Aftermath of the John Brown Raid

During the days of October 16th through the 19th of 1859; John Brown and his followers attempted to attack and hold the US arsenal in Harpers ferry,Virginia. His followers included abolitionists and former slaves. They were eventually defeated by a company of US Marines led by first Lieutenant Isreal Greene.


John Brown was convicted of treason and sentenced to hanging. On December 2nd 1859 he wrote his last will and testament which included the following quote:

“I,John Brown, am quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done.”

John Wilkes Booth( yes THAT John Wilkes Booth!) was in attendance of the hanging. It is also interesting to note that this raid only freed five slaves. The mayor of Harpers Ferry, Mayor Beckham, had it in his will that upon his death his slaves would be freed. This included: Issac Gilbert, his wife and their three children. Mayor Beckham was killed during the raid.


The event that the Harpers Ferry National Park puts on takes place during the days that followed the raid and was held on October 13th and 14th of 2018. Many of the buildings in town are open and operated by interpreters for the weekend. During this event you can talk to townspeople expressing their opinions on the events of the day and the best location during this event to hear that was the tavern. During the course of the day they reenacted the capture of John Brown in the US arsenal building for the public.


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