Friday, April 15, 2011

The General Situation

Wax Museum Report: Wilson Brown
Engineer in Andrew’s Raiders

by Xavier Golden

Hello, I am Wilson Wright Brown. I want to tell you about my life. I was born on Christmas 1839 and I lived 77 years. I fought against slavery in the civil war on the side of Abraham Lincoln who was fighting slavery. After the Civil War I got married and had 7 children.

I made a important decision to fight against slavery in the civil war. I was part of the Great Locomotive Chase which was a act in the civil war where Andrew’s Raiders were supposed to steal a train that had southern army supplies. It took place on April 12, 1862 and even though we failed, the story became famous, and gave the North hope to fight against slavery. The General, the train we took, was restored in 1961, and can be seen at the Southern Museum of Railroad and Civil War History

In the era I lived, lots of people owned slaves, But I was someone who fought against it. The Civil War had just begun when I was a young man, so I joined the army. I lived in the south of Ohio though, so my southern accent helped me in our secret mission.

I have two very interesting facts to tell you. First, I am Xavier’s great-great-great-grandfather. Another is that I was one of the 54 men to get the first presentation of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest award a soldier can get.

Ohio Monument to Andrew's Raiders
I was mainly picked to help in the Great Locomotive Chase because I was a train engineer. We had to travel disguised as southerners for four days from the north to where we stole the train called The General in Big Shanty, Georgia, which was deep into southern territory. I drove the train with the other engineer and James Andrews, the spy who was in charge of the raid. We destroyed train tracks and sabotaged telegraph wires so they couldn’t call for help. We wanted to destroy bridges but they were too wet to burn. Our plan was almost perfect but we were pursued by William Fuller, the General’s real engineer, who practically single-handledly caused us to be captured. He chased us on foot, and then by handcar, and finally in a train called The Texas. He got more and more people to help him and catch us. We had to abandon The General just south of Chattanooga, where we would have been safe, because we ran out of fuel. We had used some of our wood to try to block the tracks. We were all caught in the next two weeks – I made it to Alabama – and thrown in Confederate prison. We went to court and were found guilty and were sentenced to hang. But I escaped with five other men. Some prisoners were later exchanged, but some were hung, including James Andrews.

All the soldiers received the Congressional Medal of Honor, and we were the first to ever receive it. I stayed in the army, and fought in battles at Battle of Stones River, at Dug Gap, GA and at Chickamauga, GA where I was injured and captured again. I stayed friends with another Raider, Jacob Parrot, my whole life, and my daughter Gertrude even married his son. The Great Locomotive Chase was so exciting that two movies have been made of it, and many books written.