Sam Davis
Hero of the Confederacy

Sam Davis

Sam Davis, a young Confederate soldier from Smyrna, Tennessee, was a private in the First Tennessee Infantry. He was a scout under Capt. Coleman, alias Dr. H.B. Shaw. Coleman's Scouts were gathering information about the Union forces moving from Middle Tennessee toward Chattanooga.

On November 19, 1863, Davis is said to have spent the night at Campbellsville, at the home of Bob English. The next day Davis, carrying important documents to General Braxton Bragg at Chattanooga, was captured fifteen miles south of Pulaski, Tennessee, on Lamb's Ferry Road, below Minor Hill. Two Union soldiers dressed in Confederate uniforms approached young Davis and told him that they were conscripting.

Davis replied that he was already a Confederate soldier and showed them his pass. He was dressed in his own Confederate Uniform. The soldiers led him to their commanding officer, who took his gun. A search revealed papers in the soles of his boots and saddle. He was taken to Pulaski and imprisoned in jail on the northwest corner of the square, at the location of today's Hunter-Smith Furniture Store, in a building that later burned. He was court marshalled, then condemned to death by hanging. General Dodge offered young Davis his freedom if he would reveal the source of his information. Davis replied, If I had a thousand lives, I would give them all here before I would betray a friend or the confidence of my informer.

On November 27, 1863, Sam rode in a wagon, seated upon his own coffin, from the Giles County jail to a hill in east Pulaski, overlooking the town. There he died the death of a hero.

Giles County erected three memorials in honor of Sam Davis. Each is a stop on the historic Sam Davis Trail. The cemetery in which Davis was buried before his body was moved to his home in Smyrna is also on the trail.

The first stop on the trail is a monument erected at the site of his capture by the citizens of Minor Hill in 1926, in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of History and Archives.

The second stop is the Sam Davis Museum which is the location of the hanging. The museum was built in 1950 with funds appropriated by the State Legislature. The museum is open on the third Sunday of every month from
1:30 - 4:30 p.m., except when that Sunday falls on a holiday. For more information, call George Newman at 931-363-2720.

The third stop is Maplewood Cemetery, the location of the resting place of Sam's body before it was taken home to Smyrna. Hopefully, a marker will soon be placed to show the spot where his body lay for a few days.

The fourth stop is the Sam Davis Statue on Pulaski's square. This statue was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and dedicated in 1910 during the State Reunion of Confederate Veterans, which was held in Pulaski.

Sam Davis was truly a hero, as were so many other young men who gave their lives during those years of our country's great tragedy. Giles County will forever regret the unjust death of this young man. We hope to keep his memory alive through this Heritage Trail.

Another statue of this young hero is on the Tennessee Capitol grounds in Nashville. The Sam Davis Home in Smyrna, Tennessee, is another shrine open to the public daily.

See Tennessee Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, for additional information about this Confederate Hero. Please note that the data on the next web site is copyrighted material. Use your "BACK" button to return here.