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Captain Samuel Boyer Davis

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Captain Samuel Boyer Davis

Birth
Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware, USA
Death
24 Sep 1914 (aged 70)
District of Columbia, USA
Burial
Alexandria, Alexandria City, Virginia, USA
Plot
Section: P Lot: 37 Site: 2
Memorial ID
27362428 View Source

Confederate staff officer, wounded in "Pickett's Charge" - Prisoner of War- Spy - Served with General Isaac Trimble and General Braxton Bragg. Pardoned by Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.

Captain Davis and his siblings were orphaned at a young age although they had a fair amount of support from the extended family.

Note: Captain Samuel Boyer Davis of Delaware, was a younger first cousin of Colonel Samuel Boyer Davis of Louisiana and Texas and Captain Florian Davis of Louisiana. He also is the nephew of Confederate Colonel Stephen Wilson Presstman of New Castle County, Delaware and grandson of Colonel Samuel Boyer Davis of Delaware.

Alexandria Gazette 25 Sept. 1914 obituary
Captain Samuel Boyer Davis former well known resident of Alexandria, died in Washington yesterday at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Clara F. Marbury. The deceased was 70 years old. The funeral will take place from Christ Church tomorrow at noon. Captain Davis was a native of Wilmington, Del. At the outbreak of the civil war he vest his lot with the Southern Confederacy and had many thrilling experiences- He was a lieutenant under Captain Wirz, who had charge of Andersonville prison and who was arraigned at the close of hostilities for alleged cruel treatment to federal prisoners. Davis was extolled by union soldiers for his sympathy and aid during the time they were held in Andersonville, and doubtless his acts of kindness to such aided considerably in saving his life when he had been sentenced to be hanged on the charge of being a spy caught within the federal lines. While the war was in progress it was necessary to send some reliable representative of the Southern Confederacy to Canada to consult with commissioners of the Confederacy. An officer was selected for the dangerous and important task, but he regarded it as a desperate undertaking and so expressed himself in the presence of Lieutenant Davis. The latter offered to take his place and was accepted. Lieutenant Davis proceeded to Canada, had an interview with the commissioners and started upon his return to the south passing through the northern section of New York state he was recognized by former federal soldiers as the young lieutenant of Andersonville and was arrested. Compromising papers were found sewed into the lining of his clothes. He was tried by a court martial and ordered to be hanged. The day was set for his execution, and from the window of his cell he could see the construction of the scaffold. Upon the day of the band played the "Dead March" and the soldiers at the prison were brought out presumably to witness the hanging. The terrible ordeal through which Lieutenant Davis was passing was brought to a sudden close by an order to stop the proceedings. Later the lieutenant learned that President Lincoln had stayed execution of the sentence and that he was to continue in prison until the close of the war. The authorities in charge of the prison had received Lincoln's order several days before, but they seemed bent upon causing Lieutenant Davis as much suffering as possible. At the close of the war he married Miss Mason, daughter of Murray of Virginia, who survives him as do also four children Mrs. Marbury, Mrs. Dunn, and Messrs. Murray and Bert Davis. Lieutenant Davis took up steam boating as a profession and rose from one position to another until he became captain. During the early seventies he was in charge of the steamer Georgeanna, which plied between Alexandria and Baltimore, and later was captain of the George Leary, the Excelsior and Washington of the Norfolk line. He entered the government and took charge of the transport Kearney During the past few years he was captain of the government steamer General Robert Swartwout which ran between Washington and Fort Washington. During Cleveland's second administration and while Hon. C. C. Carlin was postmaster of this city. Captain Davis filled the position of assistant postmaster. The deceased was an honorary member of R. E. Lee Camp of Veterans of this city. He was esteemed by all who knew him. ana his many friends in Alexandria and elsewhere will regret to learn of his death. The deceased was a nephew of General Trimble, of Baltimore, where he had many friends and acquaintances.

