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1864 May 7: Mary Edwards Walker, Army Surgeon, and Other News

May 11, 2014

The following small items are from The Polk County Press of May 8, 1864.

 A few [sic] Things.

— The Arkansas Legislature is providing for the organization of a loyal State Malitia [sic].

— Nevada Territory is preparing to send half a ton of silver to the St. Louis Sanitary Fair.

— The 17th Wisconsin, Col. Malloy,¹ numbering about 500 men in veterans and recruits, left Milwaukee on Tuesday for the seat of war.— Other recruits had, we believe, gone before, so that the regiment is nearly full.

— Miss Mary C. Oalker,² of Oswego, New York, a graduate of the female Medical College, and a very pretty young lady, has been ordered to report for duty in Col. McCook’s Brigade of the Western Army [Alexander D. McCook].

— The New York “Sunday Times” thinks General Fremont [John C. Frémont] is inclined to serve the Republican party very much as he does his hair—i. e., part it in the middle.

—President Lincoln has approved the bill authorizing the Secretary of War to take and hold possession, in behalf of the United States, of all the lands and shores of Rock Island, Illinois, on which to build an arsenal.  Just compensation is to be made to the private land owners.

— About the richest reasons assigned for the general defeat of the Peace Democracy at the spring elections, is given by the Warren, Ohio, “Constitution.”  It says :  “There was very little interest felt in the elections throughout the country—the Democrats seemed to be reserving their strength for the fall campaign.”

— It is stated that the tax bill now before congress, will, if passed, raise a revenue sufficient, with receipts from customs, to discharge the ordinary peace expenditures, pay the interest on a larger debt than the present, and make the Government securities solid beyond any necessity of a new bill to provide for emergencies, and set the national house in order in preparation or disasters.— It is estimated that it will produce at least $250,000,000. which with $90,000,000 under the present tariff, would give a total of $340,000,000. to be still further increased by additions to tariff.

THE CHIP BASKET.

— New Jersey refuses to permit her soldiers to vote.

— The death of Gen. Totten, Chief Engineer of the army, is announced.  [Joseph G. Totten]

— Mr. Googh, chairman of the House committee on the conduct of the war, writes the War Department that the facts concerning the Fort Pillow massacre are worse than reported.

— The “Inquirer” says that rebel [_]ers who arrived in Washington, state that Lee’s force [Robert E. Lee] on the Rapidan is 50,000.  Longstreet [James Longstreet] was at Charlotteville marching toward Staunton for the purpose of advancing down the Shenandoah valley.  Lee’s army had received seven days rations for a forward movement.

1.  Adam G. Malloy, from Baraboo, was commissioned captain of Company A, 6th Wisconsin Infantry, on April 26, 1861; was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 17th Infantry on December 10, 1861; and colonel of the 17th Infantry on November 25, 1862. He was brevetted a brigadier general of U.S. Volunteers on March 13, 1865.

Mary Edwards Walker, ca. 1865

Mary Edwards Walker, ca. 1865

2.  This probably is Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919), who graduated from the Geneva Medical College, in Geneva, N.Y., in 1855, the only woman in her class. When the Civil War broke out, she joined the Union effort working first as a nurse, then providing medical care to the wounded in Virginia in 1862, and  in 1863 she was briefly appointed surgeon in an Ohio Regiment. On April 10, 1864, she was captured by Confederate troops and arrested as a spy. She spent time as a prisoner of war in Richmond, Virginia, until exchanged in August 1864. In September of 1864, Dr. Walker was contracted as acting assistant surgeon with the Ohio 52nd Infantry. In 1865 she was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the first woman, and one of only eight civilians, to receive it. After the war she was a writer and lecturer supporting the women’s suffrage movement.
For more on Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, see “Celebrating America’s Women Physicians” page on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website. The photograph to the right is from this page. The photo is undated, but Dr. Walker is wearing her Medal of Honor so it was at least 1865.

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