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The events of john browns raid on the federal armory at harpers ferry virginia

Brown detached a party under John Cook Jr. Brown's men needed to capture the weapons and escape before word could be sent to Washington. The raid was going well for Brown's men.

John Brown's Harpers Ferry Raid

A free black man was the first casualty of the raid. Hayward Shepherdan African-American baggage handler on the train, confronted the raiders; they shot and killed him. Brown had been sure that he would win the support of local slaves in joining the rebellion, but a massive uprising did not occur, because word had not been spread about the uprising, so the slaves nearby did not know about it. Although the white townspeople soon began to fight back against the raiders, Brown's men succeeded in capturing the armory that evening.

October 17[ edit ] Army workers discovered Brown's men early on the morning of October 17. Local militia, farmers and shopkeepers surrounded the armory. When a company of militia captured the bridge across the Potomac Riverany route of escape for the raiders was cut off. During the day, four townspeople were killed, including the mayor.

Realizing his escape was cut, Brown took nine of his captives and moved into the smaller engine house, which would come to be known as John Brown's Fort. The raiders blocked entry of the windows and doors and traded sporadic gunfire with surrounding forces. At one point Brown sent out his son, Watson, and Aaron Dwight Stevens with a white flag, but Watson was mortally wounded and Stevens was shot and captured.

The raid was rapidly failing. One of Brown's men, William H. Leeman, panicked and made an attempt to flee by swimming across the Potomac River, but he was shot and fatally injured while doing so. During the intermittent shooting, Brown's other son, Oliver, was also hit; he died after a brief period. Alburtis arrived by train from Martinsburg, Virginia. The militia forced the raiders inside the engine house. They broke into the guardroom and freed over two dozen prisoners.

Eight militiamen were wounded. Alburtis said that he could have ended the raid with help from other citizens. Marines the only government troops in the immediate area to march on Harpers Ferry under the command of Brevet Colonel Robert E. Leelieutenant colonel of the 2nd U.

Lee had been on leave from his regiment, stationed in Texas, when he was hastily called to lead the detachment and had to command it while wearing his civilian clothes. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. October 2017 Learn how and when to remove this template message Lee first offered the role of attacking the engine house to the local militia units on the spot.

Both militia commanders declined, and Lee turned to the Marines.

  1. The Armory and Arsenal at Harpers Ferry employed 400 men who manufactured rifles and other mechanized arms for the U. Like many restless 19th-century Americans, Brown tried many professions, failing at some and succeeding modestly at others.
  2. The name of the presiding over the trial was Judge Andrew Parker. Attacking the arsenal was in effect attacking the federal government and, in Douglass' estimation, a grave mistake.
  3. John Brown and his followers had their escape route cut off by the militia who surrounded the Armory and Arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Stuart and their men to storm the engine house.
  4. Lee arrived from Washington to arrest Brown. They killed five men with broad swords and triggered a summer of guerilla warfare in the troubled territory.
  5. They dragged him onto the railroad trestle, shot him in the head as he begged for his life and tossed him over the railing into the Potomac.

On the morning of October 18, Colonel Lee sent Lt. Stuartserving as a volunteer aide-de-campunder a white flag of truce to negotiate a surrender of John Brown and his followers. Colonel Lee informed Lt. Israel Greene that if Brown did not surrender, he was to direct the Marines in attacking the engine house. Stuart walked towards the front of the engine house where he told Brown that his men would be spared if they surrendered. Brown refused and as Stuart walked away, he signaled a "thumbs down" to Lt.

Greene and his men standing nearby.

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Soon after, Greene led a detachment of Marines to attack the engine house. Marines equipped with sledgehammers tried to break through the door, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Greene found a wooden ladder, and he and about 10 Marines used it as a battering ram to force the front doors open. Greene was the first through the door and with the assistance of Lewis Washingtonidentified and singled out John Brown.

Greene later recounted what events occurred next: Quicker than thought I brought my saber down with all my strength upon [Brown's] head. He was moving as the blow fell, and I suppose I did not strike him where I intended, for he received a deep saber cut in the back of the neck.

  • The election of Abraham Lincoln became unthinkable to many in the south;
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  • With the sword's hilt, Green then hammered Brown's skull until he passed out.

He fell senseless on his side, then rolled over on his back. He had in his hand a short Sharpe's cavalry carbine. I think he had just fired as I reached Colonel Washington, for the Marine who followed me into the aperture made by the ladder received a bullet in the abdomen, from which he died in a few minutes. The shot might have been fired by someone else in the insurgent party, but I think it was from Brown.

Instinctively as Brown fell I gave him a saber thrust in the left breast.

John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry

The sword I carried was a light uniform weapon, and, either not having a point or striking something hard in Brown's accouterments, did not penetrate. The blade bent double.

John Brown’s Day of Reckoning

October 19[ edit ] Robert E. Lee made a synopsis of the events that took place at Harpers Ferry. According to Lee's notes, Lee believed John Brown was a madman, ".