The seventh installment in an illustrated series dedicated to soldiers whose actions earned them the nation’s highest award for military valor is now available online.
The newest issue of “Medal of Honor,” a graphic series produced by the Association of the U.S. Army, spotlights the Civil War heroics of Mary Walker, the first woman in the U.S. to earn a medical degree and the only woman to ever receive the Medal of Honor.
Born in Oswego, New York, to abolitionist parents, Walker attended Syracuse Medical College prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, when she saw an opportunity to serve as a surgeon in the U.S. Army.
But the arrangement wasn’t a seamless one. In 1861, Walker attempted to join the ranks of U.S. Army surgeons but was denied for being a woman. Like many obstacles she encountered prior to 1861, Walker refused to allow the hiccup to derail her.
Years as an unpaid surgeon’s assistant finally paid off when, at the height of the war, Walker was issued a contract as a credentialed War Department surgeon at the recommendation of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas.