Sam was born on a farm in Rutherford County in central Tennessee. He enlisted as a private in the 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment soon after Lincoln declared war, but before the Volunteer State had officially declared independence. The teenager served first in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia before his regiment was ordered back to Tennessee. After recovering from a wound received at Shiloh, Sam transferred to Cpt. H. B. Shaw's Company of Scouts.
The young scout was carrying intelligence on enemy troop strength and dispositions when captured by Kansas cavalrymen near Pulaski in November 1863. His interrogators, including Brig. Gen. Grenville Dodge (one of the nastiest bullies ever to wear a Federal uniform), could get nothing out of him. Repeatedly threatened with death, Sam refused to name his sources of information. "I would sooner die a thousand deaths than betray a friend or be false to duty," said Sam. He went to the gallows with head held high, another martyr to liberty.
"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." John 15:13
South Carolina League of the South