James J. Andrews was a Kentucky civilian who worked for the Union Army during the early years of the American Civil War. He led a daring raid behind enemy lines on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, known as the Great Locomotive Chase. The mission failed and Andrews and seven fellow raiders were executed by the Confederates on the charge of spying.
In April, Andrews proposed a new scheme to Major General Ormsby M. Mitchel to seize a locomotive in northern Georgia and drive it to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he would rendezvous with Mitchel’s attacking Union Army. On April 12, 1862, Andrews, another civilian, William “Bill” Campbell, and 22 volunteers from three Ohio infantry regiments garbed in civilian clothes, stole a locomotive known as The General at Big Shanty, near Kennesaw, Georgia] They headed north, destroying tracks and telegraph wires along the way in an effort to discourage pursuers and render the railroad useless for supplying the Confederate troops in Tennessee. William Allen Fuller, the conductor of the stolen train pursued the train hijackers on foot, by handcar, and in a variety of other locomotives, most notably the “Texas”, in which he gave chase for 51 miles in reverse. After an 87 miles chase, the General lost power just north of Ringgold, Georgia, and Andrews and his raiders scattered. He was captured soon afterwards and identified as the leader.
He was court-martialed in Chattanooga and sentenced to hang in one week as a spy. Andrews escaped from Swims Jail on June 1, but was quickly recaptured the next day. On June 7, he was taken to Atlanta ahead of the advancing Union army by train over the same tracks that he had used during the raid. Andrews was hanged at about 5:00 that afternoon.
Andrews’ body was temporarily buried at the site of execution.
His remains were later removed to the Chattanooga National Cemetery on October 16, 1887, and a gravestone and monument to the raid was erected near the Ohio Memorial.
I find it interesting that there is a monument to this Yankee spy on our southern soil, yet it doesn’t seem to be a target for vandalism or destruction!