|Charles Henry Tompkins|
Charles Henry Tompkins
|Born||September 12, 1830|
|Died||January 18, 1915(aged 84)|
|Place of birth||Fort Monroe, Virginia|
|Place of death||Washington, D.C.|
|Place of burial||Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, D.C.|
United States of America|
|Years of service||1856-1894|
|Rank||Brevet Brigadier General|
1st Rhode Island Light Artillery|
Chief of Artillery, VI Corps, Army of the Potomac
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
Charles Henry Tompkins (September 12, 1830 – January 18, 1915) was a Union Army colonel, who received an appointment to the brevet grade of Brigadier General of volunteers during the American Civil War. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor for valor in action on June 1, 1861 in the Battle of Fairfax Court House (June 1861). This was the first action in the Civil War for which a Union Army officer would receive the Medal of Honor, although it was not awarded until 1893.
Early life and career[edit | edit source]
Tompkins was born in Fort Monroe, Virginia. He received an appointment to West Point from Brooklyn, New York as a member of the class of 1851, though he did not graduate with his class. He resigned in 1849 for unspecified reasons. Tompkins pursued private business interests until enlisting as a Private in the First Dragoons in 1856, rising to the rank of sergeant before his enlistment ended in January 1861. He served on the western frontier and was recognized for his performance in action near Pyramid Lake, Nevada in June 1860.
Tompkins received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry in March 1861. It was in this unit that he gained fame for his heroism in action at the Battle of Fairfax Court House (June 1861) while a 1st Lieutenant. He would later rise to the grade of colonel and be awarded the honorary grade of Brevet Brigadier General by the war's end.
Medal of Honor citation[edit | edit source]
"Twice charged through the enemy's lines and, taking a carbine from an enlisted man, shot the enemy's captain." Captain John Quincy Marr was the first Confederate soldier killed in combat during the Civil War.
Postbellum[edit | edit source]
Tompkins was appointed as one of the nine officers assigned to the military commission investigating the conspirators involved in President Lincoln's assassination. Because of a dispute with General Grant, between 1866 and 1881 he was posted to numerous remote and austere western posts. He served the remainder of his career in the Quartermaster Corps, rising to the rank of Quarter-master General which carried a rank of Colonel in the Regular Army. He finished his career serving on the east coast, voluntarily retiring in 1894. Tompkins suffered a broken leg in September 1914 and the wound never healed properly. He died of sepsis in Washington, D.C. on January 18, 1915. He is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, DC.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Tompkins married Ms. Augusta Root Hobbie of New York on December 17, 1862 . They had a total of seven children, with four of them reaching adulthood. His eldest son, Selah Reeve Hobbie (“Tommy”) Tompkins, was an Army officer who became Colonel of the 7th Cavalry Regiment. His second son, Frank Tompkins, also served as a career army officer.
See also[edit | edit source]
- List of American Civil War Medal of Honor recipients: T–Z
- List of Medal of Honor recipients educated at the United States Military Academy
- List of United States Military Academy non-graduate alumni
- List of Union Army officers educated at the United States Military Academy
- List of American Civil War Generals (Union)
- List of United States Military Academy alumni
- List of American Civil War generals (Union)
References[edit | edit source]
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
- A second Union Army officer named Charles Henry Tompkins (May 15, 1834 – August 9, 1895), Colonel and Chief of Artillery of the 6th Corps, Army of the Potomac, also was awarded the grade of Brevet Brigadier General for meritorious services in the American Civil War. Hunt, Roger D. and Jack R. Brown, Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue. Gaithersburg, MD: Olde Soldier Books, Inc., 1990. ISBN 1-56013-002-4. p. 620.
- "Charles Henry Tompkins". HomeofHeros.com. http://www.homeofheroes.com/gravesites/states/pages_pz/thompkins_charles.html. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
- "Medal of Honor recipients Civil War (M-Z)". United States Army Center of Military History. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/civwarmz.html. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
- "Fiddler's Green: Charles H. Tompkins". Crossed Sabres. http://crossedsabers.blogspot.com/2007/05/fiddlers-green-charles-h-tompkins.html. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- C. Douglas Sterner. "West Point Medal of Honor recipients". HomeofHeros.com. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:qOf6pcgMHd4J:www.homeofheroes.com/e-books/publisher/S_WestPoint.doc+charles+henry+tompkins,+west+point&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- "Charles Henry Tompkins". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7519792. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
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