Mary Edwards Walker (1832–1919) was a female Civil War physician who received the Medal of Honor for her service. Walker received her medical degree from Syracuse Medical College in 1855. At the start of the Civil War, she offered to work as a surgeon for the Army. The Army initially refused her services, but she was able to practice after she agreed to work unpaid. Walker tended to Union wounded on site and at a hospital in Washington, DC. She earned the respect and admiration of her male colleagues and eventually received a paid contract, but she was soon captured by Confederate forces and imprisoned in Richmond, Virginia. After the war, Walker lobbied for a permanent position as an Army medical inspector but was denied. She was, however, granted a Medal of Honor for her service—making her the only woman to win the nation's highest honor during the Civil War. Walker spent her later life campaigning for women’s rights, suffrage, and dress reform. Just before her death in 1919, the government revoked her Medal of Honor. Walker refused to turn it over. It was restored by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.

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