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By Russell S. Bonds

Selected by way of Civil warfare Interactive as one of many most sensible Civil warfare Books of All Time

"The definitive booklet in regards to 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've an excellent 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 conflict 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 12 months of the struggle. What follows is a fast moving, super well-told story of espionage, seize, trial and escape."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Phenomenally good written, prepared, and presented."—Civil battle Books and Authors

On April 12, 1862—one yr to the day after accomplice weapons opened on castle Sumter and commenced the Civil War—a tall, mysterious smuggler and self-appointed Union undercover 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 drawing close 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 might switch the process the conflict. however the General's younger conductor, William A. Fuller, chased the stolen teach first walking, then by means of handcar, and at last aboard one other engine, the Texas. He pursued the General until eventually, operating out of wooden and water, Andrews and his males deserted the doomed locomotive, finishing the experience that may quickly be well-known as the good 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 achieved 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 heritage to be offered the Medal of Honor—the nation's maximum ornament for gallantry.

Americans north and south, either on the time and ever in view that, were astounded and thinking about this bold raid. yet in the past, there has no longer been a whole background of the complete episode and the fates of all these concerned. according to eyewitness money owed, in addition to correspondence, diaries, army documents, newspaper reviews, deposition testimony and different fundamental resources, Stealing the final: the nice Locomotive Chase and the 1st Medal of Honor through 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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Andrews. thirteen The railroad bridge burnings in November 1861 introduced harsh recriminations opposed to Union loyalists in the course of the hill cities and hardscrabble nation of East Tennessee. as well as the ugly hangings of the bridge burners themselves, insurgent troops resorted to an iron hand to maintain different Union sympathizers held in payment, together with a assertion of martial legislations in Knoxville and an order from the accomplice warfare division that dozens of influential Union-loyal electorate, together with a pass judgement on and a number of other nation legislators, have been to be imprisoned with no trial “till the top of the conflict. ” In all, a few 400 Unionists have been arrested and jailed. On November 30, Colonel Leadbetter issued an ominous public proclamation to the electorate of East Tennessee hard allegiance to the accomplice States and promising the “invasion of your houses and the losing of your substance” as long as the “insurrectionary tumult” persevered. “No man’s existence or estate is secure, no girl or baby can sleep in quiet,” the insurgent colonel warned, finishing the pronouncement with an specific danger of quick capital punishment to somebody who attacked the railroad tracks or bridges. An uneasy, anxious calm ensued. “The execution of the bridge-burners is generating the happiest effect,” Leadbetter said to Richmond every week later. “Insurgents will proceed for but some time within the mountains, yet I belief that we've got secured the outward obedience of the folk. ” extra railroad guards have been published at bridges and trestles, and the railroad businesses themselves grew to become extra wary and vigilant. those precautions and his stern proclamation confident Leadbetter that the placement, notwithstanding nonetheless risky, used to be less than regulate. the previous coastal engineer used to be convinced that not anyone may dare to assault the railroads resulting in Chattanooga back. 14 The draconian reprisals and martial legislations within the Tennessee hills elevated the Northern outcry for a considerable Union strength to return to assistance from the loyalists within the area, an attempt led in Washington by means of U. S. consultant Horace Maynard and Senator Andrew Johnson, previously the governor of Tennessee and the one Southern U. S. Senator who held his seat after secession. they discovered a sympathetic ear in Abraham Lincoln. greater than ever, the president notion it an important, despite the entire different calls for being made at the still-green Federal armies, to damage the South’s strategic keystone and produce reduction to the folk of East Tennessee once attainable. He had in brain whatever some distance grander than the eventual seize or remoted destruction of railroad tracks and trestles. Lincoln’s dearest desire was once to safe and defend within the mountains of Tennessee a bastion of Union loyalty to reflect the single proven a yr ahead of within the mountains of western Virginia, whose inhabitants had refused to secede from the Union by means of an overpowering margin. 15 regrettably, the president confronted an identical challenge in undertaking offensive operations in Kentucky and Tennessee as he confronted in Virginia: a obdurate and gradual military commander on the head of the forces that may be referred to as directly to strike the blow.

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