Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Emma(Anna) Ella Carroll 1815 ~ 1894


Emma Ella Carroll, military genius, was born in Somerset County, Maryland, August 29, 1815; daughter of Thomas King Carroll, Governor of Maryland. When but three years of age she would listen with great gravity to readings from Shakespeare. Alison's History and Kant's Philosophy were her favorites at eleven. Coke and Blackstone at thirteen. Her literary career began early in life when she contributed political articles to the daily press.

In 1857 she published "The Great American Battle," or "Political Romanism," and in the year 1858, "The Star of the West," a work describing the exploration and development of our Western territories. In 1858 she rendered valuable assistance in electing Thomas H. Hicks, Governor, and her influence held Maryland loyal to the Union.

 She freed her own slaves and devoted tongue and pen to upholding the Union. In July, 1861, when Senator Breckenbridge made his speech in favor of secession. Miss Carroll issued a pamphlet in which she refuted each of his arguments, and a large edition was published and circulated by the War Department. Her ability was recognized and she was requested by the government to write on topics bearing on the war.

She published in 1861 "The War Powers of the Government," and for her next pamphlet "The Relation of the National Government to the Revolted Citizens Defined," President Lincoln furnishing the theme. In the fall of 1861 Mr. Lincoln and his military advisers had planned a campaign to extend operations into the Southwest, opening the Mississippi to its mouth. Miss Carroll, at the suggestion of government authorities, personally investigated the scene of the proposed operations, and made a study of the topography of the country, and reported that the Tennessee River and not the Mississippi was the true key to the situation.

Her explanatory maps and invaluable geographical and topographical information resulted in her plan being adopted, and the land and naval forces were massed on the Tennessee. Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Bowling Green, Pittsburgh Landing and Corinth, one after another fell into the hands of the Federals. Missouri was saved, and Kentucky and Tennessee brought back into the Union.

She also suggested the final plan adopted by the War Department, resulting in the capture of Vicksburg; which opened the way to the North. It was deemed wise at the time to keep secret the fact that this campaign had been conceived by a civilian and a woman. Mr. Lincoln's death prevented his acknowledgment of the credit, and though Miss Carroll had ample documentary proof of the validity of her claim, which was acknowledged by several of the Congressional Military Committees to be "incontrovertible" no further action was taken in the matter, and Miss Carroll was dependent for support in her declining years upon her sister, a clerk in the Treasury Department at Washington.

The above facts will be found in her life, by Sarah Ellen Blackwell, by whom she is called a genius. She died February 17, 1894.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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