Mary Edwards Walker: only woman to ever win the Medal of Honor

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.

For more information on Mary Edwards Walker:

One comment

  1. What a fine example for us all to take note of. She used her talents to help her fellow men and women when they needed it most. What an inspiration!

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