“John Brown’s Raid” with Dennis FryeVisit Website
Who was John Brown? Was he a martyr or a madman, a saint or the devil, a terrorist or a freedom fighter? Few individuals have stirred Americans like John Brown. In October 1859, he launched an attack on Harpers Ferry in an attempt to start a war to end slavery. Although Brown’s effort failed, did he fail? Did Brown’s soul go marching on? Harpers Ferry, VA, was Brown’s target because it was where the U.S. Arsenal stored 100,000 rifles and muskets. Brown and 18 soldiers successfully seized the unprotected government arsenal without a shot. However, Virginia militia entrapped Brown in the town 12 hours later, and U.S. Marines arrived to end the affair.
Under the temporary command of Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee, Marines captured Brown 36 hours after he launched his war. Brown was then tried at the county seat of Charles Town and found guilty of murder, treason, and inciting slave rebellion. Six weeks after his capture, Brown was executed on the scaffold. Before his execution, Brown handed his jailer his final note. “I, John Brown, am not quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away, but with blood.” Sixteen months later, the Civil War commenced, resulting in nearly 750,000 Americans’ deaths and the freedom of four million African Americans. Make sure to join Dennis Frye at ACWM-Tredegar as he discusses the Harper’s Ferry raid and John Brown’s legacy’s powerful and lasting impact.
Dennis E. Frye was the Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park for 20 years. Dennis is acclaimed for challenging conventional history and his provocative books, lectures, and tours.