Wilmington (Del.) Morning News 13 Mar. 1950
A Delaware Confederate officer who served as second in command at the Southern prisoner of war camp at Andersonville later became a prisoner himself at Fort Delaware, according to recent research of the Fort Delaware Society. The story of this officer, Capt. Samuel Boyer Davis of New Castle, was discovered by Miss Gertrude Brinckle, curator of the Delaware Historical Society museum in Old Town Hall, and called to the attention of members of the Fort Delaware group. It is contained in a rare pamphlet entitled "Escape from Prison by a Confederate Officer and What He Saw at Andersonville." The escape referred to in the title occurred after Captain Davis, who was the grandson of Samuel Boyer Davis, the defender of Lewes in the War of 1812, had been wounded and captured at Gettysburg, while serving on the staff of Maj. Gen. Isaac Trimble. Davis was taken to the military hospital at Chester and after recovering was aided in his escape by a friendly sentinel there. Captain Davis gives a highly interesting account of his flight from Chester to Dover with another Confederate officer, Captain Slay of Mississippi. From Dover they went to Easton, Md., and along the underground railway route through to Richmond. It was after his return "to duty there that he was assigned" to Andersonville where he spent more than a year. His account of his stay there shows that the Northern stories of conditions in that prison were greatly exaggerated. Finally he was sent on a secret mission to Canada and while in Ohio on his return trip was recognized by some recently exchanged prisoners from Andersonville. He was court marshaled as a spy and sentenced to hang. But Delawareans such as U. S. Senator Willard Saulsbury and George Read Riddle rushed to his aid and convinced President Lincoln that his sentence should be com muted to life imprisonment. Notice of the commutation arrived as the band was sounding the Dead March preparatory to escorting Davis to his place of execution. The Confederate officer was as signed to Fort Delaware to serve his sentence and was housed in one of the casemates inside the walls of the fort. Within a week after his arrival he had worked out a plan of escape but the news got to the fort's adjutant, Capt. G. W. Ahl, who ordered him placed in irons. Davis appealed to Brig.-Gen. A. A. Schoepf, commandant, and when Schoepf approved Ahl's actions, the Confederate angrily told the general that he had been in charge of more prisoners than Schoepf had ever seen or ever would see and that he had never once ordered one placed in irons. Schoepf is reported to have also lost his temper and to have allowed several of the guards to strike Davis until he ceased his tirade. However, the general apparently was worried over his prisoner, and eventually had him transferred to an Albany, N. Y. penitentiary where he was held until his release in December, 1865, long after most prisoners of war, even those sentenced by court martial, had been freed.

