A series of computer malfunctions preventing my posting any pictures with the blog. These have finally been sorted out and I am back with the 2nd part of the story. But you might want to have a reread of Wednesday's first. Just scroll down, and then come back to to-day's.
And today we start with this map of the ground covered by the Raiders and that also covered by General Mitchell.
As the train left Big Shanty, the Southerners could not call for help. There was no telegraph lines at Big Shanty. So the conductor and two others, so angered at the nerve of stealing their train started to run after it. In short order they found a handcar, put it on the track and then started using long poles to propel the cart in the chase for their train. But the Raiders anticipated this and had thrown some railway ties off the last box car. Most just bounced off but a few stayed on the track and the push cart smashed into these and was thrown from the track. The men simply brushed themselves off, put it back on the track and headed off again.
In short order they came alongside a sidetrack and found a small rail engine. They
grabbed this and continue the chase. Meanwhile the train had to pull off the single line of track because a southbound train was expected and if it stayed in place there would be a head-on crash. Pulling onto a siding, the southbound train arrived and passed the Raiders, who then left the siding and continued their northbound venture. But by now the conductor and others located an engine as big as the General captured by the Union soldiers. But it was facing the wrong way. Regardless, it was backed onto the track and gave chase.. going backwards.. and at speeds of upwards of 60 MPH when the track safety rating was only 40 MPH. This map shows the route the rail line took from Marietta in the south to Chattanooga in the North.
The Raiders tried to pry up some track but couldn’t. They also cut some of the telegraph line en-route but left some functioning which allowed the southerners to warn troops at Chattanooga of what was going on and to amass troops to get ready to deal with the Raiders. They of course did not know this was happening and continued to drive the General at top speeds towards Chattanooga. Soon they could hear the whistles of the chasing engine catching up with them. So they poured oil over one of the bridges and tried to set it on fire. But it wouldn’t take. It was too wet from the recent downpours.
Next they tried to force a crash by unhooking the last box car in the hopes those chasing them would plow into it. But the Southerners saw this and simply slowed down, hoocked up with it and continued northbound. The Raiders then actually set another boxcar on fire and left it on a bridge, but that too was simply pushed off onto a siding and the chase continued.
This sketch depicts the attempt to set a box car and bridge on fire, but again the dampness from recent rains stopped the bridge from catching fire.
After about a 6 hour chase, water and coal was running low and creating troubles for the General's engines. She finally blew a valve, started losing power and eventually stopped all together. The Raiders were by then stranded near Ringgold, about 5 miles south of the Tennessee border and only about 18 short of their final destination.
Now the Raiders were in serious trouble!
But rather than ruin your Easter celebrations, I'll bring the rest of this story to you on Tuesday. There will be no column on Monday the 29th.