Mary Edwards Walker 1832-1919

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker was a rebel with a cause.  During the Civil War, she served as an assistant surgeon in the Union Army, becoming the only woman to do so. While crossing enemy lines to tend Confederate civilians along the Tennessee/Georgia border, she was captured and sent to a Confederate prison camp for four months in 1864.  One year later, President Andrew Johnson awarded her the Congressional Medal of Honor for her devotion to tending sick and wounded soldiers.  She remains the only woman ever to receive that honor.

Walker’s unconventional dress made her notorious.  An advocate of dress reform, she wore men’s trousers, a frock coat and a top hat and was arrested numerous times for her scandalous attire.  Throughout her life, she campaigned for women’s rights.

In 1917, Congress rescinded Walker’s Medal of Honor, thanks to a new ruling that stated it should be given only to those who engaged in combat with the enemy.  But in 1977, President Jimmy Carter restored Walker’s medal.  The U.S. Postal service honored her with a stamp in 1982.

 Debra’s portrayal of Dr. Walker concentrates on her Civil War experiences and includes information about Civil War medicine as well as Walker’s experiences at the Battle of Fredericksburg and her role as a contract surgeon with the Ohio 52nd Volunteer Infantry.

Debra Conner • 279 Bateaux Dr. • Summerville, SC 29483

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