By Todd DeFeo / (c) 2012
RINGGOLD, Ga. — On the afternoon of April 12, 1862, a group of union spies desperately drove a stolen locomotive northward.
But, their tired engine, The General, was about to give out. About two miles north of Ringgold, the Great Locomotive Chase came to an end.
The spies fled, but were later captured.
While the raid failed, it succeeded in raising the general awareness about the importance of railroads and also their vulnerability. Following the raid, the Confederacy guarded its lines closer and a year later stopped a second attempted raid against the Western and Atlantic Railroad.
Those retracing the raid will want to visit two locations in this north Georgia city known as a marriage capital just across the Tennessee state line.
The old train depot opened May 9, 1850, the same day the Western & Atlantic Railroad line between Atlanta and Chattanooga opened for service. It was the last building the raiders saw before their adventure came to an end.
The building was damaged on Nov. 27, 1863, during the Battle of Ringgold, but it was repaired using limestone blocks, which are still visible today.
Just north of town, at railroad mile post 116.2, a marker denotes the exact location where the Andrews Raid ended. The marker is located of Georgia Highway 151, also known locally as Ooltewah Ringgold Road.