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Neither Heroine Nor Fool

Anna Ella Carroll of Maryland

By (author) Janet L. Coryell
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Kent State University Press, Kent, OH, United States
Published: 31st Jul 1990
Dimensions: w 159mm h 235mm
Weight: 454g
ISBN-10: 0873384059
ISBN-13: 9780873384056
Barcode No: 9780873384056

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Kirkus US
A painstaking effort to set the record straight on a woman reputed to have masterminded the military strategy for the Union's invasion of the mid-South during the Civil War. Was Anna Ella Carroll a "civilian woman General" deprived of proper recognition because of her sex, or was she an insignificant busybody with high skills at self-promotion? From time to time, this question has engaged feminists, historians, novelists, journalists, and biographers. From Coryell's (History/Auburn Univ.) research, Carroll emerges as neither the romantic charmer, the advocate for women's rights, nor the committed abolitionist her supporters claim; nor was she, apparently, the self-martyring fabricator of her detractors. She appears as an ambitious, energetic, clever, and hardworking woman who managed to support herself and her father with prolific political writings. She was also a virulent anti-Catholic who promoted the Know-Nothing Party and tried to persuade Millard Fillmore to be its presidential candidate. She carried on an interminable and one-sided correspondence with him, alternately offering unasked-for advice and beseeching him to respond, although eventually she supported Lincoln. By accident, she stumbled on a river pilot's notion for using the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers as a route for invading the South and was shrewd enough to elaborate it into a military plan she presented to the War Department. Although it was adopted, many claimed that the military had already thought of it, and Congress refused to vote reimbursement for her service. Lincoln himself was outraged by her demand for a huge sum (over $50,000) to fund a tour abroad. Mostly dry and scholarly, but enlivened by a particularly interesting critique of Carroll's supporters and detractors. (Kirkus Reviews)