Wilmington (Del.) Morning News 13 Aug. 1960
W. EMERSON WILSON Delaware in Civil War Times In Defense of Lieutenant Davis In MacKinlay Kantor's novel "Andersonville" the second in command at that southern prison, a Lieutenant Davis, is a thoroughly despicable charter. Kantor uses such adjectives as "fat, coarse, flabby, lustful, brutal, lazy" to describe him and writes "his small pale eyes protruded abnormally, his mouth was loose" and "he insisted that he had a bad heart ... he hated and feared trouble of any kind." Never in the history of literature has an historical personage been so miserably misrepresented. For the Lieutenant Davis he "describes" was Samuel Boyer Davis of New Castle County), the son of Alonso B. Davis and the grandson of Col. Samuel Boyer Davis, the defender of Lewes during the War of 1812. He was never fat, never coarse, his heart was of the best and history shows he never feared trouble. He was actually a handsome young man. Let's study his record: Davis joined the Confederate Army early in the war and had a good combat record. Wounded in the lung at Gettysburg he was captured and taken to the hospital in, Chester, Pa. He and a Captain Slay bribed a guard at the hospital when they had nearly recovered and escaped. They walked south during the night and arrived in Wilmington just after dawn. They went to the U. S. Hotel which they entered jauntily, for they had obtained civilian clothes from the guard they had bribed, and ordered breakfast. Their jauntiness disappeared, however,' when several Union officers took the table next to them and started talking about the wide search being made for two rebels who had escaped from Chester. Davis took Slay to New Castle where they visited relatives of the former and that evening they took the train for Dover. There they followed the underground railroad for escaped prisoners and eventually arived in Richmond. Confederate surgeons ruled that Davis' lung injury should keep him out of combat service but that he was able to do, other duty. He was assigned to Brig. Gen. John W. Winder in charge of prisons who sent him to Macon, Ga. He commanded the prison camp there and won the good feeling of the prisoners. But he was relieved from duty for allowing two prisoners to visit a friend in a Macon hospital without sending a guard with them. Later he was ordered to report to Andersonville as second in command to Capt. Henry Wirz. During the month of August Captain Wirz' old war wound caused him to spend that month in a Mobile, Ala., hospital. It is ironic that after the war Captain Wirz was hanged for allegedly having killed a number of Union prisoners during that month when he was not even at the prison. Davis who pleaded to testify in his defense was not allowed to do so. Early in December Davis was ordered to Richmond and on Dec. 26 he met an old friend, Harry Brogden of Maryland, in the bar of the Exchange Hotel. Brogden had been ordered to carry messages to the Confederate agents in Canada and didn't want to go, so Davis asked to go in his place on this dangerous mission. On his way back South with messages from Canada he was captured at Newark, Ohio, tried as a spy and sentenced to be hanged. When news of his plight reached Delaware, Senator George Read Riddle went to Abraham Lincoln and pleaded for Davis' life. Lincoln commuted his death sentence to a life term. Davis was sent to Fort Delaware to serve his sentence and placed in a casemate there. He immediately started plans for an escape but was caught just as he was placing his plans in effect. He was taken -before General Albin F. Schoepf, the commanding officer, who ordered him placed in irons. "I have handled many prisoners," Davis told Schoepf, "and I have had charge of prisons where more men were held than you have ever seen but I never ironed a man." For his impudence General Schoepf ordered him beaten by an orderly while he and his adjutant, Capt. . George Ahl, looked on. Then Davis was placed in irons and taken to the Albany penitentiary which was supposed to be escape proof. Davis was there when the war ended and when Captain Wirz was placed on trial. His pleas to appear as a witness in Wirz' behalf were rejected for Wirz was tried before a military commission and condemned to death. Wirz probably would never have been executed if he had been a native American but he was a Swiss just as Schoepf was a Hungarian. A number of prisoners from Andersonville and those he had befriended at Macon spoke up in Davis' behalf and he was finally released from Albany by President Andrew Johnson. He never returned to Delaware but settled instead in Norfolk where he became a prosperous business man. Now I ask you, could a man with a record like that have been the wretch that Kantor described? If Kantor wanted to invent such an unlikely person that was all right but to paint such a black picture of a person who actually existed and to give his actual name seems indefensible.

