Wednesday, November 27, 2013

If I Had A Thousand Lives

Sam Davis known as the “Boy Hero of the Confederacy” was executed on November 27th 1863.

Sam Davis was born October 6th 1842 in Rutherford County, Tennessee, the son of Charles Lewis and Jane (Simmons) Davis.  He attended local schools, before going to the West Military Institute in Nashville, Tennessee in 1860-61, where his headmaster was the future Confederate General Bushrod Johnson.

At the beginning of the Civil War Davis enlisted as a private in the Confederate 1st Tennessee Infantry.  He would see his first action at Cheat Mountain in the Shenandoah Valley.  Davis was wound at the Battle of Shiloh and again at the Battle of Perryville.  The Perryville wound was serious, and after recovering he became a courier for Coleman’s Scouts.

It was while doing service with Coleman’s Scouts that Davis was captured on November 20th 1863 near Minor Hill, Tennessee.  He was wearing a partial Confederate uniform, had a pass from Confederate General Braxton Bragg and was in possession of Union papers detailing troop movements and private papers belong to Union General Grenville M Dodge.  Davis was arrested as a spy, and sentenced by a military court to be executed by hanging.  He was given an out, if he would name his Union contact, to which Davis was supposed to have said, "If I had a thousand lives to live, I would give them all rather than betray a friend or the confidence of my informer.”  Just before the execution Davis wrote a letter home to his family, "Dear mother. O how painful it is to write you! I have got to die to-morrow --- to be hanged by the Federals. Mother, do not grieve for me. I must bid you good-bye forevermore. Mother, I do not fear to die. Give my love to all.  Father, you can send after my remains if you want to do so. They will be at Pulaski, Tenn. I will leave some things with the hotel keeper for you."  He was hung November 27th 1863 at Pulaski, Tennessee.

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