Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/26/1916

Written Accounts
Other Sites


From the Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/26/1916

Captain Sallie Louisa Tompkins Dies at Confederate Home, Aged Eighty-Three.

Was Commissioned by President Jefferson Davis as Captain of Cavalry, and Operated Hospital in Richmond During Great War.

Captain Sallie Louisa Tompkins, eighty-three years old, the only woman who received a commission in the Army of the Confederacy, died yesterday morning at 8:45 o’clock in the Home for Confederate Women, 3 East Grace Street. Commissioned as a soldier, she labored as a nurse, and many a veteran owes his recovery from wounds and sickness to her tender care.

Captain Tompkins was born at Poplar Grove, Matthews County, November 9, 1833, the daughter of Christopher and Mrs. Maria Patterson Tompkins. Among her nearest surviving relatives are Dr. Christopher Tompkins, a nephew; Mrs. Ellen Tompkins Wise, of this city, and Miss Clementine Tompkins, of New York, nieces. Her sisters, Misses Elizabeth and Marie Tompkins, died many years ago.

When, during the course of the War Between the States, an order was issued closing private hospitals, Miss Tompkins was commissioned a captain of cavalry at the request of President Jefferson Davis, and she opened a hospital at the northwest corner of third and Main Streets, in the home of John Robertson. She took her mother’s old cook and opened the hospital ten days after the first battle of Manassas, closing it on June 13, 1865.


After the war Miss Tompkins spent much time as the guest of the Lightfoots at Port Royal and in visiting the home of Colonel Walter Taylor’s father in Norfolk. She was for many years a devout member of St. James Episcopal Church, of this city.

Since 1906, Captain Tompkins has been a guest at the Confederate Women’s Home, living there at the special request of the management.

The funeral services will be conducted in the Home for Confederate Women this afternoon at 5 o’clock, Rev. C. G. Chamberlayne officiating in the absence of Rev. G. Freeland Peter, rector of St. James Church. The interment will take place in Matthews County, in the graveyard of the church which Miss Elizabeth Tompkins helped to establish.

R. E. Lee Camp, United Confederate Veterans, of which Captain Tompkins was an honorary member, has detailed Captain John Lamb, Colonel Joseph V. Bidgood, and Sergeant-Major W. B. Lightfoot to attend the funeral and accompany the body to its last resting place in Matthews County. There will be a detail of veterans, also, from the Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home.

Details from the Richmond Howitzers and the Blues will attend the funeral as a mark of respect to the only woman commissioned officer of the Confederate Army. There will be a committee from Richmond Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy. The coffin will be draped with the Confederate colors in accordance with the custom observed at all funerals of Confederate officers.

The pall-bearers will be Frank Brooke, W. Crump Tucker, James Tabb, Dr. McCaw Tompkins, H. Watkins Ellerson, Thomas Pinckney Bryan, Bernard Robb and Charles Cooke.

Page last updated on 01/15/2008