"Delaware's Samuel Boyer Davis: A Near Death Experience by Thomas J. Ryan (2013)
In this modern age, spies caught in the act in the United States generally are sentenced to long prison terms. During the Civil War years, however, spies, real or suspected, almost always ended up at the end of rope.Two of the most celebrated espionage cases in the mid-nineteenth century conflict were that of Timothy Webster and Sam Davis. Webster was a secret agent in Richmond who was exposed while in the employ of the Northern spymaster Allen Pinkerton. Corey Recko describes his life as a spy and death on the gallows in "A Spy for the Union." Davis was a member of the 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment who volunteered for a newly-formed company of scouts and agents in the service of Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg. Federal forces captured him couriering documents that described Union battle plans. When Davis refused to divulge the name of his contact, he received a sentence of death by hanging carried out on November 27, 1863.
In one of the strange coincidences during the Civil War, another soldier named Sam Davis served as a spy for the Confederacy and received the death sentence. Lt. Samuel Boyer Davis was a Delawarean from New Castle County. At Gettysburg, while serving as member of Maj. Gen. Isaac Trimble's staff, Davis was wounded and captured, but managed to escape from a hospital where he was recovering in Chester, PA. After working his way back into the South, Davis received an assignment at infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia. While on a visit to Richmond in 1864, Davis met Sgt. Harry Hall Brogden, a member of the clandestine Confederate Signal Corps. Brogden was a "secret line" facilitator who covertly shuttled agents, contraband, newspapers, and mail between North and South across the Potomac River. He was on assignment to carry important documents through the North into Canada where the Rebels had established a base to conduct special operations into the U.S. Wanting a break from his assignment at Andersonville, Davis volunteered to take Brogden's place on this hazardous journey northward. In "Spies of the Confederacy," John Bakeless relates that Davis crossed the Potomac from Virginia along the secret line route to Pope's Creek, MD then continued on to Washington, DC.
Along the way he learned the unsettling news that authorities were on the lookout for an agent carrying secret documents. Nonetheless, Davis' travels took him to Ohio and then Detroit, MI before safely crossing the river into Windsor, Ontario. Having completed his mission, Samuel Davis agreed to return to Richmond with messages for officials in Richmond. Some he memorized, but others were written on the white silk lining of his coat sleeves.One consideration that Davis did not take into account during his trip back into the U.S. was his former service at Andersonville. Ironically, while he was traveling by train through Ohio, Union soldiers who had spent time at Andersonville recognized Davis and confronted him. He at first denied his identity, but finally admitted who he was. Arrested by a poorly-trained provost marshal in Newark, OH, Davis had ample opportunity to dispose of the documents he was carrying as well as the silk lining inscribed with telltale messages. Nonetheless, he faced a court martial in Cincinnati as an enemy officer in disguise, and received the death sentence. Scheduled for execution on February 17, 1865 at the prison on Johnson's Island in Lake Erie near Sandusky, OH, Davis learned unofficially that he would receive a reprieve. President Abraham Lincoln himself had sent a telegram meant to save the condemned man's life, but his ambiguous wording was misinterpreted to mean the sentence was to be carried out.
Davis watched from his cell as gallows were under construction. The morning he was to climb those steps, crowds gathered to witness the execution. He watched the rope being tested, and a band practiced the Dead March. At the last minute, however, the prison commander arrived to inform Davis, "I have a commutation for you." The courageous young man who had been reconciled to his fate simply replied, "I am glad to hear it, sir."
Samuel Boyer Davis would spend time in prison at Fort Delaware and Fort Warren in Boston. He regained his freedom upon release in December 1865 after the Civil War had ended. Twenty years later, Davis paid a visit to Maj. Lewis E. Bond in Cincinnati, the man who served as judge advocate at his court martial. The two former adversaries had a friendly chat, and Bond curiously asked Davis about his mission that had led to his arrest and incarceration. However, Davis reportedly remained true to his secret service oath and maintained his silence.For his service to the South, Davis' name is inscribed on the Confederate monument in Georgetown." (Delaware)

Publications

1 "Escape of a Confederate officer from prison : what he saw at Andersonville ; how he was sentenced to death and saved by the interposition of President Abraham Lincoln"
Author: Captain Samuel Boyer Davis
Original publication date 1892
Published by Hansebooks 2017

2 "The capture and trial of a Confederate spy sent to Ohio by Jefferson Davis" A paper read before the Ohio Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, February 2, 1887, by Companion Lewis H. Bond . Published in Cincinnati, H.C. Sherick & Co., 1887. (According to this publication, Davis was a relative of Confederate President Jefferson Davis)

3 "Spies of the Confederacy"
Author John Bakeless. Published by the Lippincott Co., 1970, Philadelphia, Penna.

United States National Park Service records,
Staff Officers, Non-Regimental Enlisted Men,
CSA;
First Lieutenant/Aide-de-Camp,
Captain/Assistant Adjutant General
(Trimbles Kempers), Herberts Staff
M818 ROLL 7

Confederate staff officer, wounded in "Pickett's Charge" - Prisoner of War- Spy - Served with General Isaac Trimble and General Braxton Bragg. Pardoned by Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.

