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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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U.S. Civil War - U.S. Army

Mary Edwards Walker

  • Rank: Contract Surgeon
  • Conflict/Era: U.S. Civil War
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: 1861 - 1864
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: North Carolina, D.C., Tenneesee, Georgia, USA

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 Maj. Gens. 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

Medal of Honor Recipient Mary E. Walker
Medal of Honor Recipient Mary E. Walker
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: November 11, 1865

    Medal issued in 1865; Walker's Medal of Honor was rescinded following the 1916-1917 review of Army Medal of Honor awards as she was a civilian at the time of her valor; she was restored to the Medal of Honor Roll in 1977.

  • Born: November 26, 1832, Oswego County, NY, United States
  • Died: February 21, 1919, Oswego, NY
  • Buried: The Rural Cemetery (MH), Oswego, NY, United States
  • Location of Medal: Pentagon Women's Corridor (medal presented in 1977), Arlington, VA ; Richardson-Bates House Museum (original medal), Oswego, NY

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