell claims that Wade’s 1876 letter in which he wrote that Stanton was appointed to implement Carroll’s plan, was forged by Carroll. According to Coryell this was for no other reason than that the letter was reported by Gen. E. S. Bragg’s committee in 1881, three years after Wade’s death. This is claimed in spite of Coryell’s admission that Wade had submitted “fulsome” letters of support for Carroll to the congressional committees over many years, including one sent in 1877 (and private letters support her as well). Further, the Bragg committee report introduced the Wade letter stating: “Hon. E. M. Stanton came into the War Department in1862, pledged to execute the Tennessee plan.” This is an affirmation of accuracy and authenticity, by the fact that the committee made this positive statement and printed the letter in its final report. Both Williams and Coryell argued that the reason Wade supported Carroll, including in congressional testimony, was because she was a friend of his wife. I wish not to dignify this conclusion with a comment or other expression. (see Wade documents Exhibit G).

The highest officials in the government were committed to secrecy regarding the Tennessee River advance and new intelligence caused the administration to make the movement prior to the intended date of February 22. Thus, for security reasons, Wade’s committee would not have published the strategy. So neither Williams nor Coryell had any way of knowing whether the committee did or did not discuss the plan.

RE: Anna Ella Carroll’s general involvement with the Lincoln administration:

1. General role in the Lincoln administration

Admittedly only four letters written between Anna Ella Carroll and Abraham Lincoln are extant, three to him, one to her (Exhibit H). However, Carroll’s “Recollections” draft seems to relate that Carroll largely met with Lincoln personally. In other words, working as a pamphleteer for the administration, Carroll spent her time writing for him, not writing to him. Within that context, Mary Livermore, head of the Chicago Sanitary Commission and a suffrage leader, wrote in her memoir of the war that: “She [Carroll] was admitted to his [Lincoln’s] presence at all times, and ‘he reserved a special file for her communications.’” The entries in John Hay’s diary suggest that Carroll was a familiar figure in the White House. As the Mitchell letter (Exhibit H) also denotes, other officials who were well known to Lincoln, were in close contact with Carroll, among them Atty. Gen. Edward Bates, Thurlow Weed, John Minor Botts. The list of letters sent to Secretary Stanton in Carroll’s War Department file is rather extensive. So there is no doubt about Carroll’s level of activity within the Lincoln administration. See Edward Bates’s letter of introduction for Carroll in Exhibit I.

As for those detractors who make the argument that if Carroll were all she claimed to be, she would be mentioned more generally by American scholars. First, Anna Ella Carroll cannot be blamed or held accountable for others’ actions or lack thereof. Secondly, the field of women’s military history is a minefield of gender prejudice. I have never yet met a scholar who looked to see what women were doing in war to find significant events. So if ignored in terms of research, how could they be mentioned in publications? An example similar to Carroll is Dorothea Dix. She was the person who first called on Samuel Felton, president of the Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad to outline what she believed was a Southern conspiracy to overthrow the U. S. capital. As a corollary Felton’s railroad would be threatened. This warning prompted Felton to hire Chicago detective Allan Pinkerton whose work helped uncover the plot to assassinate Lincoln on his way to Washington in late February 1861. The reference to Dix’s role can only be found in an end note in Norma B. Cuthbert’s book Lincoln and the Baltimore Plot, 1861, from Pinkerton Records and Related Papers (1949). I would not have found that book had I not stumbled into a rare book store on a visit to St. Louis in 1999. Finally, muse about how Civil War army camps are featured in films. Can anyone remember a woman showing up in any, even though substantial numbers of women populated the camps: wives and mothers of officers and enlisted men, nurses, cooks, laundresses, vivandieres, scouts, guides, detectives, telegraphers, soldiers, teamsters, drummer girls, Sanitary and Christian Commission agents, state military agents, school teachers.

2. Carroll’s request for $50,000 and other monetary claims

An odd feature of the gender discrimination directed at Carroll is the fact that some who have written about Carroll in a positive manner, in the end, still were intent on sticking a knife under her ribs. It seems that although these men could not deny Carroll’s expertise and talent, they were not ready to see her fully legitimized, hence the dagger. The most frequent canard parroted about Carroll is the claim that she tried to bilk Lincoln out of $50,000 for writing a single document.

On August 14, 1862, Carroll did write a letter to Lincoln explaining a misunderstanding that had occurred. She stated that in a personal meeting with him, she had proposed that the administration send her to Europe to write on behalf of the administration. Asst. Secty. of War Scott and other prominent men had urged that her pamphlets be extensively circulated in the United States, and, indeed had suggested that they be also in Europe. “They all understood, that the amount suggested was to be used in the circulation of my documents among the millions; and to write and publish in Europe, during your administration and they deemed it a very reasonable sum.” Even if Carroll had used all the $50,000 dollars for publishing and circulation costs, this would only have amounted to a print run of 100,000 copies of a ca. 25 page pamphlet (the cost billed in her congressional claim). Considering that she and Scott had planned to circulate 50,000 copies of her war powers paper in America, 100,000 copies in Europe would have been minimal. (The copy of the August 14 letter is only available at the Library of Congress. See Exhibit J, essentially a draft of it, although in it, only a larger run of her war powers paper is requested. It’s not clear whether events in Europe prompted this change in proposal.)

Carroll’s European request was in line with what Jefferson Davis was doing, as well as what the Lincoln administration’s PR machine was doing. In 1861, Confederate envoys had been dispatched to England and France to lobby those governments to recognize the Confederacy, as the Southern states had seceded largely in the belief that a “cotton famine” in Europe would bring about such a result. Moreover, as David Donald has pointed out, the Lincoln administration never neglected public opinion, including that overseas. Ambassadors Charles F. Adams and Francis L. Dayton made the U. S. case in London and Paris, respectively. Lincoln relied on politicians, businessmen, and clergy such as the railroad titan William H. Aspinwall and Episcopal Bishop Charles P. McIlvaine to bolster the Union case. Thurlow Weed, Edward Everett, and other Northern politicians visited Europe, as well.

As to other claims that Carroll tried to bilk the federal government, in the October 2011 issue of Maryland Life magazine, author Ronald Soodalter claimed that Carroll requested $250,000 for her services, based on information contained in Janet Coryell’s 1990 biography, Neither Heroine nor Fool. Coryell herself stated in the article that Carroll was a “swindler, guilty of forgery [see Exhibit G below], lying, and fraudulent misrepresentation”. As to the $250,000, this was the amount riverboat Pilot Charles M. Scott stated that Carroll had asked for, in his 1876 congressional affidavit. No other mention of this amount has been found, in any contemporary document, which makes Scott’s claim insupportable. However, the amount that Carroll did claim, $5,000, is in line with another similar award and was first requested in Bill 1293 by Rep. Jacob Howard’s 1871 hearing committee, not by Carroll herself. At Senator Wade’s suggestion, she turned this into a bill for her publications that was included in later memorials.

3. U. S., Court of Claims, 20 Ct. Cl. 426, “Anna Ella Carroll vs. the United States,” No. 93 Congressional, 1 June 1885 (

During the midst of the congressional hearings, Carroll’s case was referred to the U. S. Court of Claims for a judgment. Regarding this, a Wikipedia Carroll biography editor wrote: “She [Carroll via lawyer R. B. Warden] filed a claim in the United States Court of Claims in 1885, but was denied, Justice J. Nott writing that the documents she used to back up her claim were ‘impressive’ but ‘valueless as blank paper’ because ‘they establish no judicial fact.’" Again this statement is not only incomplete, but inaccurate. In this section of the Court’s opinion, Nott is only referring to letters submitted by lawyers Charles O’Conor and Reverdy Johnson who commented on the competency and, thus, value of Carroll’s political/legal pamphlets. O’Conor spoke of the pamphlets’ authoritativeness and sound reasoning that he found “well-adapted to win the reader’s assent. I consider the charges reasonable.” Johnson wrote although he had not read the pamphlets, her works had been “so favorably spoken of by the most competent judges” and, thus, concurred that her charges were reasonable.

As correctly quoted above, Nott did write that these testimonials did not constitute competent evidence by which to judge Carroll’s literary services, but the Court also did not request copies of her pamphlets to review themselves, which would have been direct evidence. Asst. Secretary Scott also did not submit copies of his congressional testimony that Carroll’s Tennessee River plan had been adopted by the government and that he had helped execute it. The Court also declined to review such congressional committee documents, denying Warden’s request. So the Court of Claims not only said they couldn’t judge Carroll’s claim, but refused to, as they refused to review her writings and others’ direct testimony.

The Court’s final conclusion was that its purpose was to ascertain facts, based on competent evidence, which it did not possess. However, “The legislative branch of the government is not thus circumscribed; its members may act upon moral conviction, and to Congress we must retransmit the claim.” (Underline, Larson) Carroll’s personal lawyer, William T. Warden, Robert’s brother, took this as a victory: that there was nothing in law that would prevent Congress from passing a relief bill for Carroll. The Wikipedia editor, however, stated that the Court gave a “negative” ruling to Carroll, which is misleading and inaccurate as to a case opinion. [14]

RE: Anna Ella Carroll and the American (Know-Nothing) party, 1854 to 1859

America was largely founded on dissenting Protestant traditions―Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, Methodism, etc.―that came out of the English Civil Wars of the 17th century, during which believers fought Anglicans and Catholic divine-right monarchs.

The blood issue was that the English Test Oath required citizens to recognize the king as head of the Anglican Church. Puritans, that is, Presbyterians and Congregationalists, recognized Jesus Christ as head of their churches. So, in effect, dissenters were fighting for their eternal lives (on the premise that not to believe Christ headed the Church would damn one). As an example, in 1680, radical Scot Covenanters, led by Richard Cameron, posted the Declaration of Sanquhar to the town’s market cross in Scotland. These men pronounced that Charles II had relinquished his monarchical rule through his acts of tyranny and his usurpation of religious right, namely declaring himself, head of the Anglican Church. The Declaration went on to declare war on the king.

Maryland was founded by Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore, as a Catholic refuge, but ultimately the colony took in large numbers of Scots-Irish from Northern Ireland (many being descendants of Scot Covenanters, like the Todd family) and New England Puritans. After William III took over the British throne, which ended the English Civil War, the puritans gained control of Baltimore’s government by force, but he regained it from the Crown in 1718.

During the mid-19th century America took in its largest immigrant flow to that date. Between 1850 and 1854 alone 1.8 million entered the country. In 1854, the number of all immigrants who had entered since 1845, comprised 14.5 percent of the population. Irish immigrants, escaping the potato famine, numbered 1.2 million during that period.

For the first time then, an immigrant group, Catholics, represented a perceived political-social threat to the native Protestants, as they had in England, Scotland, and Ireland for two centuries. (Prior to William III acceding to the British throne, James II had been overthrown, because he tried to reestablish the Catholic Church. In Scotland, the Presbyterians displaced the Catholic Church, which had allied itself with France, England’s traditional Continental enemy.)

Carroll’s main goals as an American party “reformer” were to maintain the Union; to end slavery and prevent slave holders from establishing a proslavery state government; as a morally upright Presbyterian, to end corruption and bring civil order back to Baltimore; to support various improvement projects, such as the building of railroads and canals, and expansion of educational facilities.

When the American party was formed in 1853, it was the sole competitor to the increasingly proslavery Democratic party. Many Maryland moderates and conservatives, like Carroll, remained in a third party opposition up until 1860, as they sought a middle road between the sectional antislavery Republican and proslavery Democratic parties.

Overall two key domestic issues in contention were: slavery and public school funding. And internationally, liberals opposed the efforts of the Vatican to ally with anti-republican monarchists who hoped to regain regimes, notably Emperor Napoleon III of France.

Regarding slavery, Maryland was a slave holding state. Prior to 1860, Catholic Jesuit missions in Maryland had held slaves, but sold them to plantations in Louisiana. In New York Archbishop John Hughes only envisioned softening the more brutal aspects of slavery. Thus American party antislavery reformers renounced the Church’s failure to condemn the institution. Know-Nothing candidates also wanted to prevent Democratic Catholic and Episcopalian slave holders from winning control of a proslavery state government, through their leadership of the Baltimore Catholic vote (in 1857 Carroll’s writings were largely responsible for getting Unionist Thomas H. Hicks elected governor.) As late as 1860, half of the members of the Maryland State Legislature were slave owners.

Partly due to a bad economy and the changes new infrastructure had wrought, the American party made enormous political gains from Massachusetts to California in the 1854-55 elections. In New York, 49 Know Nothing legislators were elected; in Massachusetts the whole state senate became Know Nothings. Yet in the Northeast, the party was basically an anti-corruption, antislavery, and anti-Catholic Church party. In the South, however, Know Nothings wanted to stanch the flow of antislavery immigrants, notably the Germans, into the Northern states, which added to their political power. So the Southern Know Nothing party became a weak proslavery vehicle.

Regarding education, a bedrock principle of puritanism (Presbyterianism and Congregationalism) was that one sought a direct relationship with God. The faithful divined God’s will through individual Bible study, which also made them literate. A main focus of the Presbyterian mission was the promotion of Bible-reading societies (which the Catholic Church opposed). Due to this concern for religious literacy and freedom of conscience, publicly funded schools were considered little temples of Protestant republicanism and had always taught the King James Bible.

Given the rise in the Catholic school-age population, during the 1850s proposals were made to publicly fund Catholic schools. Common sensical NY Gov. William H. Seward considered it a state necessity for all children to receive an education. But the questions for legislators and voters were, what type, secular or partly religious; and should tax monies fund parochial schools?

On his part, New York Archbishop John Hughes proposed ending the teaching of the Bible in school. If the practice were continued, officials would have to choose between teaching the King James or the Catholic Douay Bible (annotated by priests’ notes). This issue was exacerbated by the fact that in 1844, the Catholic Church forbade parishioners to read any version of the Bible that was not officially approved.

Another source of anger among Protestants was that Pope Pius IX was the temporal leader of 20 Italian provinces, the governments of which were considered to be some of the most inefficient and corrupt in Europe. Jewish residents were subjected to gross discrimination and legal penalties. During the 1848 Revolutions, Garibaldi’s republican forces fought papal armies in an effort to unify Italy, which also resulted in the papal states being wrested from the Vatican. Most liberals in Europe and America supported Garibaldi. Moreover, in his famous Syllabus of Errors, Pope Pius IX proclaimed he would “never reconcile himself to progress, with liberalism, and with modern civilization.”

In her work, the 1856 national campaign book, The Great American Battle, Anna Ella Carroll separated religious from political issues by recognizing American Catholics as part of the legitimate body politic. Portraying an imagined American party rally, she featured these Catholics as being as concerned with the preservation of their “liberties” as Protestants, and wrote that although they viewed “. . .the Pope as their spiritual shepherd and king, believed his temporal [political] authority a curse and poison in our land. . . .” (GN:146)

To Carroll the ability of individuals to directly relate to their government, through the democratic process, could not be separated from a Christian’s ability to directly relate to his or her God. This principle of freedom of individual conscience and thought was the basic principle upon which Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation. In other words, Carroll considered both Protestantism and democracy divine instruments.

American party candidates also campaigned to protect the jobs of native workingmen that included free blacks. Due to increased mechanization, unskilled jobs that uneducated and/or non-English speaking immigrants could assume, decreased those skilled native workers held. Railroad and infrastructure jobs, such as canal building, that the Irish flooded into, were closing down whole former steamboat towns. These factors created a labor backlash against the Democrats whose votes, in good part, depended upon urban political machines that were based on immigrant populations. The Democratic party’s refusal to support the Homestead Act sent native and new immigrant free farmers storming into the Republican party in 1860.

Further, the rapid urban influx of immigrants created widespread crime and corruption, including during elections. In Baltimore alone, between 1849 and 1854, crime rose 40 percent. One of the main goals of the American party was to clean up crime and corruption.

In Maryland, the political situation was unique. In 1853, the 4,000 laborers at the local Baltimore ironworks factory went on strike. The Democratic party leadership refused to support them, so they went en masse into the Know-Nothing party. This made the Americans the largest and most progressive party in the state, as they were not proslavery, and were pro-Union and prolabor.

By 1856, however, in Baltimore the party had deteriorated, changing from one comprising reformers, new voters, young professionals, business- and workingmen, and former Whigs, to being a holding pen for thugs who fought equally tough Democratic gangs in the streets. During the November 1856 election, gangs battled police with cannon, which left 8 dead and 50 wounded.

At the national level, however, by 1856, the American party had changed into a more progressive political vehicle. Clubs had dropped their secret codes and Catholic bans and took up more positive populist issues. However, in 1856, the party split nationally over the slavery issue, which signaled its demise. In the 1860 election, Abraham Lincoln owed his winning margin to the former Northern antislavery Know-Nothing vote, although he condemned discrimination against immigrants, being a strong believer in the Declaration of Independence’s equality clause.

With the above said, ugly, stereotyped portrayals of Irish and German Catholics, violence against Catholics, and burning of Church properties was inexcusable. In reality, however, most German Catholics were skilled middle class workers and experienced little discrimination; so discrimination against the Irish was mainly a class issue. Liberal antislavery Germans and Scandinavians largely settled the Midwest. Thus the nativist issue would never have gained a deep nationwide foothold, once the Republican party came onto the national political scene in 1856.

Moreover, violence and intolerance worked both ways: Catholics protested Protestant Bible-reading societies and Irish street mobs attacked Protestants. Conversely, on a national scale in 1856, all presidential candidates sought Catholic votes.

As for Anna Ella Carroll, having been raised by very educated parents on an isolated Eastern Shore plantation, she was well-schooled in theological issues, especially those of the English Civil Wars. Presbyterian doctrine demanded that she oppose divine church-state monarchic combinations that both English monarchs and the Pope represented. Her direct ancestor, Robert King, had participated in Maryland’s own little English Civil War and, in some ways, it seemed that in her mind, Carroll lived in the 17th century. At the same, however, when she began her education, ca. 1820, this was a year only 150 years removed from those English-Scot-Irish wars. To many of her age group, then, especially the Catholic threat, was still very real, which was true given Catholic Church and Napoleon III’s expansion plans for the Western Hemisphere and Europe, which resulted in French military occupation of Mexico during the Civil War.

Sources: see Chapters 1 and 2 of Great Necessities: The Life, Times and Writings of Anna Ella Carroll, 1815-1894 by C. Kay Larson ( 2004); Walter Stahr, Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man (2012). Also see Charles R. Morris, American Catholic: The Saints and Sinners Who Built America’s Most Powerful Church; Ray Allen Billington, The Protestant Crusade, 1800 to 1860: A Study of the Origins of Nativism; and Thomas David Schoonover, Dollars over Dominion: The Triumph of Liberalism in Mexican-United States Relations, 1861-1867, on Napoleon III’s “Grand (Latin/Church) Design” for the Western Hemisphere.





Official Records of the War of Rebellion, Ser. I, Vol.. 7, pp. 121-22

Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote, USN to MG Henry W. Halleck, USA, January 28, 1862:

Commanding General Grant and myself are of the opinion that Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, can be carried with four iron-clad gunboats and troops to permanently occupy. Have we your authority to move for that purpose, when ready?”

BG Ulysses S. Grant, USA to MG Henry W. Halleck, USA

January 28,1862

With permission I will take Fort Henry, on the Tennessee, and establish and hold a large camp there.”




Official Records of the War of Rebellion, January 20, 1862, Ser. I, Vol, 8,

pp. 509-10

MG Henry W. Halleck to Gen.-in-Chief Geo. B. McClellan:

The idea of moving down the Mississippi by steam is, in my opinion, impracticable, or at least premature. It is not a proper line of operations, at least now. A much more feasible plan is to move up the Cumberland and Tennessee, making Nashville the first objective point. This would turn Columbus and force the abandonment of Bowling Green. . . .This line of the Cumberland and Tennessee is the great central line of the Western theater of war. . . .But the plan should not be attempted without a large force, not less than 60,000 effective men.. . . .The main central line will also require the withdrawal of all available troops from this State; also those in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio,. . .and also the transfer to that route or near it of all the Kentucky troops not required to secure the Green River.”




EXECUTIVE MANSION, January 27, 1862

Ordered, That the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day for a general movement of all the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces. That especially the army at and about Fortress Monroe; the Army of the Potomac; the Army of Western Virginia; the army near Munfordville, Kentucky; the army and flotilla at Cairo, and a naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready to move on that day.

That all other forces, both land and naval, with their respective commanders, obey existing orders for the time, and be ready to obey additional orders when duly given.

That the heads of departments, and especially the Secretaries of War and of the Navy, with all their subordinates, and the general-in-chief, with all other commanders and subordinates of land and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for prompt execution of this order.




Submitted into congressional testimony and printed in House Misc. Doc. 58, 45-2 Congress, “Memorial of Anna Ella Carroll of Maryland”, pp. 28-29)

Galveston, TX, January 12, 1875

Dear Miss Carroll: I have critically examined “Memoirs of Sherman,” Boynton’s last work, and Hoppin’s Life of Commodore Foote, all of which serve to strengthen your own great claim. . . .You need not have a particle of concern about anything which may be said or written. Your paper of the 30th of November 1861, embodying the conception and plan for saving the country did the great work, and of this nothing can deprive you. I have rather supposed that after Badeau’s publication that Halleck was gratified by Howard’s report awarding you the merit. Be that as it may, the letter of Halleck to McClellan in January, 1862, introduced by Boynton, shows that Halleck was proposing a different mode of attack in ignorance of the fact that your plan had been adopted at Washington and operations for the advance determined. The proposal of Grant and Foote to move up to Fort Henry after the reconnaissance of C. F. Smith which had been ordered from Washington, and the reason assigned by Grant, that he could establish a military camp at the fort for the purpose of operating directly on the fortifications on the Mississippi, etc., and of his proposition jointly with Foote to take Nashville after the fall of Donelson and Clarksville is proof conclusive that they had no conception of the strategy in your plan or of the ultimate destiny of the expedition. Halleck, on receiving the application, ordered the whole expedition back to the Tennessee River; had he yielded it would have afforded A. S. Johnston the opportunity to have fortified the Tennessee River. You remember that Commodore Foote’s dispatches to General Halleck of 20th of March, ’62, confirmed what your plan declared, “that our boats, if crippled, would fall a prey to the enemy by being swept by the current to him”; and he gave that reason for great vigilance and delay, as a failure would expose the rivers above them, the Mississippi, Cumberland, and Ohio and the towns and cities bordering on those rivers. General Halleck replied next day that there was nothing lost by the delay, and informed him that everything was then progressing well on the Tennessee towards opening Foote’s way down the Mississippi, and he (Halleck) was directing all his attention to that object, and when accomplished the enemy would be obliged to evacuate or surrender. Foote’s letter to General Pope tells him how easy the new rebel steamers could pass his batteries in the night, and if they met his squadron reduced, so as unable to cope, they could continue up the Mississippi or Ohio to St. Louis or Cincinnati. Your papers to the government show that you were the foremost strategist of the war. . . .As you stated then, an immediate advance onward after the fall of Henry would have enabled a few thousand me to accomplish what a hundred thousand could not have done subsequently. Corinth was then indefensible, etc. . . .But your history of these great facts of the war will make all this plain.

Yours truly,

L. D. Evans



Saint Louis, January 24, 1862

Brig. Gen. C. F. Smith,

Commanding, &c., Paducah:

General: Please send me at your earliest convenience a full description of the road and country from Smithland to Dover and Fort Henry; also of the road south of the Tennessee to Fort Henry, and the means of crossing the river at the points above Paducah. This report should be in as much detail as your means of information will allow. I particularly wish to know the character of the country between these roads and the rivers, and whether it is such that troops can sustain or be sustained by the gunboats; also a description of the roads and country east of the Cumberland, and its character with regard to military movements of an enemy.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant

H. W. Halleck,

Major General



Philadelphia, May 1, 1872

My Dear Sir: I take pleasure in stating that the plan presented by Miss Carroll, in November, 1861, for a campaign upon the Tennessee River and thence South, was submitted to the Secretary of War and President Lincoln. And after Secretary Stanton's appointment, I was directed to go to the Western armies and arrange to increase their effective force as rapidly as possible. A part of the duty assigned me was the organization and consolidation into regiments of all the troops then being recruited in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, for the purpose of carrying through this campaign, then inaugurated.

This work was vigorously prosecuted by the army, and, as the valuable suggestions of Miss Carroll, made to the Department some months before, were substantially carried out through the campaigns in that section--great successes followed, and the country was largely benefitted in the saving of time and expenditure.

I hope Congress will reward Miss Carroll liberally for her patriotic efforts and services.

Very Truly, yours,

Thomas A. Scott

Hon. Henry Wilson

Chairman, Military Committee, U. S. Senate 34.




From Sen. Benjamin F. Wade (R-OH) to Anna Ella Carroll, 4 April 1876, printed in House Military Affairs Committee Report 386 of Rep. Gen. E. S. Bragg, 46-2 Congress, p. 3, to accompany HR Bill 7256.

Dear Miss Carroll,

I had no part in getting up the committee [on the Conduct of the War]; the first intimation to me was that I had been made the head of it. But I never shirked a public duty and at once went to work to do all that was possible to save the country. We went fully into the examination of the several plans for military operations then known to the government; and we saw plainly enough that the time it must take to execute any of them would make it fatal to the Union.

We were in the deepest despair, until just at this time Colonel Scott informed me that there was a plan already devised that if executed with secrecy would open the Mississippi and save the national cause. I went immediately to Mr. Lincoln and talked the whole matter over. He said he did not himself doubt that the plan was feasible, but said there was one difficulty in the way, that no military or naval man had any idea of such a movement, it being the work of a civilian, and none of them would believe it safe to make such an advance upon only a navigable river with no protection but a gunboat fleet, and they would not want to take the risk. He said it was devised by Miss Carroll, and military men were extremely jealous of all outside interference. I plead earnestly with him, for I found there were influences in his Cabinet then adverse to his taking the responsibility, and wanted everything done in deference to the views of McClellan and Halleck. I said to Mr. Lincoln, 'You know we are now in the last extremity, and you have to choose between adopting and at once executing a plan that you believe to be the right one, and save the country, or defer to the opinions of military men in command, and lose the country.' He finally decided he would take the initiative, but there was Mr. Bates, who had suggested the gunboat fleet, and wanted to advance down the Mississippi, as originally designed, but after a little he came to see no result could be achieved on that mode of attack, and he united with us in favor of the change of expedition as you recommended.

After repeated talks with Mr. Stanton, I was entirely convinced that if placed at the head of the War Department he would have your plan executed victoriously, as he fully believed it was the only means of safety, as I did.

Mr. Lincoln, on my suggesting Stanton, asked me how the leading Republicans would take it--that Stanton was so fresh from the Buchanan cabinet and so many things said of him. I insisted he was our man withal, and brought him and Lincoln into communication, and Lincoln was entirely satisfied; but as soon as it got out the doubters came to the front, Senators and members called on me, I sent them to Stanton and told them to decide for themselves. The gunboats were then nearly ready for the Mississippi expedition, and Mr. Lincoln agreed, soon as they were, to start the Tennessee movement. It was determined that as soon as Mr. Stanton came in the department that Colonel Scott should go out to the western armies and make ready for the campaign in pursuance of your plan, as he has testified before committees.

It was a great work to get the matter started; you have no idea of it. We almost fought for it. If ever there was a righteous claim on earth, you have one. I have often been sorry that, knowing all this, as I did then, I had not publicly declared you as the author. But we were fully alive to the importance of absolute secrecy. I trusted but very few of our people, but to pacify the country I announced from the Senate that the armies were about to move and inaction was no longer to be tolerated, and Mr. Fessenden, head of the Finance Committee, who had been told of the proposed advance, also stated in the Senate that what would be achieved in a few more days would satisfy the country and astound the world.