Captain Davis and his siblings were orphaned at a young age although they had a fair amount of support from the extended family.

Note: Captain Samuel Boyer Davis of Delaware, was a younger first cousin of Colonel Samuel Boyer Davis of Louisiana and Texas and Captain Florian Davis of Louisiana. He also is the nephew of Confederate Colonel Stephen Wilson Presstman of New Castle County, Delaware and grandson of Colonel Samuel Boyer Davis of Delaware.

Alexandria Gazette 25 Sept. 1914 obituary
Captain Samuel Boyer Davis former well known resident of Alexandria, died in Washington yesterday at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Clara F. Marbury. The deceased was 70 years old. The funeral will take place from Christ Church tomorrow at noon. Captain Davis was a native of Wilmington, Del. At the outbreak of the civil war he vest his lot with the Southern Confederacy and had many thrilling experiences- He was a lieutenant under Captain Wirz, who had charge of Andersonville prison and who was arraigned at the close of hostilities for alleged cruel treatment to federal prisoners. Davis was extolled by union soldiers for his sympathy and aid during the time they were held in Andersonville, and doubtless his acts of kindness to such aided considerably in saving his life when he had been sentenced to be hanged on the charge of being a spy caught within the federal lines. While the war was in progress it was necessary to send some reliable representative of the Southern Confederacy to Canada to consult with commissioners of the Confederacy. An officer was selected for the dangerous and important task, but he regarded it as a desperate undertaking and so expressed himself in the presence of Lieutenant Davis. The latter offered to take his place and was accepted. Lieutenant Davis proceeded to Canada, had an interview with the commissioners and started upon his return to the south passing through the northern section of New York state he was recognized by former federal soldiers as the young lieutenant of Andersonville and was arrested. Compromising papers were found sewed into the lining of his clothes. He was tried by a court martial and ordered to be hanged. The day was set for his execution, and from the window of his cell he could see the construction of the scaffold. Upon the day of the band played the "Dead March" and the soldiers at the prison were brought out presumably to witness the hanging. The terrible ordeal through which Lieutenant Davis was passing was brought to a sudden close by an order to stop the proceedings. Later the lieutenant learned that President Lincoln had stayed execution of the sentence and that he was to continue in prison until the close of the war. The authorities in charge of the prison had received Lincoln's order several days before, but they seemed bent upon causing Lieutenant Davis as much suffering as possible. At the close of the war he married Miss Mason, daughter of Murray of Virginia, who survives him as do also four children Mrs. Marbury, Mrs. Dunn, and Messrs. Murray and Bert Davis. Lieutenant Davis took up steam boating as a profession and rose from one position to another until he became captain. During the early seventies he was in charge of the steamer Georgeanna, which plied between Alexandria and Baltimore, and later was captain of the George Leary, the Excelsior and Washington of the Norfolk line. He entered the government and took charge of the transport Kearney During the past few years he was captain of the government steamer General Robert Swartwout which ran between Washington and Fort Washington. During Cleveland's second administration and while Hon. C. C. Carlin was postmaster of this city. Captain Davis filled the position of assistant postmaster. The deceased was an honorary member of R. E. Lee Camp of Veterans of this city. He was esteemed by all who knew him. ana his many friends in Alexandria and elsewhere will regret to learn of his death. The deceased was a nephew of General Trimble, of Baltimore, where he had many friends and acquaintances.

