By Russell S. Bonds
Selected by means of Civil battle Interactive as one of many most sensible Civil battle Books of All Time
"The definitive booklet concerning the nice Locomotive Chase."—Charlotte Observer
"Magnificent and definitive."—Wall highway Journal
"The nice Locomotive Chase has been the stuff of legend and the darling of Hollywood. we now have a superior 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 easily from broad-stroke overviews of Civil struggle technique to minute-by-minute scrutiny of unfolding occasions at the floor. He units up the tale with a quickly, punchy define of the 1st yr of the struggle. What follows is a fast paced, tremendous well-told story of espionage, seize, trial and escape."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Phenomenally good written, equipped, and presented."—Civil conflict Books and Authors
On April 12, 1862—one 12 months to the day after accomplice weapons opened on citadel Sumter and began the Civil War—a tall, mysterious smuggler and self-appointed Union secret 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 coming near near 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 well swap the process the struggle. however the General's younger conductor, William A. Fuller, chased the stolen educate first walking, then via handcar, and at last 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 might quickly be recognized as the nice Locomotive Chase. yet the ordeal of the warriors concerned was once simply starting. within the days that undefined, the "engine thieves" have been hunted down and captured. 8 have been attempted and finished as spies, together with Andrews. 8 others made a bold get away to freedom, together with assisted by way of a community of slaves and Union sympathizers. for his or her activities, sooner than a private viewers with President Abraham Lincoln, six of the raiders turned the 1st males in American historical past to be offered the Medal of Honor—the nation's maximum ornament for gallantry.
Americans north and south, either on the time and ever considering that, were astounded and thinking about this bold raid. yet in the past, there has no longer been a whole heritage of the full episode and the fates of all these concerned. in accordance with eyewitness money owed, in addition to correspondence, diaries, army documents, newspaper reviews, deposition testimony and different fundamental resources, Stealing the final: the good Locomotive Chase and the 1st Medal of Honor via Russell S. Bonds is a mix of meticulous study and compelling narrative that's now thought of to be the definitive heritage of "the boldest experience of the war."
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Extra resources for Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor
Approximately this he became out to be right: his subsequent letter, written from a jail cellphone months later, will be one pleading for the mercy of accomplice President Jefferson Davis. on reflection, a contemporary observer might possibly be forgiven for brooding about why the captain in charge of corporation G of the second Ohio had approached Pittenger to participate in a bold excursion at the back of enemy traces. A twenty-two-year-old corporal from Steubenville, Ohio, he used to be a rustic schoolmaster sooner than the battle and regarded the half: faded, skinny, nearsighted, and stoop-shouldered, with curly gentle brown hair and fancy oval spectacles pinched atop a well-liked nostril. Pittenger was once vivid and quite talkative, a trait which, together with his glasses, may draw marked cognizance to him and might later impress dislike and eventual mistrust between a couple of his compatriots. One fellow soldier may later remark that Pittenger talked “for a similar cause timid boy out at evening whistles—to ward off ‘spooks’ through showing to be courageous. ” the previous instructor used to be serving as a conflict correspondent for his place of birth paper, the Steubenville bring in, and one fellow raider might later recommend that he was once “allowed to compliment the day trip which will write up an account of it—more as a newspaper correspondent than as a soldier. ” there isn't any professional or perhaps credible fact to this rumor (which turns out in reality extra like an after-the-fact reasonable shot), notwithstanding Pittenger may certainly come to spend the remainder of his lengthy existence writing debts of the Andrews Raid. alongside towards night, Pittenger become his new outfit of civilian outfits, rigorously folded his uniform, and stepped from his tent into the corporate road, his replaced visual appeal inflicting a “sensation” within the camp. Deflecting questions on no matter if he had got a furlough or been discharged, Pittenger shook the arms of his pals in corporation G as he ready to move. He chanced on the parting from his messmates to be an emotional one. “I had tramped with them over Kentucky and half Tennessee; had stood protect on many a depressing and wintry evening; had slept through their facet within the outside while our heads have been deepwhite with frost; had floated with them down a mountain movement on rafts and logs,” the younger corporal recalled. “It used to be difficult to depart them, for many of them didn't anticipate to determine me again,” he acknowledged, “and I part feared they have been correct. ”27 The twenty-four males who may make historical past because the Andrews Raiders first convened simply after nightfall on Monday evening, April 7, on a knoll west of Shelbyville at the farm of a guy named Holland. “Never prior to, for therefore striking an try out was once so incongruous a band assembled,” one 3rd department officer later wrote of the celebration. The volunteers have been for the main half local Ohioans, sons and grandsons of pioneer households who had struck out west to discover their fortunes, however the similarity ended there. The oldest guy current used to be thirty-three; the youngest seventeen. there have been 4 railroad engineers, numerous farmers, machinists, and a cobbler.