The Department of the Army announced yesterday it is restoring the Medal of Honor it revoked 60 years ago for Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, a Civil War surgeon who was the only woman ever to win the medal.
Dr. Walker received the medal from President Andrew Johnson for treating Union soldiers in the 1860s on the front lines. When the Army took the medal from her and more than 900 other recipients in 1917, officials said there was not ample evidence that she deserved the award and that her status with the Army was ambiguous.
In restoring the medal yesterday, the Army said Dr. Walker probably had been a victim of sex discrimination since women were not allowed to join the Army during the Civil War.
Several U.S. senators, including Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass.) and Birch Bayh (D-Ind.) had introduced resolutions to have the medal restored to Dr. Walker.
Dr. Walker never gave up the medal, which is now at the Oswego County (N.Y.) Historical Society. Dr. Walker was a native of Oswego.
Helen Hay Wilson, a grandniece who lives in Northwest Washington, said she was notified of the decision yesterday morning by the Secretary of the Army's board of review.
"I was quite thrilled about it," Mrs. Wilson said. "I knew it would be restored, but I wasn't too sure when it was going to be."