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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Andrews Raid: "The General"

The General, built ca 1851
April 12, 1862. Andrews' Raid. One of the most daring exploits of the War Between the States was due to the vigorous action of Captain W. A. Fuller, Anthony Murphy and Jeff Cain of Atlanta. If things went amiss, it would have been a disaster for the confederacy. An attempt was made by 21 men led by James J. Andrews of the Union Army to run off with a train, burn the bridges on the Western and Atlantic Railroad and cut communications between th Confederate armies and their sources of supply.  Andrews had made repeated trips in the South as a blockade runner for the North, and his plan to torch the bridges and cutt off communications was dangerous. Andrews told his men to break up into squads of two, three or four, go east to the Cumberland Mountains and south into Tennessee and be at Chattanooga by the following Thursday and reach Marietta, Georgia that evening ready for a raid on Friday morning.  On the morning of April 12th the men boarded a train as it came into Marietta. At Big Shanty (now Kennessee) the train stopped for breakfast. Andrews left fifteen men in the third car and uncoupled the first three cars. Captain Fuller, Murphy and Cain heard the sound of escaping steam and the whir of wheels and rushed out in time to see the runaway engine and cars speeding up the track. The pursued on foot, then took a hand-car. and chased train to Adairsville  Andrews was on the Oostenaula bridge when the pursuers came close.. When they at last caught up with Pickens, Pickens made the mistake of telling him men to jump off the train and scatter. All the men was captured within a week.  They were court-martialed and seven were condemned to die as spies.  Andrews was hanged on Peachtree Street in Atlanta on June 7th, and six others were hanged at Oakland Cemetery on June 18th.  After the war their bodies were removed to Chattanooga and buried in the National Cemetery.
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