David Owen Dodd

an HMS American Cultures collaborative production

David Owen Dodd was also referred to as the “boy hero of Arkansas” and the “boy martyr of the Confederacy”. Dodd was born in Texas in 1846 and later moved to Camden, Arkansas with his family. After a few years he went off to St. John’s College and studied there until he obtained Malaria and had to leave. His plans were to return but he never did. While out of school he worked as a clerk in a telegraph office. While working here he learned Morse code. On Christmas Eve of 1863, Dodd’s father; Andrew Marion Dodd, sent him out to Little Rock, Arkansas on business. On his path, General James F. Fagan issued David Owen Dodd his pass. When he rode into Little Rock he had his birth certificate with him to show that he was too young to be in the army. On December 29, four days after his trip had begun; Dodd’s pass that had been issued to him was taken by Union sentries. The next day Dodd was traveling when he was stopped by Union soldiers who found him without a pass. For his identification he showed them his little notebook. In the notebook, the soldiers found a message in Morse code about precise information on the strength of the Union troops stationed in Little Rock. The soldiers then arrested him for being a spy. In his trial he was accused and found guilty of espionage and was sentenced to death by hanging. Dodd never backed down from his loyalty, for when he had an offer to be let go in exchange for his source of information he said, “I can give my life for my country but I cannot betray a friend.” A few weeks later on January 8, 1864, David Owen Dodd finally did return to St. John’s College to be hanged.


external image DoddDavidO_f.jpgexternal image Arkansas_Boy_Martyr.jpg

Online Sources:
"David Owen Dodd." The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. 18 May 2009 http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=2536.

"More Information about David Owen Dodd." Arkansas Military Heritage. 20 May 2009 http://www.arkmilitaryheritage.com/exhibits/dodd2.htm.

Image Sources:
Executed Today. http://www.executedtoday.com/images/Arkansas_Boy_Martyr.jpg

William Besser. Encyclopedia of Arkansas. http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/media-detail.aspx?mediaID=307