The Great Locomotive Chase

Synopsis: This is based on a true story. During the Civil War, a Union spy, Andrews, is asked to lead a band of Union soldiers into the South so that they could destroy the railway system. However, things don't go as planned when the conductor of the train that they stole is on to them and is doing everything he can to stop them.
Director(s): Francis D. Lyon
Production: Walt Disney Productions
  1 nomination.
85 min

My name is William Pienger.

I never intended to write this book,

but after our raid into Georgia was over,

Something happened

to make me change my mind.

Along with a group of men

who had shared so much with me,

I was summoned to

the War Department in Washington.

We expected nothing more

than routine questioning,

But were surprised to be invited

into Secretary Sta-union's office,

And dumbfounded as we took in

the meaning of his words.

It is a tribute to your valor

that the boldest exploit of this war

Bringing consternation upon the

Confederacy and glory to our Union arms,

Was led by a civilian, and carried out

by private soldiers.

Volunteers, to a man.

You've won for us a new respect,

and we are grateful.

Congress has, by recent law,

Prepared a medal to be awarded

for conspicuous bravery:

"The Congressional Medal of Honor."

You gentlemen are to have

the first ever given.

Corporal William Pittenger.

Congratulations, Mr. Pittenger.

[ Pittenger] I tried to thank him

but I felt too unworthy,

Remembering our missing comrades

and our brave leader Andrews

Who had gained us this honor.

[Pittenger] James J. Andrews was a man

of mystery, as befitted his vocation.

Though in reality a Union spy,

He was trusted throughout the South

as a blockade runner.

It was typical that even now

as he neared our fines,

He was riding a horse he had borrowed

from the Confederates.

On that eventful day in 1862,

I was in charge of a picket detail,

Guarding the approach to our

headquarters camp, south of Nashville.

Pittenger, why don't you hire a substitute,

So the war won't interfere

with your reading?

This concerns the war.

Bringing out a new medal.

"The Congressional Medal of Honor."

This ain't for you and me.

That's for generals.

Not our generals.

They won't even let us fight.

Mitchell would,

if they'd give him a chance.


All I know is I joined this army

to kill Johnny Rebs,

And so far, I ain't even seen one.

You've been lucky.

It's all right, Bill.

I know him.

Glad to see you, Mr. Andrews.

What's your regiment doing

this far south of Nashville?

General Buell moved outwith most of

the army to reinforce Grant.

There's a big fight shaping up

around Corinth.

I probably don't have to tell you.

I didn't know Buell was gone.

Who's in command here now?

General Mitchell. He's madder than

a wet hen to be left behind.

So were we.

- Why are you left behind?

- To guard Nashville.

It's nice to talk with you again, Corporal.

Mr. Andrews...

If you ever want help

on a Secret Service mission,

Don't forget the name Pittenger.

William Pittenger.

In all of East Tennessee,

there's no concentration

Of Confederate forces worth the mention.

The Southern army at Knoxville

is barely able to defend the city

- From Union General Morgan.

- What about Chattanooga?

Buell was certain a great army

was gathering there.

General Mitchell, there are only

2,000 raw recruits in Chattanooga,

And another 2,000 that aren't even armed!

Here we wait with 10,000 choice troops

under strict orders to guard Nashville.

If only I'd been given some latitude,

I'd march right into Chattanooga.

- Wouldn't that be defending Nashville?

- Yes, by George!

As long as I keep the enemy in front

of me, Nashville will be fully protected.

But I don't want Chattanooga

unless I can hold it.

It might be two weeks

before Buell could reinforce me.

Have you any idea how many men

The Confederates could bring

out of Atlanta against me?

15,000 at least.

That many?

Suppose we have a look, Andrews,

and see how matters stand.

Here's Lee, who has his hands full

in Virginia.

And here's Beauregard, who's bringing up

everything he's got to fight Grant at Shiloh.

And here's their east-west rail road,

All the way from Alexandria to Memphis,

With Chattanooga right

in the strategic center.

Here we are. So, if I moved

down here to Huntsville,

Captured the locomotives and flat cars,

and rode into Chattanooga,

All I'd have to fear would be

these forces out of Atlanta.

That's true, sir, but we're right back

where we started from.

They can move their soldiers

up the rail road from Atlanta

And drive you out of Chattanooga

in two days.

There are 11 rail road bridges

over the Chicamagua.

A man like you could lead a raiding party

and burn those bridges for me.

Why not?

I had a deal with General Buell

that when I brought this information,

I wouldn't go South anymore.

Soon as I complete this report,

I aim to enlist in the 21st Ohio.

You'd leave the Secret Service

to become a foot soldier?

Yes, sir. Maybe I won't be

any great shakes in the infantry,

But at least it wouldn't be

hiding under a cloak.

After just so long,

a man has to come out in the open.

Mr. Andrews, I wouldn't detail any man

on a duty of this kind against his will.

But consider what it might mean

to the Union.

Cut the Confederacy in two.

We could shorten the war by half,

maybe end it.

[Pittenger] I'd heard from Mr. Andrews

sooner than I expected.

[Pittenger] I'd heard from Mr. Andrews

sooner than I expected.

That night a score of adventurous men,

most from the 21st and 33rd Ohio Infantry,

Followed me to a meeting place

on a hillside.

[coyote howls]

- Good evening, gentlemen.

- [all] Good evening.

All here, Mr. Andrews.

Which are Brown and Knight?

Private Wilson Brown, Company F.

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Lawrence Edward Watkin

Lawrence Edward Watkin (December 9, 1901 – December 16, 1981) was an American writer and film producer. He has become known especially as a scriptwriter for a series of 1950s Walt Disney films. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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