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Samuel Slavens


U.S. Army
Medal Of Honor, Civil War

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In April 1862 General Mitchell and General Buell tasked 22 volunteers (including 2 civilians) under the leadership of James Andrews, with a daring raid. The men, later known as "Andrews' Raiders" penetrated 200 miles into enemy territory to capture a railroad train at Big Shanty, Georgia. Their mission was to destroy vital railroad lines and bridges between Chattanooga and Atlanta to disrupt movement of Confederate soldiers and supplies. Only partially successful, their capture of the locomotive "The General" resulted in a nearly 100 mile race that became known as "The Great Locomotive Chase". Private Slavens was one of these raiders, traveling in a small group for four days to reach Big Shanty and then joining the reunited group in the daring sabotage mission. In the ensuing race, a limited amount of damage was accomplished to bridges and rail lines, and in the end all members of the Andrew's Raid were captured and confined in Confederate prisons. On June 7th James Andrews was hanged as a spy. On June 18th seven more raiders were hanged as spies, among them Sergeant Slavens. His Medal of Honor was awarded 21 years after the raid and was the last for any of the raiders.

In the 1950s Disney Studios produced a movie, "The Great Locomotive Chase", heralding the exploits of Andrews' Raiders.

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