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

Address:
505 Deaderick St., Nashville, TN
Directions:
Tennessee State Museum. Downtown. I-40 exits 209A or B. Follow Broadway toward downtown. Turn left onto 5th Ave. Drive three blocks. The museum will be on the left between Union and Deaderick Sts, in the lower level of the James K. Polk Cultural Center.
Hours:
Tu-Sa 10-5, Su 1-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
615-741-2692
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Jam with Chet AtkinsJam with Chet Atkins, Nashville, TN - < 1 mi.
Award-Winning Art Deco BathroomAward-Winning Art Deco Bathroom, Nashville, TN - < 1 mi.
Statue of Sam Davis, Boy Hero of the ConfederacyStatue of Sam Davis, Boy Hero of the Confederacy, Nashville, TN - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Bloodstained Floors of Widow of the South, Franklin, TN - 19 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Tennessee

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Tennessee.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create and Save Your Own Crazy Road Trip! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Tennessee Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

The Strange Grave of John Milburn Davis, Hiawatha, Kansas (Apr 19-25, 2021)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special rates for hotels.

Book Now