Historic Markers Across Georgia

The Railroad

Marker ID:  
Location: Located at the Allatoona Pass Battlefield on Old Allatoona Rd, Allatoona, GA.
County: Bartow
Coordinates: N 34° 06.884    W 084° 42.923
  34.11473333    -84.71538333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WM92T1
The Railroad Marker  


The Railroad

Chartered by the state of Georgia in 1837, workmen completed the Western & Atlantic Railroad in 1850 over a winding 137-mile route from Atlanta, Georgia, to Chattanooga, Tennessee. At Allatoona, massive quantities of earth and stone were removed to create a passage for a single railroad track through the mountain

Two years after the "Great Locomotive Chase", General William T. Sherman´s Union army pushed south from Tennessee towards Atlanta. Most of the battles followed during the Atlanta campaign took place within short distance of this railroad supply line.

The railroad abandoned the track to Allatoona Pass in the late 1940s when the route was relocated to avoid Lake Allatoona, then under construction. Today, one can only images the sound of the great steam locomotives moving through this deep cut.

"The W&A RR of Georgia should be the pride of every true American because by reason of its existence the Union was saved. Every foot of it should be sacred ground, because it was once moistened with patriotic blood. Over a hundred miles of it was fought in a continuous battle of the 120 days, during which, night and day, were heard the continuous boom of cannon and the sharp crack of rifle."
General William T. Sherman

The Great Locomotive Chase

Railroads became vital supply lines to both North and South during the Civil War. On April 12, 1862, James Andrews and a group of mostly nonuniformed Union soldiers commandeered the locomotive "General" and a mixed freight-passenger train from Big Shanty, 13 miles south of Allatoona. Heading north, their mission was to damage the railroad, destroy bridges, cut telegraph wires, and disrupt supplies to the Confederate army in Tennessee. Conductor William Fuller, engineer Jeff Cain, and Superintended Anthony Murphy pursued their stolen train using a pole cart. Beyond Allatoona, the men were thrown from their car and into a ditch after hitting a section of track sabotaged the raiders. Enlisting other W&A locomotives to continue the chase, Fuller and Murphy helped capture Andrews and the Raiders later that day north of Ringgold, Georgia. Several of "Andrews Raiders" became the first recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Justin Schussel designed the Army Medal of Honor which was approved by Congress on July 12, 1862. The army intended that the medal be awarded to recognize "gallantry in action and other soldier-like qualities" among enlisted personnel. Congress amended the law on March 3, 1863, to include officers. First awarded on March 25, 1863, the standards for the Army Medal of Honor have become more demanding. During the Civil War, 1,195 soldiers and one civilian received this award. English born, Private James E. Croft, 12th Battery, Wisconsin Light Artillery, was awarded the Medal of Honor on March 20, 1897, for bravery during the battle of Allatoona. Although wounded, Croft took the place of the gunner who had been shot down and inspired his comrades with his bravery in effective gunnery as he pulled the lanyard of the rifled cannon decimating the approaching Confederate column.
Georgia State Parks & Historical Sites


The Railroad