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Kennesaw's Steam Locomotive

NC&St.L photo of the locomotive General

The General, one of the most widely known locomotives in American history, is displayed in the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in downtown Kennesaw. The 4-4-0, built in 1855 by Rogers of Paterson, N.J., operated on the state-owned Western and Atlantic Railroad as No. 3.

Its distinction derives from the events of April 12, 1862, when James J. Andrews and his fellow Union raiders stole the locomotive in Kennesaw (then called Big Shanty) and headed north, planning to burn the railroad’s bridges to disrupt the flow of supplies to Confederate troops. They were pursued by conductor W. A. Fuller and others by foot, handcar, and three other locomotives including the Texas, which also has been preserved.

After a chase of 87 miles across northwestern Georgia, the raiders abandoned the engine a couple of miles north of Ringgold. It continued to serve the W&A after the war and eventually ended up on display in Chattanooga's Union Depot. In the early 1960s it was restored to operating condition for travel to various Civil War centennial events. Since 1972 it has been on display at the Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

The Texas also continued in service for several decades. After its retirement, it eventually came to be displayed outdoors in Atlanta's Grant Park for a time before being moved into the park's Cyclorama in the 1920s. It can still be seen there.

NC&St.L photo of the locomotive General

The General on display at the Atlanta Exposition of 1895. Standing on the ground to the left is conductor W.A. Fuller. (Both images above are from
"The Story of the General." Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway, 1909. Online at Internet Archive here.)

Locomotive General at Chattanooga Union Station

The General at Chattanooga Union Depot, where it was displayed for many years. (From: Florida, the Gulf Coast and Cuba, Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad, 1911. Online at Internet Archive here.)

Damage steam locomotive, possibly the General, Atlanta, 1864

This 1864 photograph made in Atlanta by George Barnard shows an engine thought by many to be the General. (From: The Photographic History of the Civil War: in Ten Volumes, vo. 8, 1911, p. 278. Online at Internet Archive here.)


1856 Baldwin loco used by Bray Lumber, Valdosta

The General's sister in Valdosta? See the article here.


See also Great Locomotive Chase. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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