Wednesday, April 10, 2013

TRAIN TIME: USPS Trains & Locomotives Post Card Series 1999 - Card 15

What a coincidence, as I was preparing this post it occurred to me that it was 150 years ago today that Andrew's Raider's rendezvoused in Marietta, Georgia for what history would call The Great Locomotive Chase. The Great Locomotive Chase or Andrew's Raid is a fascinating event in American History which has gone down in lore and been popularized by Hollywood in such films as Buster Keaton's silent film comedy The General and by Walt Disney's movie The Great Locomotive Chase of 1956 starring Fess Parker. The General locomotive was a key player in an American Civil War military raid led by Union Army civilian scout James J. Andrews starting on April 12, 1862.  With the intent to destroy as much of the South's Western & Atlantic Railroad as possible, he and 23 other Union soldiers seized the northbound loco at Big Shanty, Georgia, and in a running saboteur action tried to destroy as much rail line, switches, telegraph lines, etc. The raiders had intended to meet advancing Union forces in Chattanooga but only got as far as just north of Ringgold, Georgia where they ran out fuel and abandoned the engine. Andrew's and all of his men were captured in two weeks. All the men were tried and convicted in military courts or courts martial and, because he was a civilian, Andrew's was found guilty as a spy. He and seven other men were hanged and the others sent to prison camps. The General itself survived the war and now resides in the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, Georgia. Enjoy!