Doctor or Doctress?

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A letter to Mrs. Lida Poynter from E.W. Morgan of the United States Veteran’s Administration, describing Dr. Mary Walker’s service in the Civil War.

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“How Dr. Mary is Remarkable”: A Female Surgeon in the Civil War

Mary Walker was the only woman physician to serve as a government-commissioned surgeon in the American Civil War. She was appointed contract surgeon for the 52nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry in March 1864.  In April 1864, Dr. Walker was captured by Confederate soldiers and held prisoner for 4 months in Richmond, Virginia.  She was released 4 months later, in August.  In recognition of her services to the Union Army, President Andrew Johnson gave her a Medal of Honor in November 1865.  She was given a pension in 1874 because of her service during the Civil War, and later worked as clerk in the United States Veteran’s Administration.

Lida Poynter collected many letters from people who knew Dr. Walker, as well as official documentation about Dr. Walker’s military service.  This letter serves as evidence that Dr. Walker was surgeon in the United States Army during the Civil War.

Creator: Morgan, E.W.

Contributor: Poynter, Lida

Language: english

Item Number: a026_016

Pages: 1

Size: 20.32 x 26.67cm

Physical Collection: Papers of Lida Poynter ca.1850-1946 (ACC-026), ACC-026

Finding Aid:

Link to OPAC Record:

Cite this source: Title of document, date. A Female Civil War Surgeon: How Dr. Mary is Remarkable. Doctor or Doctress?: Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians. The Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine Archives & Special Collections. Philadelphia, PA. Date of access.

Walker, Mary Edwards, 1832-1919

Women in medicine

Women surgeons

United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women

United States Veteran's Administration

Washington (D.C.)

Omaha (Neb.)