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Little Rock in Pulaski County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
 

The Story of David O. Dodd

“Boy Hero of the Confederacy”

 
 
<i>The Story of David O. Dodd </i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 10, 2018
1. The Story of David O. Dodd Marker
Inscription. In December 1863 and January of 1864, Little Rock was a Union-occupied town. During this period David Owen Dodd, a boy of 17, was involved in a series of events that led to his hanging as a spy. As a result he became known as the "Boy Hero of the Confederacy."

Dodd lived in Camden and came to Little Rock in early December to conduct family business. During his return journey Union soldiers discovered information regarding troop dispositions in Little Rock in his possession. Dodd was arrested, given a brief military trial, found guilty of spying and condemned to death by hanging. Believing that the information that convicted him was too detailed for Dodd to have obtained with out help, Union General Fredrick Steele offered leniency if he would identify his source. Dodd repeatedly refused. His hanging occurred on January 8 at a site on the grounds of St. John's College.

Reports from the time vary widely in the details of the hanging. Some reports claim that the hanging was conducted ineptly. There are no known photographs of the execution available. It is known that an elaborate scaffold was not used, but rather a hastily constructed gallows. The tail-gate of a wagon was used as the hanging platform. A reprint of an article in the Arkansas Gazette State Centennial Edition, printed in 1936, stated in part:
Both the interpretive and granite marker can be seen behind cement bench. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 10, 2018
2. Both the interpretive and granite marker can be seen behind cement bench.
"There were about 5,000 spectators present to witness the execution. Besides the spectators, there were present four Battalions of Union soldiers — so placed as to form a square, with the gallows in the center."

General Steele required that Dodd's funeral be conducted in a simple manner so as not to inflame the passions of the citizens of Little Rock. Early on January 9, a small cortege of mourners accompanied his body across town where he was buried in a donated grave in Mount Holly Cemetery.

The adjacent granite monument was erected in 1926 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to mark the hanging site. It was approximately 500 yards east of this location. In the early 1960's the monument was relocated because of Interstate construction. The interpretive panel a short distance to the north of you regarding the Little Rock Arsenal has a map which shows the hanging site and St. John's College in relation to this panel.

Inset "Do not weep for me for I will be better off in heaven. I will soon be out of this world of sorrow and trouble. I would like to see you before I die but, let God's will be done not ours."
David O. Dodd in a final letter to his family.


Photo captions
Bottom left: Know today as the Old Stage Coach House, it is located on the road that was the main route
Looking south from marker at MacArthur Park. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 10, 2018
3. Looking south from marker at MacArthur Park.
to southwest Arkansas. It served as a Union outpost. After his capture, Dodd was initially confined and questioned here.
Middle top: David O. Dodd, Age 17
Middle: The hanging site was on the grounds of St. John's College, a Masonic school established in the 1850's. Notice the many white buildings that were constructed as military hospital wards.
Middle bottom: General Steele, fearing a public disturbance, directed that Dodd's funeral be kept simple. A brief service was conducted in this house that stood near the corner of Fifth and Rock Streets.
Inset caption: There are no known photographs of the Dodd hanging and there were varying reports in regard to the details. It is known that a hastily constructed gallows similar to the one shown above, was used rather than a more elaborate scaffold.
Bottom right: Dodd is buried in Mount Holly Cemetery located at 1200 Broadway in Little Rock. The cemetery is the final resting place of many Arkansas notables.

 
Location. 34° 44.291′ N, 92° 15.904′ W. Marker is in Little Rock, Arkansas, in Pulaski County. Marker can be reached from East 9th Street. Touch for map. Located behind the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. Marker is at or near this postal address: 503 East 9th Street, Little Rock AR 72202, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Little Rock Arsenal (here, next to this marker); The Arsenal Crisis (here, next to this marker); In Memory of David O. Dodd (here, next to this marker); United Spanish War Veterans Tribute (within shouting distance of this marker); The Mehlburger Markers (within shouting distance of this marker); 206th Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); The Camden Expedition (within shouting distance of this marker); In Memory of United Spanish War Veterans (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Little Rock.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Granite marker next to this interpretive marker.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on David Owen Dodd (includes photo). (Submitted on May 8, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 9, 2018. This page originally submitted on May 8, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 78 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 8, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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