(1834 - 1862)
Home State: South Carolina
Education: University of South Carolina, Class of 1855
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: Hampton (SC) Legion
After college he studied the law, was admitted to the bar in Columbia in 1858, and was in practice in Edgefield to the start of the war. He mustered as the First Lieutenant of Company B - the Watson Guards - of the Hampton Legion Infantry in 1861. He was reelected in the reorganization of April 1862, slightly wounded at Seven Pines, VA on 31 May, and promoted to Captain on 12 June.
On the Campaign
He was killed in action along the Hagerstown Pike near Miller's Cornfield at Sharpsburg early in the morning of 17 September 1862.
The rest of the War
He was originally buried on the battlefield by his men "in the S.W corner of Col. Miller's woods, name cut on tree." His remains were returned home by 1869.
References & notes
His service from the Rolls,1 as Robert W. Tompkins. Further details from McArthur & Burton's A Gentleman and an Officer: A Military and Social History of James B. Griffin's Civil War (1996), the Abbeville Banner of 13 May 1858, and his obituary in the Edgefield Advertiser of 22 October 1862. His burial on the field from Pruitt2 and a letter of Colonel Martin Gary to the Edgefield Advertiser of 21 April 1881, in McBride, Owen & Allport's Texas at Antietam (2017). His gravesite is on Findagrave, source also of his obituary.
His older brother Gus was Sergeant, Lieutenant, and later Captain in Company B. They were two of the 6 Tompkins brothers who served in Confederate uniform.
His first law partner was Matthew C. Butler, later commander of the Hampton Legion Cavalry/2nd South Carolina Cavalry.
12/09/1834; Edgefield County, SC
09/17/1862 Sharpsburg, MD; burial in Tompkins Homestead Plantation Cemetery, Parksville, SC
1 Thomas, John P., and and previous SC Historians of the Confederate Records, Confederate Rolls of South Carolina, Columbia: Historian of Confederate Records, 1898, Roll of Company B, Hampton Legion, South Carolina Vols. [AotW citation 24099]
2 Pruett, Samuel, and Poffenberger & Good, Greg Farino and Western Maryland Regional Library (WMRL), Washington Confederate Cemetery, possible burials, Hagerstown (MD): WHILBR, 2010, pg. 61 [AotW citation 24101]