Helped capture engine ‘General.’ from Richmond, Va., Times-dispatch, December 29, 1909.Anthony Murphy, had part in wild race during Civil war.
His exploit one of famous incidents of conflict between States.
Atlanta, Ga., December 28, 1909.Anthony Murphy, aged eighty years, a pioneer citizen of the South and one of the two men who pursued and captured the famous engine, ‘General,’ when the latter had been seized and carried off from Marietta, Ga., by Federal raiders during the Civil War, died here to-day. Murphy was born in Ireland, and came to this country when twenty-six years old. He became one of the constructors of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, but when the war broke out entered the Confederate service, and, owing to his skill in mechanics, was assigned by Governor Brown, father of the present Governor, to assemble men to make guns. On April 12, 1862, the Federal secret service arranged to seize a train at Marietta, cut off the engine, run it from Big Shanty, Ga., to Chattanooga, Tenn., burning bridges and cutting wires between the two places, and thus cutting the Confederate line of communications. The plan was carried out almost successfully. The Federal officers boarded the train at Marietta, and while the passengers and crew were at breakfast at Big Shanty, seven miles north of Marietta, cut off the engine and started on a mad race of destruction. The action of the Federal party, who posed as Southern refugees anxious to join the Confederate army, aroused the suspicion of Mr. Murphy, who was then foreman of the Western  and Atlantic round-house at Big Shanty. When the ‘General’ started on its wild race, Murphy and two others started on foot in pursuit, seized a handcar later, ran it to Etowah, Ga., where the engine ‘Texas’ was taken. For fifty-one miles the race continued to Ringgold, Ga., where the ‘General’ was captured as the men in charged attempted to burn a bridge. Several of the Federal officers were summarily executed. But the plan of the Union forces to cut the Confederate communications was defeated. Although the engines were of a crude type, most of the race was made at the rate of sixty miles an hour. Murphy was the engineer, and Jeff Cain the train engineer and Captain Fuller, the conductor, fired for him. The war left Murphy penniless, but he set to work again cheerfully, and when he died had amassed a fortune of half a million dollars in the saw-mill and lumber business.