Mary Edwards Walker

Doctor, Feminist, Abolitionist, Prohibitionist

Dr. Walker was the only woman of the Civil War to receive the Medal of Honor. Dr. Mary Edwards Walker worked as a civilian surgeon for the Union Army after she was refused a commission as an army surgeon. She served at the Patent Office Hospital in Washington DC, and served as a field surgeon on the Union front lines for almost three years. She was present at the Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Chickamauga and the Battle of Atlanta. She was taken prisoner of war after the battle of Chickamauga and was held in Richmond, Virginia from April 10, 1864-August 12, 1864. After her release, she spent the remainder of the war working at a Louisville female prison.

Dr. Walker received the Congressional Medal of Honor for her work as a physician during the war years. In 1917, however, Congress rescinded her medal, along with over 900 others, ostensibly to increase the prestige of the honor. Critics maintained that she lost her medal because of her involvement in the suffrage movement. Dr. Walker, however, continued to wear the medal with pride. President Jimmy Carter posthumously reinstated her medal in 1977.



Birth Location: 
Oswego, New York
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Death Location: 
Oswego, New York
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