Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Train Chase

The Great Locomotive Chase occurred April 12th 1862 in Georgia.

The Union civilian scout and spy James J Andrews proposed isolating the city of Atlanta, Georgia by destroying the Western and Atlantic Railroad.  Twenty-two men from the Union regiments of the 2nd, 21st and 33rd Ohio along with one other civilian, William Hunter Campbell arrived for the raid in Marietta, Georgia before midnight April 10th 1862.  There were some delays due to heavy rains and two of the men didn’t make it, but joined the Confederate Army.

The train the “General”, going north, stopped the morning of April 12th 1862 in Kennesaw, Georgia so the crew could have breakfast.  This stop gave Andrews and his raiders the chance to steal the locomotive.  The plan was to take the train north towards Chattanooga and meet up with the Union Army.  The “General’s” conductor William Allen Fuller chased the train on a handcar.  He found another locomotive at Etowah, Georgia, continuing to chasing Andrews and his raiders to Adairsville.  At this point the raiders had torn up the tracks and Fuller continued the chase on foot.

Fuller’s next train was the “Texas” which he ran backwards, still chasing the “General”.  Fuller was joined by Confederate troops at Calhoun, Georgia.  The raiders continued north cutting telegraph lines, but they were unable to set the bridge at Tunnel Hill on fire.  Just north of Ringgold, Georgia and only eighteen miles from Chattanooga the “General” ran out of fuel.  Andrews and his men left the train and dispersed.

Within two weeks of taking the train Andrews and all of his men were captured.  They were placed on trial as unlawful combatants and spies.  Andrews and seven of his raiders were found guilty and hung.  Eight of the remaining men escaped from prison and made it back to Union lines, the remaining men were exchanged as prisoners of war on March 17th 1863.

A good web site if you would like to read more is The story of Andrew's Raiders

No comments: