Anna Johnson Sanders

Silhouette of woman

Anna Johnson Reid Sanders (1815–1890) was born in New York City to a family with a rich historical lineage. Her father, Samuel Chester Reid, was a naval hero in the War of 1812. He additionally designed the current American flag, which permanently kept the number of stripes at thirteen to represent the original colonies while a star would be added each time a new state was admitted to the Union. Anna married George Nicholas Sanders (1812–1873) of Kentucky in 1836. Her husband's connections with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party during the 1840s and 1850s kept her abreast of political events, which she dutifully recorded in her journals. With strong Southern sympathies, the family moved to Richmond after the outbreak of the Civil War, although George Sanders’s activities as a Confederate agent kept him in Europe and Canada for much of the conflict. Anna's journal entries from this period deal with many wartime hardships, such as the imprisonment and death of her son, Major Reid Sanders (1837–1864), at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor. The postwar years continued to be difficult for Anna Sanders, as her husband was forced into exile for seven years because of his involvement in the 1864 Confederate raid on St. Albans, Vermont and mistaken impressions that he had been involved with the plot to assassinate President Lincoln.

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