The General's Biggest Day

The General made scheduled stops at Marietta, Kennesaw, Cartersville, Kingston, Calhoun, Dalton, and Ringgold. She was not scheduled to stop at Adairsville, but the local people saw to that. As the General came into view, a local band and the police blocked the track. When the General came to a halt, town officials served warrants on Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver and L&N President Kendall (both on the coach) for "refusing to stop the General at Adairsville..." The General steamed into the Union Depot in Chattanooga at 4:35 PM, only ten minutes behind the advertised time, amidst the strains of a band playing the Star Spangled Banner and the cheers of thousands. Without question this was the General's biggest day.

The General at Big Shanty, Georgia, April 14, 1962. At left, Ernest Vandiver, Governor of Georgia, and at right, William H. Kendall, President, Louisville & Nashville Railroad.

During the ceremonies that followed, L&N President Kendall presented each crewman who had brought the General to Chattanooga "a day's pay in Confederate money." Such payment and the Civil War vintage attire of the crew, as well as beards, was all part of a formal agreement between the L&NRR and the several operating brotherhoods involved, signed in Atlanta on April 13, 1962. The special crew was made up of George W. Black, Conductor, of Decatur; Paul E. West, Engineer, Jack R. Barrett, Fireman, Chester L. Bozeman, Flagman, all of Kennesaw; George W. Ferguson, Trainman, and W. H. Alexander, Train Porter. Also with the General were Russell White and W.A. Rice, Travelling Engineers.

The General arrived in Atlanta on Tuesday, April 10th, aboard the special flat car that was to carry her thousands of miles over the eastern part of the United States during the next few years. The L&NRR prepared two flat cars to transport the General and the special sectionalized ramp that was built to permit her easy loading. Rails were placed on one flat car permanently and with the ramp, the General and tender were easily pushed onto the flat car. She was then tied down with special equipment, the balloon stack removed and she was ready to roll – piggyback fashion.

After the reenactment of the Chase of April 14th, 1962, the General began her tour as follows...April 15-22: Chattanooga, Tennessee; April 26-29: Washington, DC; May 2-5: Columbus, Ohio; May 8-15: Memphis, Tennessee; May 19-20: Fort Knox, Kentucky; May 22-27: Evansville, Indiana; May 28-June 2: The General ran under her own steam from Evansville to Chicago – her fourth trip to the windy city – stopping at intermediate points along the way.

The General at Nashville, Tennessee, July 6, 1962.

– Photo by Martin J. Robards, L&NRR

The trip to Washington and her stay there from April 26th to the 29th was in connection with special commemorative ceremonies honoring the Centennial of the Medal of Honor, the Nation's highest military award. Special commemorative ceremonies were held on the lawn of the White House with President John F. Kennedy and his guest Prime Minister Harold Macmillan of England in attendance. Among descendants of the Andrews Raiders present was Joseph W. Parrott of West Salem, Oregon, a grandson of Jacob Parrott who was the first individual to receive the Medal of Honor.

The General remained on tour until December 22, 1962, when she was returned to Chattanooga for the holidays. The old engine had performed beautifully traveling 9,000 miles under her own steam plus another 5,000 miles aboard her special flat car. She visited 120 cities in 12 states during 1962, and 640,000 visitors passed through Combine Car No. 665. It was a very successful year for the General and for the L&NRR. The reenactment on April 14, 1962 of The Great Locomotive Chase was the highlight of Georgia's Civil War Centennial observance, and a special medal, designed by sculptor Julian Harris of Atlanta, was executed for the occasion. One side bears a likeness of the General and the other a likeness of William A. Fuller, conductor of the General's train on April 12, 1862.

The Andrews Raid Medal issued by the Georgia Civil War Centennial Commission in 1962. Designed by Julian Harris of Atlanta, it has a likeness of the general on one side, and William A. Fuller on the other.

Mouse over the medal to view reverse side.

The General on the Norfolk & Western RR, June, 1963.

– John Krause photo

The 1962 Georgia General Assembly passed a joint resolution expressing appreciation to the L&NRR for the restoration of the General and "for allowing the debut of this historically significant locomotive to take place in Georgia at the site of The Great Locomotive Chase for the Centennial Commemoration of the Andrews Raid." 1963 was another big year for the General, and she began her tour with a return visit to Big Shanty on April 12th, then northward to Chattanooga and points in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Well over a month was spent in touring Ohio as this was the home state for most of the Andrews Raiders, and there are many descendants living there today. At the conclusion of her travels in 1963, the General again returned to Chattanooga for the winter. During 1963 the General traveled 7,200 miles of which 2,200 were under her own steam, and 386,000 visitors passed through Combine Car No. 665. Again it was a very successful year for the General and for the L&NRR. The press coverage was fantastic with every state in the Union represented as well as England, Holland, Germany, and France. President Kendall's statement in 1959 as to the advertising value of the General had certainly been confirmed.

Another view, June, 1963.

– John Krause photo

The Early Days | During the Civil War | The War Ends, Repairs, Back In Service | Rebuilt & Converted | Important Railroad Achievement | 1887 | 1888-1889 | 1890-1891 | 1892-1897 | The General On Display | Gone With the Wind | Custody Battles Begin | Custody Battle No. 2 | The General Is "Stolen" Again | The General Becomes An Oil Burner | Civil War Centennial Years | The General's Biggest Day | At the New York World's Fair | Georgia Asks For The General | Custody Battle No.3 | A New Home For The General | The General's Final Journey | General's Final Journey -In Color

Direct questions to webmaster. © 2009