When the War Between the States began, a young man named Dewitt Smith Jobe followed the example of his cousins, Sam Davis and Dee Smith, by enlisting in Company D of the Tennessee Infantry. After three years of fighting, Jobe was selected to become a Coleman scout. The new position was seen as a promotion, and it allowed Jobe an escape from the monotonous day to day life of a soldier. However, Jobe realized the risks involved in his new role after Sam Davis was hanged in Pulaski, Tennessee a few months earlier once captured by Union soldiers. Still, despite the risks, Jobe relished the challenge and thrived on the adventure of gathering information covertly to help the Confederate cause.
On the morning of August 29, 1864, Jobe was waking up in a cornfield near Nolensville where he had spent the night after being spotted by men from the Ohio 115th Regiment. Fifteen soldiers surrounded the unsuspecting scout. When he realized he was in trouble, Jobe took the important papers containing valuable intelligence and stuffed them in his mouth. Jobe was given an ultimatum to either tell the Union soldiers what was on the paper or he would be killed. To his peril, the brave Confederate scout swallowed the information and told the enemy he would not cooperate.
The Federal soldiers tied Jobe’s hands behind his back strangling him with a leather strap. He was then pistol-whipped so severely that most of his teeth were knocked out. The Federal soldiers gouged out his eyes and savagely cut out his tongue. Jobe was then mercilessly dragged behind a horse as the Union soldiers barbarically cheered and laughed as he died. The young scout’s lifeless body was discovered hanging by his feet from a tree a short time later.
Today there is a historical marker detailing the capture of the Confederate spy in Nolensville, Tennesse close to where the young scout was captured. Every August around the time Smith was captured, locals claim to hear the sound of a horse galloping down Nolensville Road near where the young man was tortured.
If you’d like to learn more about the scouts that died during the war and his cousin that desperately wanted vengeance, please check out my book Southern Ghost Stories: Murfreesboro, Spirits of Stones River. It’s available at Pickled Treats and Antiques in Gallatin as well as Amazon.