The engine was likely used for both freight and passenger service for the Western and Atlantic. The Yonah was an example of an early 4-4-0 design, featuring a Haycock firebox design and having its pilot wheels closely spaced with the cylinder placed above at an angle. Thus, the engine was likely relegated to yard service as early as the late 1850s, as the railroad had acquired larger, more powerful locomotives such as the The General and the The Texas. During the Civil War, the Western and Atlantic had leased the Yonah to the Cooper Iron Works, which operated a short spur to their foundry from a junction at Etowah, Georgia. On April 12, 1862, ''The General'' was commandeered by Northerners led by James J. Andrews at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw, Georgia), and passed the Yonah at Etowah as it traveled north towards Chattanooga.
The Yonah was about to make its morning run to the Cooper Works when William Allen Fuller, the conductor whose train had been stolen at Big Shanty, arrived at Etowah. Fuller assumed control of the Yonah, and drove the engine in full steam northward for fifteen miles, arriving in Kingston, Georgia Here, Fuller left the Yonah and continued north aboard the Rome Railroad's locomotive, the ''William R. Smith.''
After the war, the Yonah is believed to have returned to Atlanta, where it was converted into a stationary boiler for the railroad's shop facilities and was scrapped in 1873.