October 6, 1842 - November 27, 1863
Sam Davis (1842-1863), the boy hero of the Confederacy, was born in Rutherford County
Tennessee. He served in various combat roles in the Confederate Army in 1861 through 1863. As a Confederate courier, he was captured on November 20, 1863, and upon conviction of espionage was executed by the Union Army after captivity of only seven days.
He was educated at the Western Military Institute and recruited by the Confederate Scout forces early in the Civil War. He signed up as a private in the First Tennessee Volunteer Infantry in 1861 and his Regiment marched off to war, first at Cheat Mountain, next in the Shenandoah Valley, at Shiloh and then at Perryville.
Wounded slightly at Shiloh, Sam Davis suffered a more severe wound at Perryville; after recovering from his wounds he took on very active service as a courier for Coleman's Scouts.
Sam Davis was captured behind enemy lines while acting as a courier. He refused to reveal the other members of his unit, or their sources of intelligence, and was tried and hanged as a spy. His steadfast loyalty to his comrades, and his manly bearing during the trial and execution, earned him the respect of friends and enemies alike, and he became a martyr for the Confederate cause. A monument to his memory stands on the grounds of the Tennessee Capitol in Nashville. In 1977, Sam Davis became the first to be posthumously awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.