As the expedition advanced Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Stanton, and myself frequently alluded to your extraordinary sagacity and unselfish patriotism, but all agreed that you should be recognized for your most noble services, and properly rewarded for the same. The last time I saw Mr. Stanton he was on his death-bed; he was then most earnest in his desire to have you come before Congress, as I told you soon after, and said if he lived he would see that justice was awarded you. This I have told you often since, and I believe the truth in this matter will finally prevail.

B. F. Wade

Jefferson, Ohio, October 19, 1877

My Dear Miss Carroll: . . . .Is it not monstrous that you have so much to contend against, and yet there is no one in the United States who is so much entitled to the favor of the government as you are, and no one has been so shamefully treated. I cannot believe this will always be so.

Yours ever,

B. F. Wade

Printed in House Misc. Doc. 58, 45-2 Congress, “Claim of Anna Ella Carroll,” p. 26.

From Janet Coryell, Neither Heroine Nor Fool, on Wade’s support of Carroll, p. 96:

Wade continued to write letters in favor of Carroll’s claim. In February 1872, he wrote the Committee of Military Affairs considering Carroll’s claim that President Lincoln had told him “that the merit of this plan was due to Miss Carroll” and that both Lincoln and Stanton had told him they wanted the government to reward her for her plan. He repeated his praise of Carroll’s accomplishments and worth throughout the 1870s.

Wade’s most supportive letter in Carroll’s behalf, however, was not published until 1881, three years after his death. . . .[See above.] The need for secrecy at the time had precluded recognition of Carroll then. . . .”

At first glance, Wade’s letters seem to remove all doubt regarding the legitimacy of Carroll’s claim. As the chairman of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, Wade’s approval of her claim was powerful support. But there is no evidence the Committee ever discussed the movement up the Tennessee River. Most of their published hearings concerning the western theater during the time Carroll set her claim (the winter of 1861-62) dealt with Fremont’s difficulties supplying his men and with the confusion in command at the Battle of Fort Donelson. No evidence exists to suggest that Wade and his committee ever dealt with the strategy of the Tennessee campaign.

Moreover, Caroline Wade, the senator’s wife was on close terms with Carroll, and it was through Mrs. Wade that Carroll corresponded with Benjamin Wade. Considering Carroll’s penchant for bypassing middlemen, it would hardly seem likely she would use an intermediary to approach Wade on such a vital matter as establishing her claim. It would seem logical, therefore, to assume that Wade had at first simply written a nice letter of thanks to a loyal citizen who had told his wife and him what she deserved credit for. And, as the years went by, Carroll no doubt convinced the aging senator she deserved more than thanks for her work. Wade, who like many others responded favorably to the idea of Carroll as a heroine, saw in her claim a chance to thank all the women of the war. He continued to support her with letters of increasing fulsomeness. But the letter claiming he had fought for her claim, the one dated 1876 and not published until after Wade’s death, was almost certainly a forgery.”




President Lincoln wrote Carroll in August 1862, apparently, in response to a pamphlet she had circulated that related to the draft. This is the only extant letter by Lincoln to her.

Executive Mansion

August 19, 1862

Dear Miss Carroll,

Like everything else that comes from you I have read the address to Maryland with a great deal of pleasure and interest.

It is just what is needed now and you were the one to do it.

Yours very truly,

A. Lincoln

(Source: Roy P. Basler, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln)

Rep. William Mitchell (R-Ind.) wrote to Carroll on May 13, 1862, and quoted Lincoln as saying:

. . . .I will tell you what Mr. Lincoln said of you last night. I was there with some seven or eight members. . .when a note came with a box from you. He seemed delighted–and read your letter to us and showed the contents of your box. He said Miss Anna Ella Carroll is the head of the Carroll race, and when the history of this war is written, she will stand a good bit taller than ever old Charles did.”

(Source: hand written letter in A. E. Carroll papers, Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore)



Washington, D. C. October 3, 1863

To Hon. Isaac Hazelhurst of Philadelphia:

My Dear Sir: I have just received a note from Miss Anna Ella Carroll of Maryland, informing me she is going to Philadelphia where she is comparatively a stranger, and desiring an introduction to some of the eminent publicists of your famous city.

I venture to present her to you, sir, first, as an unquestionable lady of the highest personal standing and family connection; second, as a person of superior mind, highly cultivated, expecially with the solids of American literature, political history, and constitutional law; third, of strong will, indomitable courage, and patient labor. Guided by the light of her own understanding, she seeks truth among the mixed materials of other minds, and having found it, maintains it against all obstacles; fourth and last, a write fluid, cogent, and abounding with evidence of patient investigation and original thought.

I commend her to your courtesy, less for the delicate attentions proper for the drawing room than for the higher communion of congenial students, alike devoted to the good of the Commonwealth.

With the greatest respect, I remain, sir, your friend and servant.

