On April 12, 1862, James J. Andrews and a group of Union soldiers in civilian clothes hijacked a Confederate train ("The General") at what is today Kennesaw, Georgia. The attempt ultimately failed, and the raiders were captured. Andrews and seven others were convicted of espionage and hanged. Six of the surviving members became the first recipients of the newly created Medal of Honor. The raid has been portrayed in the movies on at least three occasions.
Bonds, Russell S. Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor. Yardley, PA: Westholme, 2006.
A reviewer in Publishers Weekly (via Amazon.com), 15 Oct. 2006, finds this book to be "a fast-paced, extremely well-told tale of espionage, capture, trial and escape.... With its authoritative tone and refreshing accessibility, [Stealing the General] should find a place on the nightstand of the general reader as well as the bookshelf of the Civil War enthusiast."
Cohen, Stan. The General and The Texas: A Pictorial History of the Andrews Raid, April 12, 1862. Missoula, MT: Pictorial Histories Pub., 1999.
From publisher: In "[o]ne of the most famous commando-type raids of the Civil War ... [t]wenty Union soldiers and two civilians hijacked a train. Their mission -- to head north and destroy bridges, rails and rolling stock on the Western & Atlantic Railroad connecting Atlanta and Chattanooga. As the Raiders headed north, Confederates commandeered several engines, including the 'Texas,' and the great locomotive chase was on."
Hughes, Brent. "Yankee Spies and Rebel Pursuers in 'the Great Locomotive Chase.'" Washington Times National Weekly Edition, 28 Sep.-4 Oct. 1998, 28.
This is a brief factual recitation.
O'Neill, Charles Kendall. Wild Train: The Story of Andrews' Raiders. New York: Random House, 1956.
O'Neill theorizes that Andrews was a Finnish-born former officer in the Russian Army.
Pittenger, William. Capturing a Locomotive: A History of Secret Service in the Late War. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1884. Daring and Suffering: A History of the Andrews Railroad Raid. 3d ed. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House, 1999. [pb] The Great Locomotive Chase: A History of the Andrews Railroad Raid Into Georgia in 1862. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Library, 2009. [pb]
From Cumberland House Publishing: "Among the raiders was Cpl. William Pittenger. Shortly after he was mustered out, he composed an account of the mission, which was enlarged over subsequent editions and supplemented to become the most well-known and best-regarded account of the adventure. This book is a reproduction of the 1887 edition. It has been duplicated exactly as it appeared at that time with the addition of a brief introduction by Col. James G. Bogle."
Rottman, Gordon L. The Great Locomotive Chase: The Andrews Raid 1862. Oxford: Osprey, 2009.
Return to Union Table of Contents