Women of the War

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Mary Walker, M.D.

Born: November 26 1832 - Oswego, New York

Died: February 21 1919 - Oswego, New York

   Mary Walker, M.D., physician and Civil War field surgeon, was the first woman to receive the Medal of Honor. Much ahead of her time, Dr. Walker, in 1855, was one of the first women in the United States to earn a medical degree. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Dr. Walker volunteered to work on the Civil War battlefields caring for the wounded. Denied a commission as a medical officer because she was a woman, she volunteered anyway and eventually was appointed assistant surgeon of the 52nd Ohio Infantry. Captured by the Confederates in 1864, she was exchanged only after she spent four months in a Richmond, Virginia prison.

Note: In WWII, a Liberty Ship was named for her, the SS Mary Walker. In 1982, the US Postal Service issued at 20 cent stamp in her honor.


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