Chasing Locomotives

Trip Start Mar 07, 1997
Trip End Dec 25, 1998

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Flag of United States  , Georgia
Friday, April 18, 1997

Go with me? This weekend we're going way down south in Dixie. South for the Big Shanty Festival at Kennesaw, Georgia, where we'll find a Civil War encampment with old-timey tents pitched by the spring near a historic railroad. We'll wander among soldiers in authentic dress and crouch by the campfire to listen to stories of how it was.

South for North Georgia's largest arts and crafts show with 300 booths of goodies and food. We'll tap a toe as the cloggers clog, browse till we drop and then load our car with handmade wind chimes for the patio and peach preserves for tomorrow morning's biscuits.

South for a visit to the General, that awesome locomotive that everybody has wanted since it was built in 1855. It stopped for a breakfast break at Big Shanty on the morning of April 12, 1862, and was taken over by James Andrews and 22 Union volunteers. The Yankee raiders, pursued by Confederates aboard the train called the Texas, headed north towards Chattanooga, tearing up track and burning bridges behind them. The story of Andrews Raiders is legend today, and the Great Locomotive Chase has been immortalized in film. Yes, the General is a movie star!

Except for some travels around the country, it was at home in Chattanooga's Union Depot from 1891 until 1972.

Can you believe it's been gone 25 years? It was a quarter of a century ago when the beloved locomotive left Chattanooga and moved to the Civil War Museum in Kennesaw.

The battle over rights to the General rivaled any Civil War skirmish and was decided, after a three-year struggle, in the U. S. Supreme Court.

Dawn Collins, director of Kennesaw's Civil War Museum, once worked at the Chattanooga Regional History Museum. "I love it when Chattanooga visitors tease me about taking it back home," she says, laughing.

As we stand on the front steps with Dawn, she points across the way to where the chase began. Yes, we have to admit, this is a good place for the General to be. And we can visit regularly. See you there.

Civil War Museum, Cherokee Street, Kennesaw, Georgia
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