Andrews, a spy, and 19 other men managed to make their way deep into the heart of the Confederacy and board a northbound train in Marietta. Once stopped in Big Shanty (present day Kennesaw) for a 20-minute breakfast break, Andrews and his men had a devious plan – to steal a locomotive and destroy the Western and Atlantic Railroad.
The day was April 12, 1862 – the one year anniversary of the start of the Civil War. As part of a greater coordinated military effort, Andrews was to raid the railroad while Gen. Ormsby Mitchel moved into Huntsville, Ala., and later into Chattanooga, Tenn. The Western and Atlantic Railroad, connecting Atlanta and Chattanooga, was a vital lifeline for the Confederacy and destroying the road might have led to an earlier conclusion to the War Between the States.
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