The “ballad” of Ephraim Shelby Dodd

Private Dodd was one of Terry’s Texas Rangers who’d been captured by the federals and was housed in Knoxville’s Castle Fox jail during the Union occupation. A curious conjunction of events, ranging from Gen. Longstreet’s hanging of two alleged Union spies, to Dodd’s common Rebel wearing of a captured Union coat and trousers, got him accused of being a Rebel spy. He was quickly tried and hanged.

Dodd’d been a scout with the Rangers so his diary did contain details of federal positions. Although his lyrical tale is not directly related to the novel, it’s one flavor of some of the injustice going on in Knoxville and environs at the time of the Battle of Fort Sanders and how, for 25-year-old Ephraim Shelby Dodd who died protesting his innocence, it all turned terminal. It’s also a suitably horrifying tale for Halloween.

About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
This entry was posted in Bleak House, Civil War clothing, Knoxville, Prisoners of War and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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