Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
Captain Sally Tomkins, Confederate Nurse
What do our young people know about the men and women of
Confederate History Month in April? Please share with your family.
Sally Tomkins was
born in "Poplar Grove" Mathews City, Virginia on November 9, 1833.
After her husband's death, Tomkins' mother moved the family to
Richmond, Virginia, where Sally lived at the outbreak of the War
Between the States.
When the Confederate Governement asked the public to help care
for the wounded from the First Battle of Manassas (also called Bull
Run in the north) Tomkins responded by operating a private hospital,
which was funded by Judge John Robertson.
Robertson Hospital, subsidized by Tomkins' substantial
inheritance, treated 1,333 Confederate soldiers from the opening
until the last pateints were discharged on June 13, 1865.
Confederate officers tried to place their most seriously wounded
in Sally Tomkins' care, because the hospital returned more patients
to the ranks than any other medical facility.
Tomkins used her high rate of success to convince President
Jefferson Davis to keep her hospital open as other private hosptials
were closed in the city.
To circumvent the regulation that all hospitals are run by
military personnel, on the 9th day of September 1863, President
Jefferson Davis appointed Tomkins a Captain of the Cavalry. Sally
Tomkins was the only woman honored by a commission on either side,
north or south. Her commission as an officer entitled her to receive
items from the military.
Captain Sally Tomkins was always welcome among the ranks of the
United Daughters of the Confederacy and upon her death on July 25,
1916, was given a funeral with military honors.
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