(1825 - 1862)
Home State: South Carolina
Command Billet: Commanding Regiment
Branch of Service: Infantry
Listed in the 1860 US census (Anderson County) as a farmer, with wife (Margaret) and 5 children, he operated a tannery and sold boots and shoes. He was also a Major in the militia before the War. He was elected or appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment at the organization of the 22nd South Carolina Infantry, near Columbia, SC in January 1862.
On the Campaign
Major Hilton wrote: "[on South Mountain, September 14] ... after engaging them for about half an hour, we were ordered to fall back, which we did some 30 yards, through in some confusion, Lieutenant Colonel T. C. Watkins calling to the men to rally to their colors and fall into line. While thus exposing himself, and, having succeeded in forming the regiment in line of battle, he fell, struck by a musket-ball in the head. Thus fell a brave and skillful officer at the head of his command, encouraging and rallying his men with the last breath of life".
The rest of the War
"... the US Ambulance brought into the united army General Hospital in this city a lot of Confederate wounded officers and men, and your father was among them, and he was placed in Barrack B. He was speechless from his wound in his head, but he was conscious and understood anyone when they spoke to him. He could read a little at times, but you must not think for one moment that he did not receive the best possible care and attention while he was at the hospital in this City. He got the same attention that he would have gotten had he wore the Blue Coat, for the simple fact that he was attended by a Confederate Surgeon and Physician from N.C. ... Your father did not die in 3 or 4 days after receiving his wound, but lingered until the afternoon of Sept 26th. On the afternoon of the 27th of Sept. he was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery with all the honors due a soldier..."
References & notes
The picture and a little about Watkins pre-War is from Badders1, photo credit to W.L. Watkins. Additional genealogical data from Herman Geshwind, Old Pendelton District Database, the Old Pendelton District Chapter of the South Carolina Genealogical Society. The narrative about the Colonel's last days is from a 21 April 1910 letter from Frederick resident Charles William Smith to Thomas' oldest son John Crispen Watkins. Smith was a 14 year old newsboy at the time of the battle and had visited the Confederate troops at Frederick in the days before the fight on South Mountain.
Thanks especially to GGGrandson Stark Watkins Suggs for finding the photo above and passing along a typescript of the 1910 letter from his family papers. His stones at Mt. Olivet are on Findagrave. Oddly, his newer, government-supplied headstone is in the Union/Federal rather than Confederate style.
He married Margaret Smith (1827-1883) in about 1847 and they had 7 children; the last, T.C., Jr. (1863-1878) was born about 4 months after his father died.
11/01/1825; Anderson District, SC
9/26/1862; Frederick, MD; burial in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Frederick, MD
1 Badders, Hurley E, Anderson County, a pictorial history, Norfolk (Va): Donning Co., 1983, pg. 39 [AotW citation 878]