Captain Sally Tompkins
Portrayed by Rosemary Thoburn

Sally Louisa Tompkins or "Captain Sally" served as a nurse in Richmond throughout the Civil War. She founded the Robertson Hospital ten days after the First Battle of Manassas (June 31st 1861). Most of the private hospitals in Richmond were keeping much-needed soldiers longer than was necessary in order to charge the Confederate government more for their services. Sally's hospital was not among these, due to the fact that her hospital was completely privately funded. Despite this, the Roberson Hospital along with all the other privately run hospitals in Richmond were forced to close on September 5th, 1861. Protesting the order, Sally managed to arrange a meeting with President Davis four days later to request that the Robertson Hospital remain open. In the meeting, Miss Tompkins showed Davis her hospital register where she had recorded the name of every patient she had treated and when they had been released. From this, she was able to convince President Davis that her hospital made a valuable contribution to the war effort. In order to circumvent the issue that her hospital could not be open if it was privately run, President Davis commissioned Sally as a captain in the cavalry (unassigned) thus technically making her hospital government run. Because of this, Sally became the only woman commissioned into an American army until 1901.

From July 31st 1861, until June 13th, 1865, Captain Sally Tompkins treated 1,334 patients. Of that only 74 men died, giving the Robertson Hospital the lowest death rate of any hospital, government or privately run, in the area. After the war, Miss Tompkins focused most of her time on traveling and doing various philanthropic projects until she had completely exhausted her fortune. She became an honorary member of the R. E. Lee Camp of United Confederate Veterans and on July 25, 1916, she died at the age of 83 and was given the burial of a Confederate officer.

Rosemary Thoburn began re-enacting in April 2008. She has worked with the Fairfax Christian School Fife and Drum Corps since its beginning in 2005 and is a student at George Mason University. She has a great love for teaching history and learning new things about it.

Captain Sally Thompkins portrayed by Rosemary Thoburn
Click to Enlarge
Contact Lee's Lieutenants
headquarters@leeslieutenants.com

Copyright © 2005 - 2011 Lee's Lieutenants Army of Northern Virginia