Private John Tompkins
Fifth Iowa Volunteer Infanty
Private John Tompkins was nineteen when he enlisted in Company C of the Fifth Iowa Infantry on July 1, 1861. Born in Pennsylvania, he resided in Oakland, Iowa when the war broke out.
Unfortunately, Tompkins did not survive the war. He did not live long enough to join his companions in transferring to the Fifth Iowa Cavalry Consolidated. The cause of his death on December 7, 1863 is not recorded in the Official Roster. He was buried at Jefferson Barracks in St Louis, Missouri.
Although Tompkins did not survive the war, some of his correspondence did. The following letter comes from a private collection. It was written to his brother during the siege of New Madrid, Missouri. The Fifth Iowa Infantry performed heroically during the campaign at New Madrid and the capture of Island Number Ten. Tompkins' letter provides an interesting glimpse into this phase of the war from the perspective of one of the regiment's privates.
In camp near New Madrid