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Footsteps of History

The American Civil War

" If I had a thousand lives to live, I would give them all, rather than betray a friend"

~Sam Davis,
November 1863

Sam Davis, the Boy Hero of the Civil War

Sam was born on 6 October 1842 in Rutherford County, Tennessee and grew up here in a well-off family. His parents were Charles Lewis and Jane Simmons Davis. When the Civil War began in 1861, he has just begun school at the Western Military Academy in Nashville. He quickly joined the army and became part of Company I of the First Tennessee Infantry Regiment.

After being captured by Union forces and found to be carrying damaging Union documents, the young man was given the chance to name his source. The Union officers knew someone had to be supplying these documents. Sam refused to name anyone and was court marshalled and sentenced to hang. He was given one last chance to be set free just by naming his informant, but he again refused while standing on the gallows. It was at this time that he uttered the famous quote above. He was then hung. He was buried in Smyrna where he grew up.

There is a memorial in Pulaski as well as a museum. There is also a museum at his home in Smyrna. Many areas in Pulaski bear his name in remembrance of his great sacrifice.

Sam Davis Museum
134 Sam Davis Ave.
Pulaski, TN 38478
Phone: 931-363-3789

The spot on which the museum stands is the same one where Sam Davis was executed on 27 November 1863.
The museum contains Civil War memorabilia as well as leg irons worn by Davis.

More information on Sam Davis may be found at the Giles County Chamber of Commerce website

Sam Davis Home website
1399 Sam Davis Road
Smyrna, TN 37167 
Phone:  615-459-2341 

website on Sam Davis with more historical information


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This page was created 16 July 2004 & was updated on 29 June 2012 at 9:18 pm

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