Daring and Suffering

by William Pittinger

FULL TITLE: Daring and Suffering: A History of the Andrews Railroad Raid

Pittenger was a member of the Civil War raider group led by James J. Andrews on probably the most audaciously daring raid by either side during the Civil War. The great Andrews raid involved stealing a Confederate train and trying to take it back to Union lines. The goal was to destroy the tracks and bridges as they went, thus disrupting the Confederate supply lines and hastening the end of the war. The raid was thwarted by the fact that the train engineer chased the raiders, first using a hand cart for almost 20 miles, then with a small yard engine, the "Yonah", and finally with "Texas" running backwards for the last 60 miles. Today the "General" is on display in Kennesaw, GA and the "Texas" is at the Atlanta History Center.

Daring and Suffering was written during the latter part of the war, and not only includes the raid itself, but the author's experiences both on the way to the raid, and later as a prisoner following his capture. There is also mention of the execution of seven members of the raiding party, including James Andrews, the leader.

As a first-person account, Daring and Suffering is doubtlessly the most correct account we will ever have of this amazing event. Beyond describing the bold-as-brass raid and subsequent incredible chase, Pittenger gives us an excellent glimpse of the “everyday” people and conditions in 1863 in Georgia.

- For more than a century William Pittenger's Daring and Suffering has been the premier account of the great locomotive chase by a participant. Dramatic, perceptive, and undeniably authentic, it gives us our best window on the daring adventure that helped to define heroism for the Union, and that left America with an award for supreme valor that is with us still. -- William C. Davis, Civil War historian and biographer

- This story was made into a movie at least twice, the first being the silent film "The General," starring Buster Keaton, and a later version , "The Great Train Robbery," by Walt Disney.

- From our perspective, 150 years later, Pittenger's book has some flaws. The Union soldiers are, almost exclusively, brave, stoic warriors who endure hardship and death with manly fortitude. The Confederates, for the most part, are drunken, illiterate,cruel louts, the only good ones being those who secretly profess no interest in who wins the war. The portraits are so consistent that one suspects there is more of parody here than portrait. It must be kept in mind, also, that this book was published in 1863, shortly after Pittenger's release, so he did not have answers to some of the questions that come to mind as you read: why were some of the Raiders executed, and so abruptly, and not the others? Why was their exchange delayed for months after arrival in Richmond? Why were they so ill prepared?

- Much grittier, and none of the romance of the movie versions, just a great first-person historical account.

- It was all the deepest laid scheme, and on the grandest scale, that ever emanated from the brains of any number of Yankees combined. -- The Atlanta Southern Confederacy

- The enterprise was the most daring ever conceived and was carried out with equal courage though ill-fated as to results. -- The Chicago Times

- This is a narrative of one of the wildest and most thrilling adventures of the war. -- Grand Army Review

WILLIAM PITTENGER (1840-1904) was a corporal in the Second Ohio Infantry when he volunteered for the Andrews raid. He became a minister after the war, and he and his wife, Winnie, had six children and eventually settled in Fullbrook, California.

Pittenger was awarded the fifth ever Medal of Honor on March 25, 1863, for his service. His official citation reads: "One of the 19 of 22 men (including 2 civilians) who, by direction of Gen. Mitchell (or Buell), penetrated nearly 200 miles south into enemy territory and captured a railroad train at Big Shanty, Ga., in an attempt to destroy the bridges and tract between Chattanooga and Atlanta.

The editors at Time-Life chose this book as one of the volumes of the Collector's Library of the Civil War. It is available in a leather-bound edition with gilded gold edges and also in paperback and digital formats. Daring and Suffering is included as one of the volumes on the DVD of our Collector's Library set.

Time Life Collector's Library

MS 6th Infantry Battalion

MS 18th Infantry Regiment
MS 19th Infantry Regiment