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BROWN PREPARING TO STRIK E.
cation adapted to wool-growing, etc. ) were being gradually brought from After looking about Harper's Ferry Chambersburg, in well-secured boxes. for several days, they found, five or No meal was eaten on the farm, six miles from that village, a large while old Brown was there, until a farm, with three unoccupied houses, blessing had been asked upon it; and the owner, Dr. Booth Kennedy, hav- his Bible was in daily requisition. ing died the last Spring. These The night of the 24th of October houses they rented for a trifle until was originally fixed upon by Brown tlie next March, paying the rent in for the first blow against Slavery in advance, purchasing for cash a lot of Virginia, by the capture of the Fedehogs from the family, and agreeing ral Arsenal at Harper's Ferry; and to take care of the stock on the farm his biographer, Redpath, alleges that until it could be sold, which they many were on their way to be with faithfully did. After they had lived him on that occasion, when they were there a few weeks, attracting no ob- paralyzed by the intelligence that the servation, others joined them from blow had already been struck, and time to time, including two of had failed. The reason given for Brown's young daughters; and one this, by ones who was in his confiwould go and another come, without dence, is, that Brown, who had been exciting any particular remark. absent on a secret journey to the They paid cash for everything, were North, suspected that one of his party sociable and friendly with their neigh- was a traitor, and that he must strike bors, and seemed to pass their time prematurely, or not at all. But the mainly hunting in the mountains; women who had been with them at though it was afterward remembered the Kennedy farm—the wives or that they never brought home any daughters of one or another of the game. On one occasion, a neighbor party—had already been quietly sent remarked to the elder Mr. Smith away; and the singular complexion (as old Brown was called), that he
of their household had undoubtedly had observed twigs and branches begun to excite curiosity, if not bent down in a peculiar manner; alarm, among their neighbors. On which Smith explained by stating Saturday, the 15th, a council was that it was the habit of Indians, in held, and a plan of operations distraveling through a strange country,
cussed. On Sunday evening, another to mark their path thus, so as to be
council was held, and the programme able to find their way back. He had
of the chief unanimously approved.. no doubt, he said, that Indians passed
He closed it with these words : over these mountains, unknown to “And now, gentleinen, let me press this the inhabitants.
one thing on your minds. You all know
how dear life is to you, and how dear your Meantime, the greater number of
lives are to your friends; and, in rememberthe men kept out of sight during the ing that, consider that the lives of others. day, so as not to attract attention,
are as dear to them as yours are to you.
Do not, therefore, take the life of any one if while their arms, munitions, etc., you can possibly avoid it; but, if it is neces-
5 A certain "Col.” Hugh Forbes, an English | Kansas, afterward figured as a revealer of his : adventurer, and general dabbler in civil discord, secrets, or what were alleged to be such. He had. who had been with Brown in Iowa, if not in been disappointed in his pecuniary expectations.
sary to take life in order to save your own, | October 17th, seems to have been efthen make sure work of it.”
fected without creating alarm. They HARPER'S FERRY was then a village first rapidly extinguished the lights of some five thousand inhabitants, of the town; then took possession of lying on the Virginia side of the the Armory buildings, which were Potomac, and on either side of its only guarded by three watchmen, principal tributary, the Shenandoah, whom, without meeting resistance or which here enters it from the South. exciting alarm, they seized and locked Its site is a mere nest or cup among up in the guard-house. It is probable high, steep mountains; the passage that they were aided, or, at least, of the united rivers through the Blue guided, by friendly negroes belongRidge at this point having been pro- ing in the village. At half-past ten, nounced by Jefferson a spectacle the watchman at the Potomac bridge which one might well cross the At- was seized and secured. At midlantic to witness and enjoy. Here night, his successor, arriving, was the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad hailed by Brown's sentinels, but ran, crosses the Potomac; and the rich one shot being fired at him from the valley of the Shenandoah is traversed, bridge. He gave the alarm, but still for a considerable distance hence, by nothing stirred. At a quarter-past the Winchester and Harper's Ferry one, the western train arrived, and Railroad. Washington is fifty-seven its conductor found the bridge guardmiles distant by turnpike; Baltimore ed by armed men. He and others eighty miles by railroad. Modest as attempted to walk across, but were the village then was, space had been turned back by presented rifles. One with difficulty found for its habita- man, a negro, was shot in the back, tions, some of which were perched and died next morning. The passenupon ground four hundred feet above gers took refuge in the hotel, and rethe surface of the streams. One of mained there several hours; the conits very few streets was entirely occu- ductor properly refusing to pass the pied by the work-shops and offices | train over, though permitted, at three of the National Armory, and had o'clock, to do so. an iron railing across its entrance. A little after midnight, the house In the old Arsenal building, there of Col. Washington was visited by were usually stored from 100,000 to six of Brown's men under Capt. Ste200,000 stand of arms. The knowl- vens, who captured the Colonel, edge of this had doubtless determined seized his arms, horses, etc., and libethe point at which the first blow of rated his slaves. On their return, the liberators was to be struck. Stevens and party visited the house
The forces with which Brown made of Mr. Alstadtt and his son, whom his attack consisted of seventeen white they captured, and freed their slaves. and five colored men, though it is said These, with each male citizen as he that others who escaped assisted out- appeared in the street, were confined side, by cutting the telegraph wires in the Armory until they numbered and tearing up the railroad track. between forty and fifty. Brown inThe entrance of this petty army into formed his prisoners that they could Harper's Ferry on Sunday evening, I be liberated on condition of writing JOHN BROWN HOLDING HARPER'S FERRY.
