Born in 1837, Sam grew up with William "Billy" Patton, his young master. Because Sam's mother was the cook for the Patton family, he lived in the kitchen behind the big house. When Alabama seceded from the Union, Billy took Sam with him to war. In 1862, Billy and Sam fought with Company C of the 16th Alabama Infantry at Shiloh. On April 6, Billy fell, mortally wounded in a charge south of Shiloh Church. As the Confederates retreated, Sam refused to leave Billy's body on the battlefield. When darkness fell, Sam recovered Billy's body and returned him to his family at Sweetwater.
Ashley Pentecost, University of North Alabama
William McDonald, Civil War Tales of the Tennessee Valley. University of North Alabama archives
Alabama cultural resource survey