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Historical Program – April 2011 – Captain Sally Tompkins.

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1 Historical Program – April 2011 – Captain Sally Tompkins

2 Sally Louisa Tompkins “The Angel of the Confederacy” “Captain Sally” “Our Florence Nightingale is Sally Tompkins.” –Mary Chesnut Born 9 November 1833 in Poplar Grove, VA Died 26 July 1916 in Richmond, VA

3 -Although born in Poplar Grove, VA, Sally called Richmond home for most of her life. - The death of her father, Col. Christopher Tompkins (Revolutionary War Veteran), led the family to Richmond. - The First Battle of Manassas on 21 July 1861 was a tactical victory for the South, but it left many soldiers in need of medical care. -The wounded overwhelmed Richmond, many coming in on the Virginia Central Railroad. Citizens were urged to open their homes to these needy soldiers.

4 Sally Tompkins took the initiative to convince wealthy Richmond Judge John Robertson to allow her to use his home as a hospital. Judge Robertson had recently left the Richmond home to seek safer lodging in the Shenandoah Valley. Sally was 28 years old at the time and used her own family’s money to sponsor the hospital. After the initial deluge passed, the Confederates instituted regulations that such hospitals had to be under military command; however, Sally’s hospital had been so successful in returning the wounded to battle that President Davis commissioned Sally as a captain in the Confederate Cavalry, allowing the hospital to continue with its own successful methods. The Robertson Hospital

5 “She worked early and late, going from duty to duty, her medicine chest strapped to her side and her Bible in her hands. She passed from bed to bed with necessary nourishment or medicines, bestowing spiritual comfort as needed, ever ready to ease pain or to relieve a distressed soul.” - Bryant, D.A. “Captain Sally Tompkins.” UDC Magazine. March 2011: 10-11. UDC Magazine. March 2011: 10-11. Although the hospital’s success was attributed to many things, its cleanliness was most likely what set it apart from other hospitals of the time, and many of Sally’s practices are still widely used.

6 -The Robertson Hospital discharged its last soldier on 13 June 1865. -During its four-year existence, Robertson Hospital treated 1,333 wounded with only seventy-three deaths, the lowest mortality rate of any military hospital during the War Between the States. -Sally depleted her family fortune by the end of the War and refused any payment for her services.

7 Sally … -was the only woman officially commissioned as an officer of the CSA. -was bombarded with letters of gratitude after the War. -would receive a standing ovation when she entered the convention hall of the UDC. - lived in the Richmond Home for Confederate Women her last nine years as an honored guest. - was buried with full military honors at Christ Church in Matthews County, VA.



10 < Stained glass window honoring Captain Sally Tompkins at St. James Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia

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