Walker continued to request an official posting as a surgeon, but the army still refused her commission. Though officially a nurse, she wore the green sash of an army physician, and worked alongside the male doctors. A New York Tribune article written about Dr. Walker in 1862, included this paragraph:
Dressed in male habiliments… she carries herself amid the camp with a jaunty air of dignity well calculated to receive the sincere respect of the soldiers… She can amputate a limb with the skill of an old surgeon, and administer medicine equally as well. Strange to say that, although she has frequently applied for a permanent position in the medical corps, she has never been formally assigned to any particular duty.
In response to her many requests for a position as a physician, President Lincoln sent a letter to Dr. Walker in 1864, which read in part:
The Medical Department of the army is an organized system in the hands of men supposed to be learned in that profession and I am sure it would injure the service for me, with strong hand, to thrust among them anyone, male or female, against their consent.
In September, 1863, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Walker treated the wounded after the Battle of Chickamauga. Assistant Surgeon General Robert Wood, observed Walker's work during the Chickamauga Campaign, and finally assigned Walker the rank of Acting Assistant Surgeon in 1864. During this time Walker continued to face the disapproval of many of the male physicians who had little respect for her opinions, including her suggestion that many of the battlefield amputations were unnecessary. Despite these conflicts, there is ample evidence that other physicians and generals in the field were grateful for her assistance in treating the large numbers of wounded.
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