Edward Bates

(Source: A Military Genius: The Life of Anna Ella Carroll by Sarah Ellen Blackwell, 1891)




[AEC DRAFT] Washington

July 2, 1862

Mr. President,

I beg leave to submit that Sept. last I called at the War Department at the instance of several distinguished gentlemen for the purpose of having my “Reply” to Breckinridge’s speech in the U. S. Senate , largely circulated in the Border States, a copy of which I left with Col. Scott, Assistant Secretary of War.

When I next saw him, he exhibited to me, a written opinion of some one whose name I do not know in favor of the document and expressing the belief that it would render important service to the country; and he ordered ten thousand copies for which he paid twelve hundred and fifty dollars, with which I circulated it extensively in every part of Maryland, in view of the pending election and in all the loyal States.

Soon after, he ordered an additional ten thousand, and the Printer had moistened the paper, and was about to strike them off, when I received a note from him (Col. Scott), asking me to delay a short time on account of funds. I therefore countermanded the order to the Printer for which I had to pay.

At the time this business was transacting, I stated to Col. Scott the belief that I could essentially serve my country, by writing a document on the War Powers of the Government, and sustaining the policy of the Executive. That it was a new question, sprung upon the American people by the first Civil War they had ever encountered, and that I regarded high mental illumination at this crisis, as indispensable to the success of our cause and the preservation of the Union, as minie balls & rifles.

I said to him, that it was impossible to do this without proper compensation, but that after it was written, I would be willing to have him submit it, to any number of judges, competent to decide upon it, and if it was a failure, in the estimation of the Department, I would then be willing to abide by the consequences.

He agreed fully to this proposition and desired me to go on, and prepare the document. and when ready to furnish him with a copy, for examination & then he could tell me how much the Dept/ could do for it. He, also, promised me some data for it, for which I gave him a memorandum with my address, and left the City.

About six weeks after this agreement was made, I wrote Col. Scott from St. Louis that I had seen the necessity of such a publication in the South West, and if he would authorize me, without first examining the document, I would bring it out there.

I enclosed the letter to Atty. General Bates to whom I fully stated its purport, and his reply is herewith the enclosed.

On my return, Col. Scott informed me that before he was able to reply, on account of the pressures upon him, he was apprehensive that I had left St. Louis.

In the latter part of December I sent him a copy of the pamphlet on the “War Powers” for examination. He returned it a few days after, and said he approved it, in every particular, but, that there was no money to pay me, until the appropriations bill passed Congress, which would be in a few days/

Upon my suggestion, that, it was in print, and in view of its value to the cause, its publication ought not to be delayed, he authorized me to bring out a small edition, and promised to see the Secretary in regard to a large order, after the appropriate was made, which I told him, I should expect to be, at least, fifty thousand copies.

I, therefore, ordered only six thousand copies, he was then engrossed by business incident to the change in the head of the Department, and advised me to wait, as my business could be consummated as well by Mr. Stanton, as under Mr. Cameron.

He left, himself, soon after for the West. I had conversation with him on his brief return, and stated, that as I had no written understanding of the understanding with the Dept., and as it had been made solely with him, I desired his prompt attention to the matter. He admitted the value of the service I had rendered by the document, and promised to have the business consummated, and see me. before he left the City.

I then saw Mr. Tucker who had been acquainted with some of the facts through Col. Scott.

I read to him the letter, which I herewith enclose, and said verbally, that when I considered the time & labor the document had cost me, and its immense service to the country, for it was destined to stand, as long as the Declaration of Independence, I thought fifty thousand dollars as being small sum; and if so compensated, I would give it a very large circulation and continue writing for the Government.

But if he deemed it advisable to wait for the return of Col. Scott, who was cognizant of all the facts, I desired, then, payment for the order already due.

He inquired the amount, I said, not less than twenty five cents for that edition. He seemed to think both sums reasonable and promised to see. . . .[end of microfilm, MDHS 1233?, A. E. Carroll papers]

(underline, begin with “I read….: - CKL)

# # #

1 December 2011 by C. Kay Larson, author, Great Necessities: The Life, Times, and Writings of Anna Ella Carroll, 1815-1894 (Phila.: Xlibris Corp. 2004, 1-888-795-4274).

Author’s bio

C. Kay Larson is an independent scholar specializing in political, military, maritime, and women’s history. Among other works, she has published Great Necessities and in 2006 came out with a fact-based Civil War work of fiction, South Under a Prairie Sky: The Journal of Nell Churchill, US Army Nurse & Scout. Read her online works at Larson graduated cum laude in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds an MBA from Baruch College (CUNY). She spent twenty years working in operations management in New York City and State governments, and coordinating political campaigns, including during four presidential elections. She serves on the board of the New York Military Affairs Symposium, is a contributor to the New York Times "Disunion" Civil War Blog, and is also a contributor to Earl Brannock's newly published Marylander's All: 10 Unsung Heroes of Dorchester County and Warship: USS CHESTER Heritage.


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