Annie Dodge and her Prophetic Dream


Sergeant Major
Aug 6, 2016

Annie & General Grenville Dodge
(Public Domain)

She was born in Towanda, Bradford County, Pennsylvania on May 23, 1833. She was named after her mother Ruth Anne Kinney Browne and was therefore called “Annie”. Annie had mastered the skill of horsemanship and she could shoot a gun better than many men. While in Peru, Illinois this petite young lady with the violet-blue eyes, her head crowned with wavy light brown hair and a spirited personality met the man she would spend her life with, Grenville Mellen Dodge (1831–1916). He was born in Massachusetts and was a recent graduate from Norwich University (the Military College of Vermont) with a degree in civil engineering. After graduation he moved to Peru and began his work as a surveyor for the Peoria division of the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad. They were married on May 29, 1854. By 1860 the couple had moved to Bluff Council, Iowa where Dodge had dabbled int banking and was serving on the city council of Bluff Council. They were also the parents of two little girls Lettie born in 1855 and Eleanor born in 1858.

It wasn’t surprising when the war began Dodge was appointed Colonel Dodge of the 4th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment. In the meantime Annie and the local women of Council Bluffs formed the Soldier’s Aid Society and began preparing the needed supplies for their soldiers. They gathered material to make bandages, lint (which was used to pack wounds), in addition to personal supplies soldiers required. Annie made a decision that she would journey to wherever her husband was if at all possible. When the 4th was in Rolla, Missouri Colonel Dodge was ill and Annie was with him. Colonel Kinsman wrote home his observations of Annie:

“His heroic wife accompanied him from camp to camp and nurses him with a true devotion.” {1}

At times Lettie and Ella would visit the camp to cheer up their father. Once again Kinsman made observations of the girls:

“Lettie and Ella are lively as crickets and keen as briars.” {1}

At the Battle of Pea Ridge, Dodge was wounded and was promoted to Brigadier General. While in St. Louis recovering from his wounds, Annie was by his side. It was in St. Louis Annie witnessed the beating of a pregnant slave. She wrote her friend:

“Dear Mrs. Wood, I write this to let you know that old scamp Wheelan had been to work here about the Negroes. Went and got a justice to come and take Louisa away from Mrs. J. Robbins and has taken her off in some slave yard in another part of the city. You have no idea how it made my blood boil to hear how he treated the poor thing. Made her go without bonnet or shawl and struck her with an umbrella to make her go faster and she expecting every moment her child, would be born – I wish you would let Col Wood know all about it. I think it is horrible and outrageous and I hope that Col Wood will catch him and make him suffer for it. How I would like to see him shot. Tell the captain to get some one to call him down to Rolla by some way and then sick his men on him. He then carried Louisa off. She had sent her little boy up to her sister’s and then he beat her till she told him where he was - I felt like crying and was bound to let you know and your husband know how that scamp had been acting and all I ask is Col Wood catch him yet. My husband is quite ill and has not been up at all today. Am in hopes a few weeks rest will restore him. Do you think of leaving Rolla soon and have your husband come back. I shall be glad to hear from you. Truly, Mrs. G. M. Dodge” {1}

Dodge was seriously injured during the Atlanta Campaign when he was shot in the head. Annie was back in Council Bluffs when she received the word and told there was little hope he would survive. She left immediately and when she reached Union lines, she was told “no women allowed through the lines”. Being the strong-will lady she was she went up the chain of command until General Sherman, who first refused, and then relented when he realized this lady was going to see her husband with or without his permission.

No wonder a friend would write of Annie that she:

“wasn’t just a sit-at-home, meek and mild woman. She was feisty.
And I don’t think the general would have married someone who wasn’t.”

When the war was over, General Dodge returned to Iowa and worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. The couple also celebrated the birth of their third daughter in 1866 Anne, and by 1869 built a beautiful home in Council Bluff, Iowa. The home is now a museum.


(Library of Congress/Public Domain)

Celebrating over 60 years of marriage, it ended on January 3, 1916 upon the death of General Grenville Dodge at eighty-four years of age. It was shortly after his death that Annie had her dream. As it is told:

“She was standing on a shoreline when a boat pulled up to shore. On board the boat was a beautiful woman whom Ruth Anne believed was an angel. The angel offered her a drink from a bowl of water she was holding, but Ruth Anne turned down the drink. The angel came to her in a second dream sometime later, and again she turned down the drink. Ruth Anne had the same dream a third time, and this time she accepted the drink. Ruth Anne recounted the dreams to one of her daughters, saying of the time she drank from the bowl that it “gave her immortality”. {4}

Within days after the third drink Annie died in her sleep while living in her New York home. She died nine months after her husband and is buried by his side in Walnut Hill Cemetery, Council Bluffs Iowa. She was eighty-three

Daughters Ella and Anne were so impressed with their mother’s visionary dream that the following year they commissioned the future sculptor of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Daniel Chester French to re-create their mother’s dream. The statue stands at the edge of Fairview Cemetery and not at the mausoleum at Walnut Hill. Daniel French claimed the Black Angel as one of his favorite works.


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