John Swatsley (American, B. 1937) "Hudson's General" Signed lower right. Original Oil painting on Illustration Board.
Provenance: Collection of James A. Helzer (1946-2008), Founder of Unicover Corporation.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood First Day Cover for the U.S. 29c Hudson's General stamp issued July 28, 1994.
One of America's most fascinating railroad stories is woven around a Civil War incident known as the Andrews Raid. In April 1862, members of the Union army, led by General O.M. Mitchel, were closing in on Huntsville, Alabama, with intention of next moving on to Chattanooga, Tennessee. To ensure Mitchel's success, James J. Andrews, a spy and contraband runner, devised a scheme involving the capture of a train and the sabotage of a railway system used by the Confederacy. His plan called for 24 men clothed in civilian dress to penetrate rebel lines, seize the train and put rail operations between Chattanooga and Atlanta out of commission. When the gang of saboteurs met at Georgia's Big Shanty station they found that the depot had been converted into a Confederate camp. Fortunately the intended victim, a locomotive nicknamed the General was left vulnerable to capture. As one of the participants in the caper later recalled, "... the conductor, engineer, and many of the passengers hurried to breakfast, leaving the train unguarded. Now was the moment of action!" The Northern raiders boarded the train and were soon headed toward Chattanooga. Eventually a locomotive manned by the Confederates caught up with the General and a hair-raising chase ensued. Unable to stop for fuel because the Southerners were so close behind, a desperate Andrews commanded his crew to abandon the General. Just before the last man leaped from the train, the engine was reversed and driven back toward its pursuers.
Image Size: 14 x 12 in.
Overall Size: 20 x 17.5 in.
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