Scope and Content
Title: Dorsey (Daniel A.) Civil War Scrapbook & Memorabilia,
Date (inclusive): 1862; 1881-1908
Collection number: Mss199
Extent: 0.5 linear ft.
University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Dorsey (Daniel A.) Civil War Scrapbook & Memorabilia, Mss199,
Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
Daniel A. Dorsey was a member of Andrews' Chattanooga Railroad Expedition of 1862, a
Union Civil War raid. Brig. General Ormsby M. Mitchell, ordered Union spy, James J.
Andrews, to take some men, capture a train, and isolate Chattanooga by destroying
telegraph lines and burning bridges on the northern section of the Georgia State Railroad
and the East Tennessee Railroad near the Georgia state line. Andrews put together an
expedition of 24 (some sources say 22 men) Union Army volunteers from the Ohio Volunteer
Infantry. On April 12, 1862, disguised as Southerners, they made their way in small
groups to Marietta, Georgia. The men planned to board the train at Marietta and ride to
Big Shanty (now Kennesaw), Georgia, a meal stop without telegraph communications. Heavy
rains delayed them, but they gathered as planned. At Big Shanty passengers went into the
station for breakfast except Andrews and his men, who left the train from the side
opposite the station, dashed to the engine called "General," uncoupled it, its tender,
and three boxcars and drove off. Wilson W. Brown, acted as engineer, William Knight as
Assistant, Alfred Wilson as fireman, others served as brakemen on top of the cars, while
others were along to blow up bridges and to supply cover fire under attack.
Unknown to Andrews, the Confederates had established a camp at Big Shanty and the job was
now complicated by the presence of hundreds of Confederate soldiers. Because of
Mitchell's success in battle at Pittsburg Landing, the Confederates were running
unscheduled trains south. The raiders were held up at Kingsville an hour waiting for
several trains to pass. Meanwhile, William A. Fuller, conductor, and Anthony Murphy
foreman of the railway shop at Atlanta, realized that the engine had been stolen and
started in pursuit--first on foot, then in a handcar, and finally obtaining an engine.
Andrews discovered that bridges soaked by rain did not take fire easily and under pursuit
the best his men could do was to cut telegraph lines and throw obstacles on the track.
Fuller and Murphy were gaining rapidly, even running through a small section of track
that had been destroyed. Andrews' raiders finally out of fuel 18 miles south of
Chattanooga abandoned the train and took to the woods.
According to William Pittenger a member of the expedition who wrote Capturing a
Locomotive , Andrews used poor judgement in separating his men in the escape rather than
fighting it out or setting off together. Andrews was used to acting as a spy rather than
as a military leader. All were captured within a week. The men were taken to a Knoxville
prison where they were placed in chains, starved and tortured. Divided into two groups,
within two months of the raid, J.J. Andrews and seven of his men were tried and executed
in Atlanta, Andrews on June 7th and the others on June 18, 1862. The other group remained
in jail for months awaiting execution. Finally, they tried to escape, and nine succeeded,
but the rest were held as prisoners of war until they were exchanged through a special
arrangement with Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. Dorsey was in the group that escaped.
He travelled with Hawkins and proceeded to the Union lines at Somerset, Kentucky. His
account is to be found in Pittenger's book.
After the War Dorsey gave many lectures about his experiences in various cities including
Washington, D.C. and Chicago. He kept a scrapbook (1881-1908) of the Great Locomotive
Chase and related topics, including: the Congressional Act granting pensions of $20 a
month to the survivors of the expedition; Jefferson Davis; and the Civil War. During his
final years, Dorsey lived in Kearney, Nebraska.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of Daniel A. Dorsey's scrapbook, photographs and his personal
annotated copy of William Pittenger's published account of the Great Chattanooga
Locomotive Chase (1862).