A few weeks ago the SCV celebrated its 117th National Reunion in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. There were many meetings, presentations, music, and stimulating activities. Unfortunately I was not able to attend or participate in everything available, but I did get to hear some programs, listen to some period music, and enjoy two tours. Camp #33 in Murfreesboro and all those assisting are to be commended for a job well done!

Close by, within a few hours drive, there are so many historical sites in Middle Tenn. to visit. One great excursion was the Sam Davis tour. The many fifty-five passenger busses took us to our destination just up the road from Murfreesboro to Smyrna, Tennessee. Just a few miles from the massive Nissan factory and the old Stewart Air Force Base is the home and museum of the Sam Davis family in Smyrna. This is a must see destination for WBTS (Civil War) buffs. The story of Sam Davis is sad and legendary, but there is another story, a horrendous one, of another native Tennessean whose gave his life for the Confederacy.

The brutality of the treatment to Dewitt Smith Jobe was unconscionable. Pvt. Dee Jobe was a member of the Coleman Scouts. This unit was to patrol and find information about the Union Army and deliver it to the Confederate Army in their homeland of occupied Tennessee. It was August of 1864, as Jobe and fellow scout Tom Joplin were behind the occupying Union lines and reconnoitering south of Nashville near the small villages of Nolensville and Triune. On Aug. 29, Jobe was hiding in a cornfield after eating breakfast at the home of William Moss, the father of two Confederate soldiers who lived between Triune and Nolensville. He had an important message hidden on his person. With Union patrols in the area, the Confederate was required to hide during the day and travel at night. On this day he took a chance to move about during daylight. Unfortunately, he was spotted by a patrol of approximately 15 men from the 115th Ohio Cavalry Regiment of the Union Army. Pvt. Jobe realized his capture was imminent, and he ripped up the notes and attempted to chew and swallow them. The 115th Ohio Cavalry intercepted Pvt. Jobe, confiscated a portion of his tattered notes, but they could not discern the meaning of the remaining pieces of the dispatches. The Union horsemen were infuriated by the nearness of their miss and now was time for some interrogating. Did they threatened him bodily harm?  Then did he talk?  Evidently he did not talk because around his throat they put a bridle rein and proceeded to hang him up a number of times, then let him down. Later they knocked out some of his teeth with a butt of a weapon. Still hung up, bound, bleeding, with no help of escape nor relief, Pvt. Jobe revealed nothing. As the torture escalated against this defenseless trooper, the Yankee cavalry were hollering and yelling so loudly they were heard by a nearby farm-house.  Next they secured his head, and one by one, poked out each of Pvt Jobe’s eyes! Screaming and yowling in excruciating pain he would not tell his secrets! If he would not tell them, these Invaders from Ohio were willing to raise the level of torture even higher! During repetitious beatings, they jabbed a knife into his mouth and cut out part of his tongue! Now was this the end of their sadistic pleasure? Read on…This shameless lot of tormentors finally were compelled to finish their acts of medieval inspired terror to punish Pvt. Jobe as they dragged him by his neck, behind a horse as it galloped away with his now, lifeless body!  Finally Private Dewitt Smith Jobe’s agony was over. A woman friend rode by, dismounted, and placed a handkerchief over Pvt. Jobe’s bloodied and scarred face.

No charges were ever placed against any members of the 115th Ohio Cavalry Regiment. Eventually some of the 115th were captured and reportedly sent to Andersonville Prison. Some of these same prisoners were possibly of the 1,500 who died on the SS Sultanaa Mississippi River steamboat that exploded and sank near Memphis on April 27, 1865. Some believe Robert Louden, a Confederate from Missouri, used a coal torpedo to help sabotage the Sultana, resulting in her demise.

The event surrounding the capture and torture of Private Jobe is not mentioned in the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, unfortunately. If you were in the 115th Ohio Cavalry Regiment, would you document these vile acts? However horrific, what happened to Pvt. Jobe was preserved in Jobe family oral history and letters and books like Bromfield Ridley’s “Battles and Sketches of the Army of Tennessee.” Part of this narrative was compiled from Ed Huddleston’s “The Civil War in Middle Tennessee” and from a series of supplements from the “Nashville Banner” published in 1965.

Rest In Peace, Private Dewitt Smith Jobe!

This marker is located on U.S. Highway 31A in Williamson County between Triune and Nolensville, Tennessee.

Pvt Dewitt 'Dee' Jobe, CSA

Pvt Dewitt Jobe, CSA

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