The Western & Atlantic "Texas". On display at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead, GA is one of the two surviving locomotives of a relatively insignificant Civil War incident which has become famous as "The Great Locomotive Chase." Basically, on April 12, 1862, a group of Union soldiers in civilian dress stole a mixed train on Georgia's Western & Atlantic Railroad, and ran it north toward Union lines near Chattanooga, with the goal of destroying the railroad in the process and thereby severing an important supply line for the Confederate Army. While it had the potential to seriously shorten the war, the Confederate railroaders doggedly pursued the raiders, using several locomotives, the last of which was this one. Eventually, the raiding party ran out of fuel and water and had to abandon their plan, without having really done much damage at all.
The locomotive displayed here is the Western & Atlantic "Texas", an 1856 Danforth & Cooke 4-4-0 American. Although built as a wood-burner, she was updated a number of times over her working life, eventually reaching a configuration much like what you see here when she was retired. Fortunately, folks who remembered the raid, knew of this engine's significance and saved her from the scrappers when she was retired in 1907. At first, she was displayed outdoors, but was later moved to Atlanta's Cyclorama building. In 1936, she was restored to something resembling her wartime appearance and she retained that look until 2016, when the Cyclorama. At that time, she was shipped to the North Carolina Museum of Transportation and again restored, this time to the configuration which she sported during the 1880s. The restoration team indicated that the rationale behind this was that virtually all of the remaining parts of this engine dated to that era. They believe that perhaps the frame and the bell-stand are the only parts that remain from that fateful day in April of 1862 and that the restoration you see is a locomotive that is "true to its parts."