David O. Dodd memorial.
David O. Dodd memorial.

Boy Martyr of the Confederacy Hanged Here

Field review by the editors.

Little Rock, Arkansas

David O. Dodd was hanged as a Confederate spy on the lawn of his former school on January 8, 1864. The Arkansas River had frozen solid, but a crowd of 6,000 nevertheless came to see the hanging, if later reports are to be believed.

Dodd rode to his death in an open wagon, seated on his coffin. He supplied his own blindfold. The hanging was by all accounts a horrific, botched job; the 17-year-old slowly strangled to death rather than being instantly killed. Dodd's gruesome end, witnessed by all those spectators, probably led to him being labeled "Boy Martyr of the Confederacy" on his tombstone. However, the monument at the hanging site (which was erected later) labels him "Boy Hero of the Confederacy," leading to no end of confusion since neighboring Tennessee has its own "Boy Hero of the Confederacy."

Tennessee's Boy Hero was hanged first, so Arkansas should have been content to have a Boy Martyr.

Boy Martyr of the Confederacy Hanged Here

Address:
503 E. 9th St., Little Rock, AR
Directions:
On the grounds of the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. On the west side of McMath Ave., just a little south of its intersection with E. 10th St. You'll see the squat obelisk (and its accompanying modern interpretive sign) on the lawn about 50 feet in front of the Museum building, roughly parallel with its right (east) edge.
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