Mary Walker

Mary Edwards Walker (1832 - 1919)

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Dr. Mary Edwards Walker
Born in Oswego, New York, United Statesmap
Wife of — married (to ) in Rome,New Yorkmap
Died in Oswego, New York, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 19 Oct 2009
This page has been accessed 6,617 times.

Categories: Medal of Honor | Women's History | United States of America, United States Civil War | Abolitionists | Roll of Honor Military Showcase Profile Nominee | Prisoners of War, United States of America, United States Civil War | Notables.

Dr. Mary Walker was a Prisoner of War during the American Civil War.


Mary Walker is Notable.

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker is the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor. [1] [2] When the Civil War began, Mary sought a commission with the Union Army as a surgeon. [3] This was denied because she was a woman. [4] Not wishing to serve as a nurse because of her qualifications, she opted to volunteer for the Union Army as an unpaid surgeon. [5] She served at the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), July 21, 1861, and at the Patent Office Hospital in Washington, D.C. [6] She worked as an unpaid field surgeon near the Union front lines, including at the Battle of Fredericksburg and in Chattanooga after the Battle of Chickamauga. [7] Mary was captured and held as a civilian prisoner of war at Castle Thunder in Richmond, Virginia. She was later released in a prisoner exchange. [8] [9]

Civil War Army MOH

Citation: Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861; Patent Office Hospital, Washington, D.C., October 1861; Chattanooga, Tenn., following Battle of Chickomauga, September 1863; Prisoner of War, April 10, 1864-August 12, 1864, Richmond, Va.; Battle of Atlanta, September 1864 Whereas it appears from official reports that Dr. Mary E. Walker, a graduate of medicine, "has rendered valuable service to the Government, and her efforts have been earnest and untiring in a variety of ways," and that she was assigned to duty and served as an assistant surgeon in charge of female prisoners at Louisville, Ky., upon the recommendation of Major-Generals Sherman and Thomas, and faithfully served as contract surgeon in the service of the United States, and has devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and has also endured hardships as a prisoner of war four months in a Southern prison while acting as contract surgeon; and Whereas by reason of her not being a commissioned officer in the military service, a brevet or honorary rank cannot, under existing laws, be conferred upon her; and Whereas in the opinion of the President an honorable recognition of her services and sufferings should be made: It is ordered, That a testimonial thereof shall be hereby made and given to the said Dr. Mary E. Walker, and that the usual medal of honor for meritorious services be given her. Given under my hand in the city of Washington, D.C., this 11th day of November, A.D. 1865. Andrew Johnson, President (Medal rescinded 1917 along with 910 others, restored by President Carter 10 June 1977.)'[10]

Mary was born in 1832 in the Town of Oswego, New York, on November 26, 1832, the daughter of Alvah and Vesta Walker. She was the youngest of seven children. [11] [12]

Mary graduated medical school in June 1855, at 21 years old, she was the only woman in her class, and the second female doctor in the nation. [13] [14] Mary married Albert Miller, a physician and they began a joint practice. [15]

At the beginning of the American Civil War, she volunteered for the Union Army as a civilian. [16] The U.S. Army had no female surgeons, and at first she was only allowed to practice as a nurse. During this period, she served at the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), July 21, 1861, and at the Patent Office Hospital in Washington, D.C. She worked as an unpaid field surgeon near the Union front lines, including at the Battle of Fredericksburg and in Chattanooga after the Battle of Chickamauga. [17] [18] As a suffragette, she was happy to see women serving as soldiers and alerted the press to the case of Frances Hook in Ward 2 of the Chattanooga hospital, a woman who served in the Union forces disguised as a man.

Castle Thunder Prison

Read more about how Mary defied social conventions

WikiData: Q2418031 Wikidata Information Reasonator enwiki Ancestors (about wikidata)


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Lange, DoD News
  3. Lange, DoD News
  4. Lange, DoD News
  5. Lange, DoD News
  6. Wikipedia
  7. Wikipedia
  8. Lange, DoD News
  9. Wikipedia
  10. Congressional Medal of Honor Society Dr. Mary Walker
  11. Lange, DoD News
  12. Wikipedia
  13. Lange, DoD News
  14. Wikipedia
  15. Wikipedia
  16. Lange, DoD News
  17. Lange, DoD News
  18. Wikipedia

See also:

  • National Institute of Health Changing the Face of Medicine: Dr. Mary Walker
  • "United States Census, 1910 database with images, FamilySearch, (accessed 10 March 2016), New York > Oswego > Oswego > ED 146 > image 26 of 28; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • "New York State Census, 1865," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 March 2016), Mary E Walker in household of Alvah H Walker, District 01, Oswego, Oswego, New York, United States; citing source p. 42, line 4, household ID 280, State Library, Albany; FHL microfilm 857,438

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Memories: 1

On 29 Oct 2009 Shanice Aparicio wrote:


"I am the original new woman...Why, before Lucy Stone, Mrs. Bloomer, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were—before they were, I am. In the early '40's, when they began their work in dress reform, I was already wearing pants...I have made it possible for the bicycle girl to wear the abbreviated skirt, and I have prepared the way for the girl in knickerbockers.." National Library of Medicine

"No young lady, when she is being courted … for a moment supposes that her lover can … ever wish her to be his slave.” -Mary Edwards Walker

“Until women have a voice in making laws, they must of necessity be imperfect, as are all laws, where … woman has had no voice in their making.” -Mary Edwards Walker

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No known carriers of Mary's ancestors' mitochondrial DNA have taken an mtDNA test and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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On 30 Sep 2017 at 01:40 GMT Dorothy Barry wrote:

"The Unconventional Life of Mary Walker, the Only Woman to Have Received the U.S. Medal of Honor". Dress reformer, women’s rights activist, and all-around pioneer.


On 10 Jan 2017 at 08:22 GMT Dorothy Barry wrote:

Another great profile for the Roll of Honor Military Showcase!! I was delighted to see a woman receive the Medal of Honor!! What an accomplishment Dr Mary Edwards Walker made in our American Civil War History!! Thank you Sheila for creating this profile!!

On 11 Sep 2016 at 23:43 GMT Dorothy Barry wrote:

USA’s only female Medal of Honor recipient:

Lawrence O'Donnell tells her story:

On 30 Oct 2009 at 00:58 GMT Shanice Aparicio wrote:

Mary is 34 degrees from Rosa Parks, 26 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 25 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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