Ephraim Dodd marker.

Ephraim Dodd, Rebel Martyr

Field review by the editors.

Knoxville, Tennessee

The official Confederate tombstone of Ephraim Shelby Dodd stands in the front entrance flower bed of Bleak House, a plantation home on the outskirts of Knoxville. Dodd was captured by Union troops in Knoxville on New Year's Day, 1864, and quickly sentenced to hang. The Yankees said he was a Confederate spy; Southerners said he was just a scout who kept an innocent diary and wore some Union blue clothes to keep warm.

Dodd's last words on the gallows, engraved as his epitaph, were, "I die innocent of the charge against me." The rope broke on the first attempt and Dodd fell to the ground, but he was not spared; Union soldiers simply dragged him back up and hanged him again. Some versions of the story claim that Todd's legs were broken in the fall, and that the Yankees used two nooses the second time. The Rebels had previously hanged several Union supporters and left their bodies dangling in Knoxville, which usually goes unmentioned in most Southern tellings of Dodd's martyrdom.

Ephraim Dodd marker.

Despite appearances, Dodd is not buried under his tombstone, which probably didn't arrive until after 1959, when Bleak House was purchased by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. No one knows for sure where his body ended up, but it may rest in the local potter's field.

Ephraim Dodd, Rebel Martyr

Address:
3148 Kingston Pike SW, Knoxville, TN
Directions:
In the flower bed of Bleak House, next to its front door. 1-40 East. Exit 383 (Papermill Drive). The exit will curve right, continue straight off of the exit through the red light at Papermill onto Northshore Drive. Turn left onto Kingston Pike. Travel about 2.5 miles. After going through the Cherokee Boulevard traffic light and passing the caution light, the Bleak House is located on the right side of the road just past Calvary Baptist Church.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Bleak House: Confederate ShrineBleak House: Confederate Shrine, Knoxville, TN - < 1 mi.
Centaur of TennesseeCentaur of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN - 1 mi.
"Shake, Buddy!" Civil War Monument, Knoxville, TN - 2 mi.
In the region:
Listen to your Mother: a Mom-ument, Knoxville, TN - 2 mi.

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July 19, 2019

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