‘Captain Sally’ returns to Mathews County
Civil War reenactor Rosemary Thoburn of Vienna, a young woman who has been portraying the “Angel of the Confederacy” for the past four years, brought “Captain Sally” back to life for an hour on Saturday night in a program sponsored by the Mathews County Sesquicentennial Committee.
People packed the historic courthouse to hear Thoburn, speaking as Tompkins, tell of the Mathews County native’s struggle to keep a military hospital running in Richmond through four years of bloody conflict.
Tompkins, who was born at Poplar Grove, founded and directed Robertson Hospital in downtown Richmond, a facility that treated more than 1,300 Confederate soldiers between 1861 and 1865. Of that total, only 73 patients died under her care, a survival rate that made Robertson Hospital the envy of the rest of the Confederate Medical Service.
Tompkins had come from a long and distinguished military family; her grandfather served under George Washington, her father had been a militia colonel in the War of 1812 and her brother was an officer who at one time counted among his command “the infamous William T. Sherman,” Thoburn said, getting a chuckle from the crowd.