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For her charitable efforts on behalf of the wounded, Tompkins received a commission as Captain in the Confederate Cavalry (unassigned) from President Jefferson Davis on 9 September 1861, thus becoming the only woman officer to serve in the Confederate army.Her story demonstrates the significant contributions of countless southern women who gave of their time, talent, and treasure from Fort Sumter to Appomattox.“Captain Sally” was born at Poplar Grove in Mathews County, Virginia, on 9 November 1833, the youngest child of Colonel Christopher Tompkins and Maria Patterson Tompkins.Her family had boasted a proud military tradition since the Revolutionary War when Sally’s grandfather, Colonel John Patterson, was commissioned by General Washington after the Battle of Monmouth.That young Sally Tompkins was keenly aware of this tradition is certain.When one of her brothers left to serve in Texas during the Mexican-American War, Sally, then only thirteen years old, wrote: “I hope you will be able to distinguish yourself in the battle and be a second George Washington and come home to receive congratulations from all your friends.” This family tradition of martial valor led Tompkins to believe fervently in the southern cause.
On her military commission, dated 9 September 1861, she wrote, “I accepted the above commission as Captain in the C. Some called her “the little lady with the milk-white hands.” Others saluted her as “dearest of captains.” Mary Chesnut, a frequent visitor to the hospital wrote in her diary, “Our Florence Nightingale is Sally Tompkins.” The more than 1,300 men fortunate to be sent to Robertson Hospital called her simply “Captain Sally.” After General Robert E.
In the 1960s the Captain Sally Tompkins Memorial Window was officially commemorated in her honor at St. Both remain fitting tributes to Sally Tompkins, a true Angel of the Confederacy.
Odyssey started out as most good things do, as a hobby.
According to contemporary accounts, Tompkins protested this decision, even as ambulances arrived to remove her patients. Camp, assistant secretary of the treasury, she made a personal appeal to President Davis.
Tompkins showed her hospital register to the president and pointed out the high percentage of men returned to active duty after recovering from their wounds.