On April 12, 1862, James J. Andrews and a band of Union Civil War spies stole the General locomotive from under the watchful eyes of guards at nearby Confederate Camp McDonald while train passengers and crew were eating breakfast at the Lacy Hotel in Big Shanty, which is now Kennesaw. Andrews and his raiders attempted to travel up to Chattanooga, Tennessee, in an attempt to cause as much damage as possible to the Western & Atlantic Railroad by destroying telegraph wires and as much of the railroad itself along their path.
During their breakfast stop, Conductor William A. Fuller noticed that the train began moving, and he, Jeff Cain and Anthony Murphy set off in pursuit of the locomotive on foot. At the General’s next known stop, the three men borrowed a platform car and continued pursuit. A stroke of luck put the conductor and his men on the William R. Smith locomotive, which was awaiting departure near Kingston. When Fuller and his men came upon tracks broken by the raiders in Adairsville, they again pursued the General on foot until they were able to commandeer the Texas locomotive, all the while gaining on the raiders as they slowed down to cut wires and uproot track.
The spies were stopped just before reaching Chattanooga. Those who were caught, including Andrews and Sgt. John Scott, were hanged. The Union participants of the Great Locomotive Chase were later among the first recipients of the Medal of Honor, many posthumously.
At the Southern Museum, you’ll follow in the daring footsteps of Confederate Conductor William Fuller as he chases “Andrews Raiders” through the north Georgia mountains with a dramatic tour featuring an exciting movie about the Great Locomotive Chase, a façade of the Lacy Hotel, a tunnel and the General locomotive itself. Learn more about the Civil War spies in the Museum’s Raiders Gallery that features Sgt. Scott’s Medal of Honor, as well as photos and information about all 22 raiders.
For more information about the Great Locomotive Chase and the General locomotive, visit: