July 5, 2011

I thank The Post Magazine for bringing Anna Ella Carroll’s story to a broad audience [“The forgotten heroine?,” July 3]. I would like to address the accusation that the Maryland-born Carroll was a fraud, that is, mainly whether she submitted a Civil War plan to the Lincoln administration that advocated an advance upon the Tennessee River that took place in February 1862.

In researching my 2004 book, “Great Necessities: The Life, Times, and Writings of Anna Ella Carroll, 1815-1894,” I concluded that Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck and President Abraham Lincoln were planning this movement — Lincoln based on Carroll’s submission.

As to Carroll’s general credibility, I quote Edward Bates, the U.S. attorney general in the Lincoln administration, writing in a private letter of introduction for Carroll: “[She is] an unquestionable lady of the highest personal standing . . . a person of superior mind, highly cultivated, especially with the solids of American literature, political history, and constitutional law . . . of strong will, indomitable courage, and patient labor . . . she seeks truth . . . and having found it, maintains it against all obstacles.”

C. Kay Larson, New York