The Great Locomotive Chase

Factual error: The opening scene of the movie shows William Pittenger receiving the first ever Congressional Medal of Honor, but in fact he was the fifth recipient.

Larry Redfield

Factual error: As was the case in Buster Keaton's "The General" film, the General locomotive portrayed in the film more closely resembles the actual locomotive's 1893 appearance rather than its wartime appearance. As built, the General had three domes, an ankle bar on each side running the length of the engine, as well as the Western and Atlantic Railroad's then trademark strap-iron cowcatchers with horizontal slats. The engine was rebuilt in the 1870s, with the bars and third dome removed, and cowcatcher changed to the more conventional design seen in the film. The Radley Hunter Balloon stack the engine had was replaced with a diamond shaped one at this time, as the engine was converted to coal. The engine received a stack more closely resembling its original one in 1893.

Factual error: The Yonah in the film, portrayed by a 1920's-built replica of an 1830's vintage engine with a 4-2-0 wheel arrangement, is significantly different from the actual engine. The real life Yonah, built in 1849, had a 4-4-0 wheel arrangement just as the General and Texas engines. Also, the Yonah had a cowcatcher, a headlight, and sand box, all of which the engine in the film lacks.

jayo
More mistakes in The Great Locomotive Chase

William Campbell: What do we tell the Johnny Rebs when they ask who we are and where we're from?
James J. Andrews: Tell them you're Kentuckians escaping the rule of the Yankees to join a Southern Regiment. If they press you closely, tell 'em you hail from Fleming County, Kentucky. I'm from Flemingsburg myself. No man from that county has ever joined the Southern army... As for you, Mr. Buffum, it might be wiser if you didn't speak at all. I never met a Kentuckian so plainly from Massachusetts.

William Campbell: Do we have to be better Southerners than the Johnny Rebs themselves?
James J. Andrews: I went through pretty far tonight. Let me tell you this: If you can't drink their toasts and sing their songs, love Jeff Davis and hate Abe Lincoln by next Friday, you'll never reach Marietta.

William Pittenger: Mr. Andrews. If you ever want any help on a Secret Service mission, don't forget the name of Pittenger: William Pittenger.

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