Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor

By Russell S. Bonds

Selected through Civil battle Interactive as one of many best Civil conflict Books of All Time

"The definitive publication in regards to the nice Locomotive Chase."—Charlotte Observer

"Magnificent and definitive."—Wall road Journal

"The nice Locomotive Chase has been the stuff of legend and the darling of Hollywood. we have a pretty good heritage of the Andrews Raid. Russell S. Bonds' stirring account makes transparent why the raid failed and what occurred to the raiders."—James M. McPherson, writer of conflict Cry of Freedom, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

"In this gripping, smooth-running account, Bonds zooms without difficulty from broad-stroke overviews of Civil warfare technique to minute-by-minute scrutiny of unfolding occasions at the flooring. He units up the tale with a fast, punchy define of the 1st 12 months of the struggle. What follows is a fast paced, tremendous well-told story of espionage, trap, trial and escape."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Phenomenally good written, geared up, and presented."—Civil conflict Books and Authors

On April 12, 1862—one yr to the day after accomplice weapons opened on citadel Sumter and commenced the Civil War—a tall, mysterious smuggler and self-appointed Union undercover agent named James J. Andrews and nineteen infantry volunteers infiltrated north Georgia and stole a steam engine known as the General. Racing northward at speeds drawing close sixty miles an hour, slicing telegraph strains and destroying song alongside the way in which, Andrews deliberate to open East Tennessee to the Union military, removing males and matériel from the accomplice forces in Virginia. in the event that they succeeded, Andrews and his raiders may perhaps switch the process the warfare. however the General's younger conductor, William A. Fuller, chased the stolen educate first taking walks, then by way of handcar, and eventually aboard one other engine, the Texas. He pursued the General till, operating out of wooden and water, Andrews and his males deserted the doomed locomotive, finishing the experience that may quickly be recognized as the good Locomotive Chase. yet the ordeal of the warriors concerned used to be simply starting. within the days that undefined, the "engine thieves" have been hunted down and captured. 8 have been attempted and accomplished as spies, together with Andrews. 8 others made a bold break out to freedom, together with assisted via a community of slaves and Union sympathizers. for his or her activities, ahead of a private viewers with President Abraham Lincoln, six of the raiders grew to become the 1st males in American background to be provided the Medal of Honor—the nation's optimum ornament for gallantry.

Americans north and south, either on the time and ever for the reason that, were astounded and eager about this bold raid. yet earlier, there has now not been a entire background of the full episode and the fates of all these concerned. according to eyewitness debts, in addition to correspondence, diaries, army files, newspaper experiences, deposition testimony and different basic resources, Stealing the final: the nice Locomotive Chase and the 1st Medal of Honor through Russell S. Bonds is a mix of meticulous examine and compelling narrative that's now thought of to be the definitive background of "the boldest event of the war."

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12 go into reverse at sizeable Shanty, the 2 oversleepers, Martin Hawkins and John Reed Porter, approximately succeeded in conversing themselves out in their problem. As their comrades have been racing up the W&A aboard the final, Hawkins and Porter had hiked in the course of the drizzle up the six-mile highway from Marietta and stated for enlistment at Camp McDonald. A accomplice colonel, after a cursory interview, directed the 2 males to report back to the commanding officer of the ninth Georgia Battalion. Being shorthanded, one of many battalion’s businesses used to be rapidly assembled and a vote taken to whether or no longer the 2 strangers will be authorised into the ranks.

321 (Knight’s account); Wilson W. Brown, Correspondence, MSS 132, field 6, Folder 6, Kurtz-AHC (numerous letters looking reputation because the “chief engineer” of the raid). Dorsey, an it seems that neutral observer, states that it used to be Brown who reversed the engine and “stuck to her until eventually simply because the final people jumped off. ” Dorsey, “The Mitchel Raiders,” The Ohio Soldier, April eight, 1893, p. 274. 6 Fuller, Pursuit and seize, p. sixty eight; Gregg, Andrews Raiders, p. 27 (noting Whitsitt’s preliminary pursuit and the unintended wounding of 1 of his men).

One thousand conjectures will spring up at such occasions; and the probabilities of our state of affairs have been plentiful sufficient for all types of imagining. ” Andrews had ignored to nominate any lieutenant or second-in-command to direct the warriors again at the back of whereas he used to be facing stumbling blocks or handling the development of the train—Pittenger, for one, may later whinge of this oversight. looking back, he stated, this can were necessary in case of a struggle, going as far as to retroactively recommend George D. Wilson for the placement of “authorized moment” (a curious selection, considering Wilson was once a personal and there have been 3 sergeants and one regimental sergeant significant found in the boxcar as well).

THE BRIDGE BURNERS 1 Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The younger American,” Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essays and Lectures (New York: Library of the United States, 1983), p. 213; George Edgar Turner, Victory Rode the Rails: The Strategic position of the Railroads within the Civil conflict (Lincoln: college of Nebraska Press, 1992), p. sixteen. 2 David M. Stokes, “Railroads Blue and grey: Rail shipping within the Civil battle, 1861-65: A Bibliography,” nationwide Railway Bulletin, sixty five, no. five (2000), p. five; James M. McPherson, conflict Cry of Freedom: The Civil struggle period (New York: Oxford college Press, 1988), pp.

Kurtz, Jan. thirteen, 1904 (describing Swims), Kurtz-AHC; Pittenger, taking pictures a Locomotive, p. 171; Gregg, Andrews Raiders, p. 37 (“queer freak of architecture”); Knight, quoted in Dorsey, “The Mitchel Raiders,” The Ohio Soldier, may perhaps 20, 1893, p. 322; Claiborne, quoted in Dorsey, “The Mitchel Raiders,” The Ohio Soldier, may well 6, 1893, p. 307. dependent upon their recollection of the basement “hole” as a thirteen-by-thirteen-foot cellphone, the raiders uniformly recalled the jail’s total dimensions as significantly smaller than twenty-three ft through thirty-seven ft.

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