James J. Andrews


James J. Andrews

Virginia, USA
Death 7 Jun 1862 (aged 32–33)
Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, USA
Burial Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee, USA
Plot Section H, Site 12982
Memorial ID 2878 View Source
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American Civil War Union Partisan. He received notoriety as the leader of the famed “Andrews Raiders,” a group of 20 Union soldiers and two civilian Union sympathizers including him, who penetrated nearly 200 miles south into Confederate territory as spies. He had conceived the plan. In some Civil War texts, this assignment was called the “Great Locomotive Chase.” The group captured a railroad locomotive, “The General,” at Big Shanty, Georgia in an attempt to destroy the bridges and tracks of the Western and Atlantic Railroads between Chattanooga, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia. Approving the plan, Major Ormsby Mitchel 's forces would meet with “Andrew's Raiders” when the mission was finished. On the morning of April 12, 1862, the plan began on the wrong foot with two men oversleeping and not reporting to duty, including the train engineer, but an attempt to carry on with the mission began with the Union soldiers dressed in civilian attire. Soon Confederates were chasing the train, leaving little time to destroy bridges or tracks as they had planned. This mission was partially successful as communications were interrupted by cutting telegram wires. Eighteen miles from Chattanooga in Ringgold, Georgia, the train was abandoned as there was no more fuel. Within two weeks all of the men were captured by Confederate forces., including those who overslept and did not actually participate in the mission. After a Confederate court-martial, he was found guilty of being a Union spy, leader of the raid, and sentenced to be hung. On June 1, 1862, he escaped for 24 hours, but recaptured, sent to Atlanta and hung on the 7th of June at 5 PM. Both the civilians and six of the soldiers were hung, and the rest sent to Confederate prisoner of war camps. Although several of the Union soldiers, which had participated in the raid, were the first recipients of the Medal of Honor awarded by United States President Abraham Lincoln, Andrews was ineligible as he was a civilian. In the past, he was known to be a contraband runner, which was usually medicine, and a double agent. His body was originally buried at the execution site, but was removed to the Chattanooga National Cemetery on October 16, 1887 and a gravestone and monument to the those in the raid was erected. A State of Georgia Historical Marker at the corner of Juniper and 3rd Streets in Atlanta tells Andrews' saga and marks the site that he was hung. The 1956 Walt Disney movie, “The Great Locomotive Chase” starring Fess Parker in the role of Andrews and the 1927 Buster Keaton comedy masterpiece, “The General” were based on this true historical event. At the Southern Museum of Civil War in Kennesaw, Georgia, an extensive exhibit of “Andrews' Raiders” can be found. There are recent books documenting this historical event including Russell Bond's 2007 text, “Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor.”

Bio by: Linda Davis



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 4 May 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial 2878
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for James J. Andrews (1829–7 Jun 1862), Find a Grave Memorial ID 2878, citing Chattanooga National Cemetery, Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .