Saturday, February 2, 2013

Weekend Steam: A Question and the Answer!

When you go through the drive-thru at the Dahlgren, Illinois People's National Bank, you will see this painting by a local artist of a 4-4-0 locomotive in front of the Dahlgren depot.  One day I sent a camera in to the teller and asked her to take a photo for me so I could see it better.  Wonder of wonders; it looked like the engine is the General, of Civil War fame.  The General was hijacked by the Andrews raiders on April 12, 1862 at Big Shanty, (Kennesaw) Georgia.  The plan was to burn bridges between there and Chattanooga, but it didn't work out too well, and most of the Andrews raiders were hung as spies.  I read the book by William Pittenger a couple times when I was in junior high, and saw Disney's movie about the Great Locomotive Chase when it was shown on TV in the early 1960's.   Susan and I saw the General when we did our Marching Through Georgia vacation several years ago.

The burning question after I looked at the painting up close was, did the General actually come through Dahlgren?  The General was put in top notch condition, and toured the country during the Civil War Centennial.  Click Here to go to a couple of websites about the General.  The black and white photographs from the restoration and tour are especially fascinating.

 So, the General was restored, and did a nationwide tour, but did it actually come to Dahlgren??  Recently we were visiting with one of the neighbors and these snapshots were produced.  These are snapshots taken when our friend was a youngster, and she witnessed the General steaming through northwest Hamilton County.

Our friend's parents took these photos as they followed the General down IL Hwy 142.  What a memory!

Search the Internet, and you can probably buy a copy of the Great Locomotive Chase by Disney, and watch a pretty good dramatization of the events around the General in 1862.  Many Thanks to our friend for letting me scan and post these photos.  Photo Credit: V Stull.

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