City honors switch operater for role in Civil War chase

The north Georgia city of Kingston on Thursday honored a former city resident for his role in the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862.

Kingston was a turning point in the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862, in part, because station agent/switch operator Uriah Stephens declined to hand over the switch keys to James J. Andrews.

Hours earlier, Andrews and a group of Union spies stole The General locomotive from what is now Kennesaw, Ga., while the train stopped for breakfast. Andrews’ goal was to destroy the Western & Atlantic Railroad, a major Confederate road that connected Atlanta and Chattanooga.

“In this day and time, we always want people to do the right thing and do their job to the best of their ability,” the Daily Tribune-News of Cartersville quoted Kingston Woman’s History Club Nettie Holt as saying. “Something happened when [Andrews] got to Kingston and came up against Uriah Stephens. Uriah Stephens said, ‘I don’t know you. You aren’t part of the regular crew that comes through here. This is not part of the regular schedule, and frankly, I just don’t believe your story.’ And so he put him on a sidetrack.”

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About Todd DeFeo 351 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and The Travel Trolley.