Friends of Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park is now accepting reservations for a tour on Saturday, April 16, featuring the Park's chief historian, Jim Ogden. The daylong bus tour will revisit sites associated with the Andrews Raid, which officials call one of the most intriguing episodes of the American Civil War, and the subject of two popular movies over the years.
The bus will depart Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center promptly at 8 a.m. and return at approximately 6 p.m., with museum and site stops or rolling commentary at Kennesaw, Acworth, Kingston, Adairsville, Resaca, Dalton, Tunnel Hill and Ringgold.
Lunch, beverages, snacks and tour site admission fees are included in the tour price of $50 for Friends members and $60 for the general public. The Friends are also offering a Tour & Join Special for $75, which includes the tour and a one-year basic Friends membership – a $90 value.
The Andrews Raid of April, 1862, is one of the Civil War’s celebrated espionage stories. The plan was for a group of twenty-two Union Army volunteers to steal a train, then steam north, destroying the Western and Atlantic Railroad, the main supply line for the Confederate Army, as they went. Their goal was to disable the Southern Army and pave the way for the fall of Chattanooga and Atlanta.
The Raiders chose a locomotive named The General as their prey and successfully hijacked it from the station at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw). However, due to the stubborn persistence of the General's conductor, William A. Fuller, and his fellow pursuers, the plan failed.
Fuller and his compatriots chased The General first via handcar and, later, via another locomotive, The Texas. The chase culminated in a high speed race between the two locomotives and their crews, with The Texas running at full speed backwards for much of the way.
Eight of the Raiders, including Andrews, were hanged, eight escaped and six were exchanged as prisoners of war. Participants in the Raid were the first to receive the newly created Medal of Honor from the United States Congress. Those hanged were interred at Chattanooga's National Cemetery, created after the Battles for Chattanooga in 1863.
Andrews Raid became the subject for two popular movies: The General starring Buster Keaton in 1927 and Walt Disney's The Great Locomotive Chase starring Fess Parker in 1959. On April 12, 1972 the General was officially enshrined in her permanent home in Kennesaw, Ga...110 years and just 100 yards from the spot where she was stolen in 1862.
To reserve a seat for the April 16 tour, send a check to Friends of the Park, P.O. Box 748, Chattanooga, TN 37401. Provide a telephone number or email address and indicate “Andrews Raid Tour” on the check, and confirmation of the reservation will follow. Reservations can also be made online using a credit card, at www.chickchatt.org
Friends of the Park is a non-profit group of volunteers which for 18 years has served as an advocacy and community liaison organization for Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park at its multiple units throughout the Chattanooga and North Georgia areas. The Friends provide funding for projects recommended by Park management. They also present public offerings that include volunteer days at the Park, educational tours and events, sponsorship of an annual Memorial Day pops concert at the Park, an informational website and a quarterly newsletter.
Memberships are available at a range of contribution and recognition levels. The Friends welcome gifts in kind, bequests, memorials and honorary gifts in addition to membership donations. More information is available at www.chickchatt.org or by calling (423) 624-6914 and leaving a message for a return call.