Led His Men of the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee
TOMPKINS, Selah R(eeve) H(obbie). (1863-Feb. 7, 1939. Military Officer who graduated in 1883 from Shattack School, a military academy in Minnesota. He went to west Point but failed his English examination. This shut him out of the Academy. His father took his son to his old friend General Philip Sheridan and the general took the problem to President Chester A. Arthur. Tompkins was too young for a direct commission so the President said he was born in 1863 making him eligible. His first assignment was with the 7th U.S. Infantry at Ft. Laramie, Wyoming. Tompkins was unhappy being in the infantry and transferred to the 7th U.S. Cavalry in March 1886. Four years later he got his first combat experience at Wounded Knee.
Tompkins was on duty Troop D, 7th Cavalry on 29 December 1890. He led a detachment of 12 soldiers at Wounded Knee. His men killed 5 Indian warriors. His hat was shot off of his head. He is noted for telling his men not to shoot women and children. Many women and children were killed at Wounded Knee by other soldiers. For many years Tompkins commanded the famous 7th Cavalry. Tompkins was called on to testify on 9 January 1891 at Major General Nelson A. Miles investigation into the Wounded Knee affair.
Tompkins led the 7th U.S. Cavalry against Pancho Villa in the battle of Juarez (1919). His unit accompanied General john J. Pershing to Mexico on Pancho Villa’s trail.
Tompkins was also a poet and wrote “The Dragon Bold.”
Tompkins was buried with all the pomp and ceremony of a military funeral in Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery, Bexar, Texas.
A very rare signature “S.R.H. Tompkins” adding in his hand: “Colonel 7th Cav. Retired. Ft. Clark, Texas, Dec.13, 1929” on a portion of an album page. A very rare and desirable signature. In excellent condition................$795.00