The Evening News
History of the Raid and the Monument Dedicated at Chattanooga
The Andrews railroad raid occurred in the spring of 1862 and was one of the most thrilling incidents of the civil war. The possession of Chattanooga by the Union forces was the object of the raid. Gen. O.M. Mitchell, the commander in middle Tennessee, advanced with a detachment from Huntsville to within thirty miles of Chattanooga, which the Confederate forces occupied, on the 11th of April, and then came to a halt to await the result of a secret expedition that he had dispatched into Georgia three days before.
This expedition was guided and commanded by J.J. Andrews, a spy in the service of the Union generals. Twenty-four volunteers from Gen. Sill's brigade composed the expedition, and after many adventures they reached Marietta, Ga., dressed in citizens' clothes. At Marietta they boarded a train, and when it stopped for breakfast at Big Shanty station, on the Georgia railroad, two engineers and a fireman of the party sprang on the engine. Andrews and the others got into a baggage car and uncoupled the forward section of the train, which then started for Chattanooga. Big Shanty was a Confederate camp, and armed sentinels were witnesses of the whole proceeding.
After starting the troubles of the trip began. Trains were met and overtaken, and there were many narrow escapes from detection, and Andrews by plausible excuses, secured the right of the road for what he called an ammunition train hurrying to the front at Corinth.
At Big Shanty the conductor of the raided train, W.A. Fuller, and Andrew Murphy, a boss machinist in the road's employ, started on foot after the flying bobtail. They soon got a hand-car, and finally an engine that stood fired up on a side track, and were close on the heels of the raiders. An exciting chase followed. The raiders tore up the track and attempted to burn the bridges behind them, but the pursuers kept within sight, and nothing was effected in the way of hindering them.
Finally the raiders lost all hope of accomplishing their purpose of crippling the railroads around Chattanooga in aid of Mitchell's movement upon that point, and by Andrews' advice they abandoned the effort and took to the woods. All of the fugitives were captured in the course of a few days and taken to Chattanooga for examination, and being within the enemy's lines in citizens' dress were held to be spies. Seven of the men and Andrews, who was a well known spy, were executed and buried at Atlanta. Eight of the party broke guard and escaped to the north, and the remainder were subsequently exchanged.
Andrews was executed on the scaffold alone, on June 7, 1862, and on the 18th of June the following were hanged together: William Campbell, a civilian who volunteered to accompany the raiders; George D. Wilson, Company B, Second Ohio; Marion A. Ross, Company A, Second Ohio; Perry G. Shodrack, Company K, Second Ohio; Samuel Slavena, Thirty-third Ohio; Samuel Robinson, Company G, Thirty-third Ohio; John Scott, Company K, Twenty-first Ohio.
The following is a list of the survivors of the memorable raid:
Capt. William Bensinger, Twenty-first Ohio, McComb, O.; Capt. W.N. Brown, Twenty-first Ohio, Dowling, O.; Capt. D.A. Dorsey, Thirty-third Ohio, Kearney, Neb.; William J. Knight, Twenty-first Ohio, Stryker, O.; Capt. E.H. Mason, Twenty-first Ohio, Pemberville, O.; Capt. Jacob Parrott, Thirty-third Ohio, Kenton, O.; Rev. William Pittenger, Second Ohio, Ventura, Cal.; William H. Reddick, Thirty-third Ohio, Wapello, Iowa; J.A. Wilson, Twenty-first Ohio, Hoskins, O.; Capt. J.R. Porter, Twenty-first Ohio, Ingalls, Oklahoma.
~source: The Evening News, Mansfield, Ohio; Monday, June 1, 1891
~submitted by: Sharyl Ferrall
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