Wilmington (Del.) Morning News 13 Mar. 1950
A Delaware Confederate officer who served as second in command at the Southern prisoner of war camp at Andersonville later became a prisoner himself at Fort Delaware, according to recent research of the Fort Delaware Society. The story of this officer, Capt. Samuel Boyer Davis of New Castle, was discovered by Miss Gertrude Brinckle, curator of the Delaware Historical Society museum in Old Town Hall, and called to the attention of members of the Fort Delaware group. It is contained in a rare pamphlet entitled "Escape from Prison by a Confederate Officer and What He Saw at Andersonville." The escape referred to in the title occurred after Captain Davis, who was the grandson of Samuel Boyer Davis, the defender of Lewes in the War of 1812, had been wounded and captured at Gettysburg, while serving on the staff of Maj. Gen. Isaac Trimble. Davis was taken to the military hospital at Chester and after recovering was aided in his escape by a friendly sentinel there. Captain Davis gives a highly interesting account of his flight from Chester to Dover with another Confederate officer, Captain Slay of Mississippi. From Dover they went to Easton, Md., and along the underground railway route through to Richmond. It was after his return "to duty there that he was assigned" to Andersonville where he spent more than a year. His account of his stay there shows that the Northern stories of conditions in that prison were greatly exaggerated. Finally he was sent on a secret mission to Canada and while in Ohio on his return trip was recognized by some recently exchanged prisoners from Andersonville. He was court marshaled as a spy and sentenced to hang. But Delawareans such as U. S. Senator Willard Saulsbury and George Read Riddle rushed to his aid and convinced President Lincoln that his sentence should be com muted to life imprisonment. Notice of the commutation arrived as the band was sounding the Dead March preparatory to escorting Davis to his place of execution. The Confederate officer was as signed to Fort Delaware to serve his sentence and was housed in one of the casemates inside the walls of the fort. Within a week after his arrival he had worked out a plan of escape but the news got to the fort's adjutant, Capt. G. W. Ahl, who ordered him placed in irons. Davis appealed to Brig.-Gen. A. A. Schoepf, commandant, and when Schoepf approved Ahl's actions, the Confederate angrily told the general that he had been in charge of more prisoners than Schoepf had ever seen or ever would see and that he had never once ordered one placed in irons. Schoepf is reported to have also lost his temper and to have allowed several of the guards to strike Davis until he ceased his tirade. However, the general apparently was worried over his prisoner, and eventually had him transferred to an Albany, N. Y. penitentiary where he was held until his release in December, 1865, long after most prisoners of war, even those sentenced by court martial, had been freed.

Wilmington (Del.) Morning News 13 Aug. 1960
W. EMERSON WILSON Delaware in Civil War Times In Defense of Lieutenant Davis In MacKinlay Kantor's novel "Andersonville" the second in command at that southern prison, a Lieutenant Davis, is a thoroughly despicable charter. Kantor uses such adjectives as "fat, coarse, flabby, lustful, brutal, lazy" to describe him and writes "his small pale eyes protruded abnormally, his mouth was loose" and "he insisted that he had a bad heart ... he hated and feared trouble of any kind." Never in the history of literature has an historical personage been so miserably misrepresented. For the Lieutenant Davis he "describes" was Samuel Boyer Davis of New Castle County), the son of Alonso B. Davis and the grandson of Col. Samuel Boyer Davis, the defender of Lewes during the War of 1812. He was never fat, never coarse, his heart was of the best and history shows he never feared trouble. He was actually a handsome young man. Let's study his record: Davis joined the Confederate Army early in the war and had a good combat record. Wounded in the lung at Gettysburg he was captured and taken to the hospital in, Chester, Pa. He and a Captain Slay bribed a guard at the hospital when they had nearly recovered and escaped. They walked south during the night and arrived in Wilmington just after dawn. They went to the U. S. Hotel which they entered jauntily, for they had obtained civilian clothes from the guard they had bribed, and ordered breakfast. Their jauntiness disappeared, however,' when several Union officers took the table next to them and started talking about the wide search being made for two rebels who had escaped from Chester. Davis took Slay to New Castle where they visited relatives of the former and that evening they took the train for Dover. There they followed the underground railroad for escaped prisoners and eventually arived in Richmond. Confederate surgeons ruled that Davis' lung injury should keep him out of combat service but that he was able to do, other duty. He was assigned to Brig. Gen. John W. Winder in charge of prisons who sent him to Macon, Ga. He commanded the prison camp there and won the good feeling of the prisoners. But he was relieved from duty for allowing two prisoners to visit a friend in a Macon hospital without sending a guard with them. Later he was ordered to report to Andersonville as second in command to Capt. Henry Wirz. During the month of August Captain Wirz' old war wound caused him to spend that month in a Mobile, Ala., hospital. It is ironic that after the war Captain Wirz was hanged for allegedly having killed a number of Union prisoners during that month when he was not even at the prison. Davis who pleaded to testify in his defense was not allowed to do so. Early in December Davis was ordered to Richmond and on Dec. 26 he met an old friend, Harry Brogden of Maryland, in the bar of the Exchange Hotel. Brogden had been ordered to carry messages to the Confederate agents in Canada and didn't want to go, so Davis asked to go in his place on this dangerous mission. On his way back South with messages from Canada he was captured at Newark, Ohio, tried as a spy and sentenced to be hanged. When news of his plight reached Delaware, Senator George Read Riddle went to Abraham Lincoln and pleaded for Davis' life. Lincoln commuted his death sentence to a life term. Davis was sent to Fort Delaware to serve his sentence and placed in a casemate there. He immediately started plans for an escape but was caught just as he was placing his plans in effect. He was taken -before General Albin F. Schoepf, the commanding officer, who ordered him placed in irons. "I have handled many prisoners," Davis told Schoepf, "and I have had charge of prisons where more men were held than you have ever seen but I never ironed a man." For his impudence General Schoepf ordered him beaten by an orderly while he and his adjutant, Capt. . George Ahl, looked on. Then Davis was placed in irons and taken to the Albany penitentiary which was supposed to be escape proof. Davis was there when the war ended and when Captain Wirz was placed on trial. His pleas to appear as a witness in Wirz' behalf were rejected for Wirz was tried before a military commission and condemned to death. Wirz probably would never have been executed if he had been a native American but he was a Swiss just as Schoepf was a Hungarian. A number of prisoners from Andersonville and those he had befriended at Macon spoke up in Davis' behalf and he was finally released from Albany by President Andrew Johnson. He never returned to Delaware but settled instead in Norfolk where he became a prosperous business man. Now I ask you, could a man with a record like that have been the wretch that Kantor described? If Kantor wanted to invent such an unlikely person that was all right but to paint such a black picture of a person who actually existed and to give his actual name seems indefensible.

