Sam Davis Home

Sam Davis Home (HM1B45)

Location: Smyrna, TN 37167 Rutherford County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 59.131', W 86° 30.065'

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Confederate Martyr

This is the Sam Davis Home, one of Tennessee's most significant Confederate memorial properties. Samuel ("Sam") Davis, born here in 1842, enlisted in the Rutherford Rifles (Co. I, 1st Tennessee Infantry) in 1861 and fought in western Virginia. After his enlistment expired, he returned home and joined Capt. Henry B. Shaw's Coleman's Scouts, Confederate cavalrymen who gathered information on Union troop movements. Federal authorities considered them spies. In November 1863, as Davis carried documents and newspapers to Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg, he was captured near Pulaski. Union Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, the future chief engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad, interrogated Davis and offered him freedom if Davis would divulge the name of the person who had supplied him with confidential reports from the Union camp in Pulaski. Davis refused, and Dodge ordered a quick military trial, which sentenced Davis to death. He was executed in Pulaski on November 27, 1863.

Davis and his reported statement (reminiscent of Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale), "If I had a thousand lives to live, I would have them all rather than betray a friend" quickly became legendary. In 1909, the State of Tennessee dedicated a monument to the "boy hero of the Confederacy" on the state capitol grounds. In the 1920s, local residents acquired his family home and 168 acres of the farm as a memorial. In addition to the main house, the historic farm offers the opportunity to view Davis's gravesite and several outbuilding, including slave quarters, a kitchen, and a smokehouse. A museum interprets Davis's live and the war in Rutherford County.

"The coming ages will place his character forward as a typical Confederate soldier an as an American." — Bromfield L. Ridley, 1906

"When I was about 13 or 14, my father's family arranged for me to go to the Nashville Military Academy, where I became acquainted with Sam Davis. He was of the most honest, steadfast, and bravest boys I've ever known." — Joseph A. Rucker, Jan 1, 1868

Sam and John Davis — Courtesy Sam Davis Memorial Association
1909 state capitol unveiling — Courtesy Sam Davis Memorial Association
Gen. Braxton Bragg Courtesy Library of Congress
Gen. Grenville M. Dodge Courtesy Library of Congress
HM NumberHM1B45
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 10:40pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 544974 N 3982457
Decimal Degrees35.98551667, -86.50108333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 59.131', W 86° 30.065'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 59' 7.86" N, 86° 30' 3.90" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)615, 931
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1420 Sam Davis Rd, Smyrna TN 37167, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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