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Only known photo of Sam Davis.

Sam Davis Shoe of Doom

Field review by the editors.

Nashville, Tennessee

In the Civil War gallery of the Tennessee State Museum are two of the most significant possessions of Sam Davis, "The Boy Hero of the Confederacy": his overcoat and his shoe of doom. Davis was hanged by Yankees for being a Confederate spy, even though he insisted that he wasn't a spy because he was wearing a Confederate uniform. His defense was at best a technicality, and it was undermined because Davis was also wearing a Union overcoat (His defenders said that his mom tried to dye the blue coat Confederate grey, but the color didn't hold). An even more damaging piece of evidence against Davis was his shoe, which his captors cut open to reveal top secret military information stolen from the desk of a Union general. Davis was promised his life and freedom if he revealed the source of his shoe booty, but he refused. "I would rather die a thousand deaths than betray a friend or be false to a duty." So the Yankees hanged him, setting in motion his Boy Hero martyrdom, and virtually guaranteeing that his second-hand coat and gutted shoe would some day end up on display in a Southern museum.

Shoe of Doom.

Sam Davis Shoe of Doom

Tennessee State Museum

1000 Rosa Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN
Tennessee State Museum. North edge of downtown. On the east side of US-41 ALT/Rosa Parks Blvd, just south of its intersection with Jefferson St.
Tu-Sa 10-5, Su 1-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Save to My Sights

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