"Delaware's Samuel Boyer Davis: A Near Death Experience by Thomas J. Ryan (2013)
In this modern age, spies caught in the act in the United States generally are sentenced to long prison terms. During the Civil War years, however, spies, real or suspected, almost always ended up at the end of rope.Two of the most celebrated espionage cases in the mid-nineteenth century conflict were that of Timothy Webster and Sam Davis. Webster was a secret agent in Richmond who was exposed while in the employ of the Northern spymaster Allen Pinkerton. Corey Recko describes his life as a spy and death on the gallows in "A Spy for the Union." Davis was a member of the 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment who volunteered for a newly-formed company of scouts and agents in the service of Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg. Federal forces captured him couriering documents that described Union battle plans. When Davis refused to divulge the name of his contact, he received a sentence of death by hanging carried out on November 27, 1863.
In one of the strange coincidences during the Civil War, another soldier named Sam Davis served as a spy for the Confederacy and received the death sentence. Lt. Samuel Boyer Davis was a Delawarean from New Castle County. At Gettysburg, while serving as member of Maj. Gen. Isaac Trimble's staff, Davis was wounded and captured, but managed to escape from a hospital where he was recovering in Chester, PA. After working his way back into the South, Davis received an assignment at infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia. While on a visit to Richmond in 1864, Davis met Sgt. Harry Hall Brogden, a member of the clandestine Confederate Signal Corps. Brogden was a "secret line" facilitator who covertly shuttled agents, contraband, newspapers, and mail between North and South across the Potomac River. He was on assignment to carry important documents through the North into Canada where the Rebels had established a base to conduct special operations into the U.S. Wanting a break from his assignment at Andersonville, Davis volunteered to take Brogden's place on this hazardous journey northward. In "Spies of the Confederacy," John Bakeless relates that Davis crossed the Potomac from Virginia along the secret line route to Pope's Creek, MD then continued on to Washington, DC.
Along the way he learned the unsettling news that authorities were on the lookout for an agent carrying secret documents. Nonetheless, Davis' travels took him to Ohio and then Detroit, MI before safely crossing the river into Windsor, Ontario. Having completed his mission, Samuel Davis agreed to return to Richmond with messages for officials in Richmond. Some he memorized, but others were written on the white silk lining of his coat sleeves.One consideration that Davis did not take into account during his trip back into the U.S. was his former service at Andersonville. Ironically, while he was traveling by train through Ohio, Union soldiers who had spent time at Andersonville recognized Davis and confronted him. He at first denied his identity, but finally admitted who he was. Arrested by a poorly-trained provost marshal in Newark, OH, Davis had ample opportunity to dispose of the documents he was carrying as well as the silk lining inscribed with telltale messages. Nonetheless, he faced a court martial in Cincinnati as an enemy officer in disguise, and received the death sentence. Scheduled for execution on February 17, 1865 at the prison on Johnson's Island in Lake Erie near Sandusky, OH, Davis learned unofficially that he would receive a reprieve. President Abraham Lincoln himself had sent a telegram meant to save the condemned man's life, but his ambiguous wording was misinterpreted to mean the sentence was to be carried out.
Davis watched from his cell as gallows were under construction. The morning he was to climb those steps, crowds gathered to witness the execution. He watched the rope being tested, and a band practiced the Dead March. At the last minute, however, the prison commander arrived to inform Davis, "I have a commutation for you." The courageous young man who had been reconciled to his fate simply replied, "I am glad to hear it, sir."
Samuel Boyer Davis would spend time in prison at Fort Delaware and Fort Warren in Boston. He regained his freedom upon release in December 1865 after the Civil War had ended. Twenty years later, Davis paid a visit to Maj. Lewis E. Bond in Cincinnati, the man who served as judge advocate at his court martial. The two former adversaries had a friendly chat, and Bond curiously asked Davis about his mission that had led to his arrest and incarceration. However, Davis reportedly remained true to his secret service oath and maintained his silence.For his service to the South, Davis' name is inscribed on the Confederate monument in Georgetown." (Delaware)

Publications

1 "Escape of a Confederate officer from prison : what he saw at Andersonville ; how he was sentenced to death and saved by the interposition of President Abraham Lincoln"
Author: Captain Samuel Boyer Davis
Original publication date 1892
Published by Hansebooks 2017

2 "The capture and trial of a Confederate spy sent to Ohio by Jefferson Davis" A paper read before the Ohio Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, February 2, 1887, by Companion Lewis H. Bond . Published in Cincinnati, H.C. Sherick & Co., 1887. (According to this publication, Davis was a relative of Confederate President Jefferson Davis)

3 "Spies of the Confederacy"
Author John Bakeless. Published by the Lippincott Co., 1970, Philadelphia, Penna.

United States National Park Service records,
Staff Officers, Non-Regimental Enlisted Men,
CSA;
First Lieutenant/Aide-de-Camp,
Captain/Assistant Adjutant General
(Trimbles Kempers), Herberts Staff
M818 ROLL 7


Inscription

SAMUEL BOYER DAVIS

BORN DEC. 5, 1843

DIED SEPT. 14, 1914

HE WAS A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER

HIS WIFE

ANNA MASON DAVIS

BORN 1912 - DIED 1928

HE GIVETH HIS BELOVED
SLEEP

Gravesite Details

Burial Date: 09/26/1914


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