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Tour of John Brown's Raid

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia


John Brown and his followers lived on a farm in Maryland where they prepared for the raid. The small house has been restored and furnished with figures representing John Brown and others.

two men

These figures help us imagine John Brown and one of his sons as they appeared in 1859.

On a Sunday night in October, Brown and his men cut the telegraph wires to Harpers Ferry and forced their way into the arsenal. His army consisted of sixteen white men and five black men.

bridgeThe picture at right is the railroad bridge connecting Harpers Ferry with Maryland. The first fatality of the raid was a railroad employee who was shot here by one of Brown's men. Ironically, the victim was a free black man, Heyward Shepherd.

Brown's hoped-for reinforcements never arrived. By noon on Tuesday, Brown was captured and the raid was over.

classThis is part of our group inside the firehouse which John Brown seized and used as a fort after being forced to retreat from the arsenal. Here he was captured and taken to Charles Town for trial.
houseThis house in Charles Town stands next to the location of the gallows where Brown was hung. No homes were there at that time, however.

NEXT: West Virginia Civil War Tour

Photos taken by Linda Javins Walcroft, Summer 1999

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