as ransom. At daylight, the train dead, and another - Brown's son proceeded, Brown walking over the Watson-was mortally wounded. bridge with the conductor. When- Still, throughout the forenoon, the ever any one asked the object of their liberators remained masters of the captors, the uniform answer was, “To town. There were shots fired from free the slaves;" and when one of the one side or the other at intervals, but workmen, seeing an armed guard at no more casualties reported. The the Arsenal gate, asked by what au- prisoners were by turns permitted to thority they had taken possession of visit their families under guard, to the public property, he was answered, give assurance that they still lived 6 By the authority of God Almighty!" and were kindly treated. Had
The passenger train that sped east- Brown chosen to fly to the mounward from Harper's Ferry, by Brown's tains with his few followers, he might permission, in the early morning of still have done so, though with a Monday, October 17th, left that place much slenderer chance of impunity completely in the military possession than if he had, according to his oriof the insurrectionists. They held, ginal plan, decamped at midnight, without dispute, the Arsenal, with with such arms and ammunition as its offices, workshops, and grounds. he could bear away. Why he linTheir sentinels stood on guard at the gered, to brave inevitable destrucbridges and principal corners, and tion, is not certain; but it may fairly were seen walking up and down the be presumed that he had private asstreets. Every workman, who igno- surances that the negroes of the surrantly approached the Armory, as rounding country would rise at the day dawned, was seized and impri- first tidings of his movement, and soned, with all other white males come flocking to his standard; and who seemed capable of making any he chose to court the desperate trouble. By eight o'clock, the num- chances of remaining where arms ber of prisoners had been swelled to and ammunition for all could abundsixty-odd, and the work was still pro- antly be had. True, he afterward ceeding.
said that he had arms enough alreaBut it was no longer entirely one- dy, either on or about his premises ; sided. The white Virginians, who but, if so, why seize Harper's Ferry had arms, and who remained unmo- at all? lested in their houses, prepared to At all events, if his doom was aluse them. Soon after daybreak, as ready sealed, his delay at least hasBrown's guards were bringing two tened it. Half an hour after noon, citizens to a halt, they were fired on a militia force, one hundred strong, by a man named Turner, and, direct- arrived from Charlestown, the county ly afterward, by a grocer named seat, and were rapidly disposed so as Boerly, who was instantly killed by to command every available exit from the return fire. Several Virginians the place. In taking the Shenandoah soon obtained possession of a room bridge, they killed one of the insuroverlooking the Armory gates, and gents, and captured William Thompfired thence at the sentinels who son, a neighbor of Brown at Elba,
unwounded. The rifle-works were followers from Kansas, was sent out next attacked, and speedily carried, with a flag of truce to call a parley, being defended by five insurgents but was instantly shot down by the only. These attempted to cross the Virginians, receiving six balls in his river, and four of them succeeded in person. Thompson, their prisoner, reaching a rock in the middle of it, was attacked by scores of them in whence they fought with two hun- the parlor where he was confined, dred Virginians, who lined either but saved for the moment by a young bank, until two of them were dead, lady throwing herself between him and a third mortally wounded, when and their presented rifles, because, as the fourth surrendered. Kagi, she afterward explained, she “did Brown's Secretary of War, was one not want the carpet spoiled." He of the killed. William H. Leeman, was dragged out to the bridge, there one of Brown's captains, being pur- shot in cold blood, and his body ridsued by scores, plunged into the dled with balls at the base of the river, a Virginian wading after him. pier, whither he had fallen forty feet Leeman turned round, threw up his from the bridge. empty hands, and cried, “Don't By this time, more militia had arshoot!” The Virginian fired his pis- rived from every quarter, and a party tol directly in the youth's face--he from Martinsburgh, led by a railroad was but twenty-two-and shattered conductor, attacked the Armory his head into fragments.
