Dr. Mary Edwards Walker

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker

Mary Edwards Walker was born in 1832 to Oswego, NY. She was an ardent abolitionist, a surgeon, spy, prisoner of war, and the ONLY woman to receive the Medal of Honor. In 1855 she graduated from medical school as a doctor.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861 Walker volunteered for Union Army as a civilian, first practicing as a nurse.  She served at First Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chattanooga and Chickamauga.

In September 1863 she was awarded a “Contract Acting Assistant Surgeon (civilian)” by the Army of the Cumberland. A first-ever female U.S. Army Surgeon.

Captured on April 10, 1864 as a spy, she was sent to Richmond and was exchanged four months later.

She also served in the Battle for Atlanta (1864). Walker served as a supervisor of female prison in Louisville, KY; and headed an orphanage in Tennessee.

On November 11, 1865 she was awarded the Medal of Honor – the only woman ever to have received the award.

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