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I'm covering for my wife, Winnie, who's cruising on the Caribbean with my daughter, Wendi and her high-school chorus/band. (When I was in school, we took a 3-hour bus ride to a high-school chorus competition, my how times change, huh?).

Anyway, Winnie was supposed to write something up, and I was going to send it for her tonight, but in the hustle and bustle of last minute packing, etc., she either didn't have time to do it, or didn't tell me where she left it. So, not being as creative as she, I appropriated the following article from the soc.history.war.us-civil-war mailing list. Thought it might be of interest.


Tom Ledoux

left behind and not liking it.

Subject: Women of the Civil War

Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 01:31:09 GMT

From: "anthony lombardi"

Organization: soc.history.war.us-civil-war

Newsgroups: soc.history.war.us-civil-war

Mary Walker

I purchased this pamphlet, "Daughters of the Cause: Women of the Civil War," by Robert P. Broadwater, printed 1993 by Daisy Publishing, P.O. Bx 253, Martinsburg, PA 16662, for a few dollars at Ft. Monroe, VA. It has plenty of information, and has its own bibliography. I would like to share one story with you---Mary Walker stands alone as the only women to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Civil War. Mary began her service as a volunteer nurse with the Army of the Potomac. She followed the army through all of its campaigns. In the fall of 1863, she traveled to Chattanooga to help care for the wounded from the battle of Chickamauga.

Mary Walker stamp

While working with the western army, her talent came under the eye of General George "Pap" Thomas. When an assistant surgeon of the 52nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry died, Thomas ordered Mary to report to the commanding officer of the regiment as his replacement. Mary filled the position and though she competently carried out all the duties, she was regulated to an unofficial capacity due to her gender. In January 1864, Mary wrote a letter to President Lincoln informing him of her services and the rejection she received as an official surgeon. Lincoln took action to address the grievance, and in October of that same year, Mary was notified by the War Department that she had been selected for a contract as an acting assistant surgeon, at a salary of one hundred dollars a month. On January 24, 1866, President Andrew Johnson paid tribute to Mary's service by bestowing upon her the Congressional Medal of Honor. This decision was challenged in January of 1917 by a military review board which had been convened to examine the substance of previous Medal of Honor claims. In all, 911, Medal of Honor recipients were stricken from the roll, for failing to meet the criteria of the award, and Mary was among them. Refusing to accept the decision, she continued to wear her medal proudly until her death on February 21, 1919. On June 10, 1977, another military review board restored Mary to the official list of medal recipients. They found that her service and conduct were in the finest tradition of the military. Had it not been for her gender, she would have been commissioned as a surgeon in 1861. I thought that this information would be a good change.

Respectfully yours,

Anthony A. Lombardi, 4/24/98

© 2006 Winifred Ledoux