buildings in the rear, while a detachBy this time, all the houses around ment of the same force assailed them the Armory buildings were held by in front. Brown, seeing that his asthe Virginians. Capt. Turner, who sailants were in overwhelming force, had fired the first shot in the morn- retreated to the engine-house, where ing, was killed by the sentinel at the he repulsed his assailants, who lost Arsenal gate, as he was raising his two killed and six wounded. rifle to fire. Here Dangerfield New Still, militia continued to pour in; by, a Virginia slave, and Jim, one of the telegraph and railroad having Col. Washington's negroes, with a free been completely repaired, so that the negro, who had lived. on Washing Government at Washington, Gov. ton's estate, were shot dead; and Wise at Richmond, and the authoriOliver Brown, another of the old ties at Baltimore, were in immediate man's sons, being hit by a ball, came communication with Harper's Ferry, inside of the gate, as his brother and hurrying forward troops from all Watson had done, lay quietly down quarters to overwhelm the remaining without a word, and in a few mo- handful of insurgents, whom terror ments was dead. Mr. Beckham, and rumor had multiplied to twenty mayor of the town, who came within times their actual number. At five, range of the insurgents' rifles as they P. M., Capt. Simms arrived, with were exchanging volleys with the militia from Maryland, and completVirginians, was likewise killed. ed the investment of the Armory
At the suggestion of Mr. Kitzmil- | buildings, whence eighteen prisoners ler, one of Brown's prisoners, Aaron had already been liberated upon the D. Stevens, one of his most trusted retreat of Brown to the engine-house.
DEFEAT AND CAPTURE OF BROWN.
Col. Baylor commanded in chief. their loss—they had died in a good The firing ceased at nightfall. Brown cause. offered to liberate his prisoners, upon At seven in the morning, after a condition that his men should be parley which resulted in nothing, the permitted to cross the bridge in safe marines advanced to the assault, ty, which was refused. Night found broke in the door of the engineBrown's forces reduced to three un- house by using a ladder as a batterwounded whites beside himself, with ing-ram, and rushed into the buildperhaps half a dozen negroes from ing. One of the defenders was shot the vicinity. Eight of the insurgents and two marines wounded; but the were already dead; another lay odds were too great; in an instant, dying beside the survivors; two | all resistance was over. Brown was were captives mortally wounded, and struck in the face with a saber and one other unhurt. Around the few knocked down, after which the blow survivors were fifteen hundred arm- was several times repeated, while a ed, infuriated foes. Half a dozen of soldier ran a bayonet twice into the the party, who had been sent out at old man's body. All the insurgents, early morning by Brown to capture it was said, would have been killed slaveholders, and liberate slaves, were on the spot, had the Virginians been absent, and unable, even if willing, able to distinguish them with certo rejoin their chief. They fled dur- tainty from their prisoners. ing the night to Maryland and Penn- Of course, all Virginia, including sylvania; but most of them were ul- her Governor, rushed to Harper's timately captured. During that Ferry upon learning that all was night, Col. Lee, with ninety United over, and the insurrection completely States marines and two pieces of suppressed. The bleeding survivors artillery, arrived, and took possession were subjected to an alternation of of the Armory guard, very close to queries and execrations, which they the engine-house.
met bravely, as they had confronted Brown, of course, remained awake the bullets of their numerous and and alert through the night, discom- ever-increasing foes. They answered fited and beyond earthly hope, but frankly, save where their replies perfectly cool and calm. Said Gov. might possibly compromise persons Wise, in a speech at Richmond soon still at liberty; and none of them after:
sought to conceal the fact that they “Col. Washington said that Brown was had struck for Universal Freedom at the coolest man he ever saw in defying death all hazards. The bearing of Brown and danger. With one son dead by his side, and another shot through, he felt the pulse
was especially praised by his eneof his dying son with one hand, held his rifle mies (many of whom have since won with the other, and commanded his men
notoriety in the ranks of the Rewith the utmost composure, encouraging them to be firm, and to sell their lives as
bellion), as remarkably simple and dearly as possible.”
noble. Among others, Mr. C. L. Conversing with Col. Washington Vallandigham, of Ohio, hastened to during that solemn night, he said he visit and catechise Brown, in the had not pressed his sons to join him hope of making political capital out in this expedition, but did not regret / of his confessions, and was answered