Lincoln would not invite a national controversy about women’s work during the Civil War by appointing a female physician to the Union Army, even one he knew had been acting in such capacity on nearly half a dozen battlefields. While the military ban on women in combat has only just been lifted, a small but determined number of women have found their way to front lines since the very establishment of this country. Walker could have posed as a man, like the nearly 400 women who fought during the Civil War did, but that was never an option for her. The Osewgo, New York native desired public acknowledgment, and obscuring her sex would negate that primary goal.
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