American feminist, abolitionist, prohibitionist, alleged spy, prisoner of war, surgeon, and currently the only woman ever to receive the Medal of Honor.

Conflict Period:
Civil War (Union) 1
26 Nov 1832 1
Oswego, New York 1
21 Feb 1919 1
New York 1

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Personal Details

Full Name:
Mary Edwards Walker 2
26 Nov 1832 2
Oswego, New York 2
Female 2
21 Feb 1919 2
New York 2
Cause: Natural causes 2
Burial Place: Rural Cemetery, Oswego, NY 2
Mother: Vesta Walker 2
Father: Alvah Walker 2
Albert Miller 2
Physician, Army nurse, Army Surgeon, writer, lecturer 2
Employer: U.S. Army 2
Position: Volunteer, Surgeon 2
Start Date: 1861 2
End Date: 1865 2
Institution: Bowen Collegiate Institute 2
Place: Hopkin, Iowa 2
From: 1860 2
Institution: Syracuse Medical College 2
Place: New York 2
To: 1855 2
Received Medal of Honor:
11 Nov 1865 2

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  1. Contributed by robertwille
  2. Contributed by Fold3_Pages


Mary Walker's Medal of Honor Citation

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.

Photo of Mary sells for $1380.00 in 2004

Mary Walker.jpg

Rare CDV Dr. Mary Walker, CMOH

Cowan's Auction Lot 365, December 2-3, 2004

by noted London photographer Elliott & Fry, identified in pencil on reverse. An 1855 graduate of Syracuse Medical College Mary Walker was an author and early feminist who gained distinction during the Civil War as a humanitarian, surgeon and spy. Walker was actually appointed surgeon of the 52nd OVI in 1863 by General Thomas in recognition of her skills and was captured in 1864 and ultimately exchanged for a Confederate officer "man for man". She was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in January 1866 on the personal recommendation of General Sherman and refused to part with it when it was revoked for "unusual circumstances" in 1917. Dr. Walker died in 1919 and it was not until 1977 that President Carter officially reinstated the award. 
Condition:   Cdv in near EXC condition with minor corner wear. Sold $1,380.00

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