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First Name: William

Last Name: Thompkins

Birthplace: Paterson, NJ, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Paterson, NJ
Middle Name: H.

Date of Birth: 03 October 1872

Date of Death: 24 September 1916

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served:
William H. Thompkins

•  Spanish-American War (1898)


William H. Thompkins

Sergeant, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

Spanish-American War

Sergeant William H. Thompkins (3 October 1872 - 24 September 1916) was a Buffalo Soldier in the U.S. Army who received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during the Spanish-American War.

Thompkins joined the Army from his birth city of Paterson, NJ. On 30 June 1898 he was serving as a Private in Troop G of the 10th Cavalry Regiment. That day, American forces aboard the USSĀ Florida near Tayacoba, Cuba, dispatched a small landing party to provide reconnaissance on Spanish outposts in the area. The party was discovered by Spanish scouts and came under heavy fire; their boats were sunk by enemy cannon fire, leaving them stranded on shore.

The men aboard the Florida launched several rescue attempts; the first four were forced to retreat under heavy fire. The fifth attempt, manned by Thompkins and three other Privates of the 10th Cavalry (Dennis Bell, Fitz Lee, and George H. Wanton), launched at night and successfully found and rescued the surviving members of the landing party. One year later, on 23 June 1899, all four rescuers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions in what had come to be known as the Battle of Tayacoba.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Troop G, 10th U.S. Cavalry

Place and date: Tayabacoa, Cuba, 30 June 1898

Citation: Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated.

Death and Burial

Sergeant William H. Thompkins died on 24 September 1916. He is buried at San Francisco National Cemetery in San Francisco, CA, in Section WS, Grave 1036-A.

Honoree ID: 1950   Created by: MHOH




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