Sam Davis, The Courier Spy

Posted on July 20, 2016

samdavisEarly courier groups tended to only exist for the sake of transferring army information. Typical mail couriers in Massachusetts worked specifically with the USPS or the Pony Express for years. The few times that many couriers grouped together in order to complete their tasks as a fleet were during the war time. One of the most popular known grouping of couriers during war time was Coleman’s Scouts during the Civil War.

Coleman’s Scouts were a group of men that during the war worked under Captain Henry B. Shaw. Henry B. Shaw went under the alias E.C. Coleman in order for his band of soldiers to work along the Union lines without being instantly caught. Their jobs were to deliver information, messages and various other things for the Tennessee Confederate Army. They would also work as spies, gathering information about the Union so that the South would have the upper hand.

As of 1863, Nashville, Tennessee was held by Union soldiers, so it was important to free the capital. This is where the story of Coleman and his men became infamous. When they had become known to the Union Soldiers, it became a mission of the upmost importance to capture Captain “Coleman” and his men who were passing information. Their intelligence network however, was everywhere in the area and provided a great deal of information for the Confederacy about the Unions movements.

When the Union took over Nashville, Coleman and his men did what they did best. They spied on the Union in order to gather information about what was going on in the city. Once they were satisfied with the information they had gathered, they withdrew in order to send the information to General Braxton Briggs. However, several of the men were captured by the 7th Kansas Calvary, also known as the Kansas Jayhawkers.

The men were arrested for being Southern Sympathizers, while one Coleman Scout in particular was found for something worse.

Sam Davis is one of the most popular of Coleman Scouts. He was found by the Union soldiers with detailed maps in his saddle about various fortification defenses and reports about the Union army that was stationed in Nashville and other locations around Tennessee. This led to a more in depth search. The further search led to the discovery of a sealed letter from Captain Coleman to General Braggs’ command in his boot.

While Davis’ job in the scouts was as a courier, the Union charged him as being a spy, so he was presented to General Grenville M. Dodge. While he refused to admit to the crime of being a spy, he did openly say that he was a courier. Where he refused to give information on Coleman, he was hung by the neck until dead on his 21st birthday.

While we are pretty sure there are no couriers in Massachusetts who will be doubling as spies anytime soon, the dedication is the same at Fleet Couriers. Your packages are important so quality deliveries in Massachusetts are important to you and your business. That is why we will work with you to help keep the spirit of some of the most dedicated couriers alive.

Call Fleet Couriers today to schedule your delivery. Available 24 hours at 800-734-9309 and at