The Great Locomotive Chase – The Andrews Raid

The Historic Jefferson Railway captures the spirit of the Civil War during Jefferson Historical Pilgrimage & Civil War Weekend May 3, 4 and 5, 2019 by recreating the battle of the Great Locomotive Chaseaboard a live steam train with soldiers from the North and South.  The living history camps along the Big Cypress Bayou come alive as the cannons fire and the battle rages to gain possession of the train. 

The Great Locomotive Chase and Train Battle of Port Jefferson will be held on Saturday, May 4, with live steam train rides departing from the Historic Jefferson Railway in downtown Jefferson at 11:00, 12:30, 2:30, 4:00 and 5:30 and Sunday, May 5 at 12:30.

On Friday May 3, there will be a Day of Learning for school groups, home school children and parents to draw attention to the history and romance of the Civil War way of life.  This event is also open to the general public.  The Living History Camps will demonstrate Camp Life and Military Activities and includes an optional train ride aboard an antique gas-powered locomotive.  The Historic Jefferson Railway narrator tells the story of The Andrews Raid as the train travels alongside the Big Cypress Bayou.  See a gunboat with real live cannons.  Visit Diamond Don Gator Pit with seven live gators and see ruins on the property from the 1800’s. 

On Saturday and Sunday, the Train Battle of Port Jefferson joins the skirmish as a replica ironclad gunboat, the Virginia, fires her cannons on the banks of the Big Cypress Bayou River.  The live steam train will be pushing a flatcar full of Confederate soldiers firing their cannons on the soldiers from the north.  More than 10 large cannons, artillery and horse-drawn wagons will participate in the Train Battle.

The gripping tale of The Andrews Raid is the Civil War’s most fascinating railroad story.  Famous campaigns were planned and conducted for the primary purpose of capturing or destroying railroad lines of value to the enemy. On the morning of April 12, 1862, the most famous locomotive of the Civil War, the General, was hijacked by the Union civilian spy, James J. Andrews, and his men. After a nail-biting eight hours and 87 miles, the Southerners captured the General, James Andrews and several of his men.

The Merrimack was a Union cruiser, captured by the South in Norfolk Virginia, and renamed the Virginia.  The Jefferson Battle that Never Was will feature the Virginia, fighting from the banks of the river, while the soldiers fight to capture the train.

On Saturday and Sunday, experience a true civil war train battle aboard the Historic Jefferson Railway’s live steam train, the only venue available to see this re-enactment.  Reminiscent of the landing parties that aided the regular land forces, from both above and below the Mason-Dixon Line, it will be a unique experience.  Keep your seat on the train as the battle fights around you near the railroad track and from the gunboat in the river.

Re-enactors are welcome at Diamond Don RV Park with lots of space, trees and plenty of amenities, including free camping, WIFI, water, hay, split wood, restrooms and showers.  Re-enactor’s registration will take place at Diamond Don RV Park and the $10 fee also includes noon-day meals and Saturday evening social and dinner.  RV sites with water and electric are available to re-enactors and to the public.

Take a step back in time as the Historic Jefferson Railway takes you on an excursion that circles the Piney Woods along the scenic Big Cypress Bayou.  You’ll view a Confederate Powder Magazine from the Civil War era and remains of many sites from the 1800’s still visible along the track.  The train will stop about half-way for the Train Battle of Port Jefferson.  The live steam train is a restored antique Crown Metals built in 1964.  The open-canopied observation cars provide an excellent view of this exciting event along the river. 

Historic Jefferson Railway

400 E. Austin

Jefferson, TX 75657

General Information, or 866-398-2038

Media Contact: Melissa Moit, Manager, 903-742-2041

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