John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry

On this day in history–October 16, 1859–John Brown led a raid on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. His goal was to seize weapons and ammunition and arm slaves for a revolt against their slaveholders. Thirty-six hours after the raid began, troops led by Colonel Robert E. Lee stormed the house where Brown and his men were holed up, captured them, and turned them over to Virginia authorities for trial. He was tried, sentenced to death for treason, and hanged on December 9. When the Civil War began on 1861, Union soldiers sang “John Brown’s Body” (also known as … Continue reading John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry