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Full text of "The life, trial, and conviction of Captain John Brown, known as "Old Brown of Ossawatomie," with a full account of the attempted insurrection at Harper's Ferry"

Price Twenty-Five Cents. 



THE 



LIFE, TRIAL AND CONVICTION 



OF 



OAPT. JOHN BROWN 




BEIKG A FULL ACCOUNT OF TUV A^iTF:\rPTED 

INSURRECTION AT HARPER'S FERRY, VA. 

NEW YORK : 
EOBEET M. DE WITT, PUBLISHER, 

IGO & 162 NASSAU STREET. 



W. H. TI^50K, VrL.Ul!^ai Stcrcotji.ir, Hr-nr cf i'^ t i5 Ciz.:.e St., N.l'. 



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CHESS CELEBRITIES OF EITROPE. 

Edited, with copious and raJnaWe Nofea, 

BY CHARLES HENRY STANLEY, 

-Author of *"J?}ie Cli e s s-I* 1 a y e r' s 1 n » t r^a et or." 

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BY CHARLES HENRY STANLEY, 

CHESS EDITOR OF " HABPER'S TTEEKLY." 



The aboTe Books are splendidly got up, and borand in flexible muslin — their price places 
them within the reach of all. 

It^* Copies mailed, postage paid, on receipt of price. .„^1 
ROBERT M. DE WITT, PUBLISHER, 

160 and 162 Nassau Street, New York. 



W. H. TiKaoN, Priutor and Ster-otyper, 4i & 45 Caatn SU M.Y. 




ft r me 



LIFE, TRIAL AND CONVICTION 




J_ 






KNOWN AS 



'OLD BROWN OF OSSAWATOMIE," 

WITH A FULL ACCOUNT OF THE ATTEMPTED 

mSUEKECTIOW AT HARPER'S FERRY. 

COMPILED FROM OFFICIAL AND AUTHENTIC SOURCES. ' 



NEW YORK 



ROBERT M. DE WITT, PUBLISHER 

160 & 162 NASSAU STREET. ' 






Fntsred according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S59, by 

ROBERT M. DE WITT, 

In the Clerk's Office of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. 



W. H. Ti.vsoN, Stereotjiwr. Geo. Russell & Co., I'liuieri 



fe 



THE 



LIFE, TPJAL AND CONVICTIOI^ 



OF 



CAPTAIN JOHN BROWN. 



The extraordinary outbreak at Harper's Ferry, in Virginia, on the night of the 
16th of October, 1859, the forcible seizure of the national Arsenal, the capture, 
imprisonment and killing of the people, and the almost immediate suppression and 
exterminatiofi of the insurgents, are events of historical importance. The madness 
of the attempt, the boldness — amounting to heroism — of the handful of men who 
'were concerned in the movement, and especially the romantic history and personal 
character of the chief actor, have awakened in the public mind an ardent desire to 
know more of the man and his intentions. To gratify this desire, as well as to 
record, in convenient form, the facts concerning the outbreak and its suppression, 
with the trial of the leader, John Brown, we have compiled the following pages, 
aiming only to state the truth in all respects, according to the best sources of 
information. 



CAPT. JOHN BROWN. 

John Brown — variously known as " Old Brown," " Fighting Brown," and " Ossa- 
watomie Brown". — made his first public appearance in Lykins County, Kansas, in the 
year 1855. So strange a career as his has not arrested the public attention since Joe 
Smith was shot in the Carthage jail. His rank among the world's notabilities will 
be among such fanatics as Peter the Hermit, who believed himself commissioned of 
God to redeem the Holy Sepulchre from the hands of the infidels — Joanna South- 
cote, who deemed herself big with the promised Shiloh — Ignatius Loyola, who 
thought that the Son of Man appeared to him, bearing his cross on his shoulders, 
and gave him a Latin commission of mighty import — or Don Quixote, who was 

T 



8 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 

porsuadcd that he had a mission to rescue all the persecuted damsels in Spain. It 
was Brown's idea that he was divinely appointed to bring American Slavery to a 
sudden and violent end. 



HIS PERSONAL APPEARANCE 

John Brown would not strike one who saw him as being a very tall man. He 
stooped somewhat as he walked ; was rather narrow-shouldered. Went looking on 
the ground almost all the time, with his head bent forward apparently in study or 
thought. Walked rather rapidly, and very energetically. His features were very 
sharp, nose prominent, eyes were black or very dark grey. His hair was quite 
light, and he wore it rather long about the time of the skirmish at Lawrence. He 
wore a coarse, homespun kind of clothing, and was usually very unpresuming in his 
appearance and dress. He seemed to be rather taciturn in his habits, and was a 
sort of meteoric character, appearing very unexpectedly now at one place, and then 
at another, so that it could never be known where he was to be found. His ap- 
pearances and disappearances were always sudden, and in a decided manner. He 
seemed to be ever on the alert. When he spoke, it was generally in short and pre- 
cise sentences, energetically exiDressed, and to the point. When walking, he would 
not look to the right or left (unless in danger), but seemed to be deeply engaged 
upon something in his own mind. 

From another gentleman, who knew him well, we have the follqwing personal 
portrait : 

In stature, Mr. Brown was nearly six feet high. He was slim, wiry, dark in 
complexion, sharp in feature, but with remarkable firmness expressed in his face. 
His eye was sharp, penetrating, and steady. Few men could look him steadily in 
the eye more than a breath. His hair was dark, and, two years since, was deeply 
sprinkled with grey. His brow was prominent, the centre of the forehead flat, the 
upper part of the forehead retreating, which gave, in conjunction with his slightly 
Roman nose, an interesting and reckless appearance. At the crown of his head, he 
was remarkably high, in the regions of the phrenological organs of firmness, con- 
scientiousness, and self-esteem, indicating a stern will, unswerving integrity, and 
remarkable self-possession. The whole family of Browns, the brothers of the man 
of Harper's Ferry, are of similar build and general characteristics. Whoever 
can get the promise of a Brown of that breed, considers himself secure. 



JOHN BROWN'S BUSINESS ENGAGEMENTS. 

There are various statements as to the place of John Brown's nativity. It has 
been asserted that he was born at Torrington, Litchfield County, Connecticut ; but 
in one of his answers to parties in Virginia, he stated that he was born iu the State 
of New York. 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 9 

Previous to 1837, he was considered one of the most enterprising business men 
in Northern Ohio, and built warehouses, and engaged in business on tlie Canal and 
Cuyahoga River at Franklin Mills, six miles west of Ravenna, in Porlage County. 
The crash of 183*1 made him a bankrupt. The great warehouses were standing 
there empty in 1850, while his sou stood with our informant on the bank of the 
river, and gave this sad fragment of the history of his father's fortune. 

In 1848, we find him in a large woollen warehouse in Springfield, Massachusetts, 
where he was known as a quiet, modest man, of unswerving integrity. Indeed, 
hundreds of wool-growers in Northern Ohio consigned their stock to him to be sold 
at discretion. A combination of eastern manufacturers, who wished to have no 
such stern and unflinching man between themselves and the wool-growers, formed 
in league against him, and forced him to send his wool to Europe for a market, 
which resulted in a second disaster, and Brown was again reduced to poverty. 



JOHN BROWN AS A FARMER. 

Immediately after this failure, he made his appearance as a farmer or cattle 
breeder in North Elba, one of the interior and most secluded towns of Essex 
County, and verging upon the vast wilderness of northern New York. The 
humble farm of Brown is situated on an elevated and broad plateau, embosomed in 
the giant arms of the Adirondacs, No district of the State is more impressive by 
the grandeur of its physical features, or its exquisite natural beauties. The town 
is separated from the outer world by a barrier of dark and lofty mountains. 
Althougli embracing a territory equal to that of some counties, its population does 
not exceed four hundred souls. 

North Elba was the scene of Gerrit Smith's abortive attempts at negro coloniza- 
tion. The scheme may have been suggested by sincere philanthropy, but its issue 
was an utter failure, entailing upon the author disappointment, and sorrow and 
suffering on the recipients of his bounty. Scarcely a vestige now remains of this 
colony, although at one time so numerous that it seemed probable the anomalous 
political aspect would be exhibited of a town in New York controlled by neo-ro 
suffrages, and represented in the County Board by a colored supervisors. Only two 
or three of the colonists remain. They have either abandoned their farms, or the 
lands have been sold for taxes. Nothing remains of this vaunted city of refuge. 
Brown made his appearance in North Elba, near the advent of this negro emi- 
gration. 

At the Agricultural Fair of Essex County, for 1850, a great sensation was 
created by the unlooked-for appearance on the grounds of a beautiful herd of 
Devon cattle. They were the first that had been exhibited at the county festival, 
and every one was surprised and delighted by the incident. The inquiry was uni- 
versal, whose are these cattle, and from whence do they come ? The surprise and 
excitement was not diminished, when it was understood that a certain John Brown 



10 THE HARPER'S FERRY IITSURRECTION. 

was the owner, and that he resided in the town of North Elba. The Report of 
the Society for that year contains the following reference to this event : " The 
appearance upon the grounds of a number of very choice and beautiful Devons, 
from the l>erd of Mr. John Brown, residing in one of our most remote and secluded 
towns, attracted great attention, and added much to the interest of the Fair. The 
interest and admiration they excited have attracted public attention to the subject, 
and lias already resulted in the introduction of several choice animals into this 
region. We have no doubt but that this influence upon the character of the stock 
of our county will be permanent and decisive." 

A gentleman who soon after opened a correspondence with Brown in relation to 
these cattle, states that his reply is written in a strong and vigorous hand, — and 
by its orthography, accurate punctuation, and careful arrangement of paragraphs, 
evinces far more than ordinary taste and scholarship. It is remarkable, not only 
for the force and precision of the language, for a business letter, and for the dis- 
tinctness of its statement, but equally for its sound sense and honesty of represen- 
tation. An extract will interest our readers, as illustrating the former habits and 
pursuits of a man who has impressed an ill-omened episode upon our national history. 

" Your favor of the 30th of September came on seasonably ; but it was during 
my absence in Ohio, so that I could not reply sooner. In the first place, none of 
my cattle are pure Devons ; but are a mixture of that, and a particular favorite 
stock from Connecticut, a cross of which I much prefer to any pure English cattle, 

after many years' experience of different breeds of imported stock 

I was several months in England last season, and saw no one stock on any farm 
that would average better than ray own, and would like to have you see them all 
together." 

Such were the habits and tastes of the man, while engaged in the pursuits of 
husbandry. What a contrast is presented, by the intelligence and zeal here dis- 
played in a worthy and useful occupation, which was leading him along the .pleasant 
paths of peace, contentment, and prosperity, to the career of violence to which he 
has since been impelled, less perhaps by his own insane fanaticism, than by stimu- 
lations applied by others to his ardent and fearless temperament. The natural 
impulses of Brown, those who knew him will afiSrm, were honorable and just, and 
his education and abilities of a superior order ; but his mind has been distorted 
and his passions inflamed by a mad delusion. 

Brown was at North Elba during a large part of the last summer, engaged every- 
where disseminating his opinions. The small remnant of his family which has 
escaped his fatal schemes, still remains on the farm at that place, clustering around 
the hearth that has become so fearfully bereaved and desolated. 



JOHN BROWN IN KANSAS. 

It was in this new territory that John Brown first appeared as a military man, 
although we have seen a statement that he was iu the service at Plattsburgh or 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 11 

Ogdensburgh during the war of 1812. Brown appeared ia Kansas in 1855, and 
settled in the Osage country. He was a decided Anti-Slavery man — a religious 
enthusiast, a rigid Presbyterian — correct and conscientious in all his relations and 
conduct, and modest and unassuming in his manners. At the same time he was a 
man of iron will, of untiring energy and of unbounded nerve. All who know him 
are impressed with the belief that he never knew fear, and that no man ever lived 
who excelled him in cool and daring intrepidity. In all his affrays in Kansas he 
embarked in the most dangerous and apparently desperate enterprises, and encoun- 
tered the greatest odds with a cool self-possession and an unbounded confidence 
in his own success. He was made the object of the most active persecutions of 
the Missourians, and all the bitterness and stern determination of his nature were 
stirred up from their very depths in retaliation. One of his sons (Frederick) was 
met alone on the road by a large party of invading Missourians, and cruelly, 
brutally murdered without a cause. Another son (John) was, for no cause but his 
political opinions, loaded with chains and driven on foot before the horses of his 
captors from Ossawatomie to Tecumseh, under such circumstances of cruelty as to 
destroy his reason. His own house and the house of his son were both fired and 
destroyed. The women of the family were grossly insulted, and a Committee, ap- 
pointed at a public meeting, notified Brown and other Free-State men on Potawat- 
omie Creek, that if they did not leave the Territory in three days they would be 
hung. His friends and neighbors were murdered around him ; he was forced into 
a war of self-defence, and finally a price was publicly set on his head. The effect 
of these things, in connection with all the other outrage, oppression and murder 
perpetrated around him, upon a man of Brown's temperament, 'may be conceived. 
He became a fighting man, and developed qualities that excited the admiration and 
surprise of his friends, and made him the terror of his enemies. Though remorse- 
less and relentless as death itself, he did everything under a sense of duty and high 
religious excitement. The more fervent his prayers, the harder fell his blows, and 
the more signal and bloody his victories, the more heartily did he return thanks to 
the Lord after the fight was over. 

A Committee of five called on him on one occasion, and informed him that he 
must leave the Territory in three days or die — that they would come to his house 
with a sufficient force at the end of that time, and if they found him still there, 
they would hang him. The old man thanked them for- the notice, saying, very 
coolly, " Ybtt will not find me here then, gentlemen." Before the next sun rose, the 
five members of that Committee were in the other world. Whether Brown killed 
them or not, is unknown, but it is certain, had they lived, that they would have 
killed him, and no man knew that better than he. On one occasion the well-known 
Henry Clay Pate started out from Westport, Missouri, with a party of thirty-three 
men, full of boastings and promises to catch " Old Brown," and take him a prisoner 
to Missouri, his only fear being that he would not be able to find him. Brown was 
very easily found, however, for with sixteen men he went out to meet Pate, and 
after a short fight, and a few men killed and wounded, at Black-Jack, near the 
Santa Fd road Pate and his party surrendered to " Old Brown," with the excep" 



12 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 

tioa of a AYyandot Indiau of the name of Long, and the notorious Coleman, who 
had murdered Dow. These two men, being well mounted, made their escape. 

Upon another occasion, a body of some 220 men were raised and equipped in 
Jackson County, Missouri, and started into Kansas under the command of General 
Whitfield, to attack and capture " Old Brown," as every one called him. Brown, 
who was always vigilant and wary, and was possessed of secret means of intelli- 
gence, had made full preparation to meet the Missourians, and was encamped with 
160 men at a chosen point near the Santa Fe road, which he knew his enemies 
would pass. He had fifty men with Sharpe's rifle's which would kill at half a mile, 
and which could be loaded at the breech and fired with great rapidity, whom he 
had concealed in a ravine, lying on the ground, and commanding the prairie for a 
mile before them. The residue of the party he had concealed iu the timber, ready, 
at the proper moment, for an attack on the flank of those who might reach the 
ravine alive. Colonel Sumner, with a squad of dragoons, came down from Fort 
Leavenworth and prevented the fight, disbanding both parties, after which the 
Colonel was heard to remark, that his interposition was a fortunate event for the 
Missourians, as the arrangements and preparations made by Brown would have 
insured their destruction. 

It will be recollected that in 1856, when Geary came into the Territory, Atchi- 
son and Reid were therfe with an invading army, variously estimated at from 2,000 
to 2,100 men, bent on the destruction of several towns and the extermination of 
the Free State men, and that Geary, with great difficulty, negotiated and persuaded 
them to retire, and that his success was a matter of rejoicing over all the North, 
as there was a Free State force assembled of not over 500 to resist them, who 
were but poorly prepared for the fray. Not so John Brown, who was greatly 
vexed at the result, and who insisted that his friends had lost a happy chance of 
putting an end to the war, and covering themselves and their cause with glory. 
The odds of five to one he counted as nothing. " What are five to one," said he, 
" when our men would be fighting for their wives, their children, their homes, and 
their liberties, against a party, one-half of whom were mercenary vagabonds who 
enlisted for a mere frolic, lured on by the whisky and the bacon, and a large portion 
of the others had gone under the compulsion of public opinion and proscription, 
and because they feared being denounced as abolitionists if they refused ?" His 
taste iu this matter was very near being gratified. A vanguard of 300 men rode 
up from Franklin and made a bravado demonstration on Lawrence, in order, as 
they supposed, to alarm the Free State men, and ascertain how far they could go. 
Brown eagerly hurried out with 100 men to give them fight on the open prairie, 
but the enemy retired, and declined the contest, to Brown's great disappointment 
and disgust. 

His conduct at the sack of Ossawatpmie is well known. John Eeid, a prominent 
lawyer of Jackson County, and a member of the Missouri Legislature, marched 
upon that town with 300 men and two pieces of artillery. The inhabitants were 
taken by surprise, and Brown had barely time to get into the timber, which lines 
the Osage River, with thirty men, and a limited supply of ammunition, when the 




Jolin Bion-u, from a Photograph by Martin M, Lawrence,; 381 Broftdway, N. Y^ 



THE HARPEE'S FERRY INSURRECTION". 13 

whole force of their assailants marched upon the prairie before them. With his 
usual indomitable courage and unhesitating confidence in himself, he gave no thought 
to the odds of ten to one, or to making his escape from the danger, nor did he wait 
for the enemy to commence the fight, but carefully disposing his. men^ he opened a 
rapid and constant fire, which was returned, of course, but the Missouriaus, not 
knowing his numbers, and fearing an ambuscade, would not venture into the woods, 
and their artillery did little harm to men lying on the ground and loading their 
rifles at the breech. The, result was, that sixty or seventy of the Missouriaus were 
killed or wounded ; two of Brown's men were killed, and the others he carried off 
in safety through the timber, up the river and across the ford. 

Shortly after the Marais des Cygnes massacre. Brown conceived the idea of car- 
rying the war into Africa, and teaching the fighters on the other side of the bor- 
der that a continuance of the war would imperil the safety of all the slaves in 
Western Missouri. While reflecting on this plan, a negro came across the line in 
the night, imploring assistance for his family and fellows, who were about to be 
separated and sold to the cotton and rice planters at the South. The first persons 
he met were Brown and half a dozen of his neighbors, who were discussing the en- 
terprise thus singularly thrown in their way. Summoning a dozen or more assist- 
ants, they moved immediately to the border, and dividing into two parties, they 
made a night of it, with the deliberate purpose of taking all the slaves they could 
find who had an inclination to be free, and making prisoners of all who should in- 
terfere with their design. The result of the excursion was the liberation of thirteen 
negroes, the capture of several white men, and the killing of one person who was 
making a vigorous resistance. The homicide was not committed by the division of 
the party to which Brown belonged, but the responsibility of it attaches to him in 
a degree as the moving actor of the whole proceeding. Both parties then returned 
to the border with the proceeds of their foraging. The captured Missouriaus were 
then set at liberty, and told to go home and raise a rescuing force — Brown and 
company would give them ample time and await their return, when they would set- 
tle the questions at issue by open battle. A very loud , noise was made in half a 
dozen counties in Missouri, but no volunteers were found for the proposed action. 
After waiting three weeks. Brown dismissed all but a handful of his company, and 
took his line of march through Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan to 
Canada. While pursuing his journey through the northern part of Kansas, he was 
menaced with an attack from a party of Missouriaus, of about three times his own 
number. After retreating from them a day or two, he came to a halt, took four 
of them prisoners, and put the rest to flight. The prisoners were lectured soundly 
on the evil of their ways, and then dismissed, minus their arms and horses. No 
other interruption was met with on the way to Canada. 

Snch are a few of the incidents in the life of this remarkable man, which serve to 
throw some light, not only on his character, but also on the mad attempt in which 
he was recently engaged. He has elements of character which, under circum- 
stances favorable to their proper development and right direction, would have made 
him one of the great men of the world. Napoleon himself had no more blind and 



14 THE HARPEE'S FEREY INSUEREOTIOK 

trusting confidence in his own destiny and resources ; his iron will and unbending 
purpose were equal to that of any man living or dead ; his religious enthusiasm and 
sense of duty (exaggerated and false though it was) was yet earnest and sincere, 
and not excelled by that of Oliver Cromwell or any of his followers ; while no 
danger could for a moment alarm or disturb him. Though, doubtless, his whole 
nature was subject to, and almost constantly, for the last three or four years, per- 
vaded by the deepest excitement, his exterior was always calm and cool. His man- 
ner, though conveying the idea of a stern and self-sustaining man, was yet gentle 
and courteous, and marked by frequent and decided manifestations of kindness ; and 
it is by his friends said of him, that, amid all his provocations, he never perpetrated 
an act of wanton or unnecessary cruelty. He was scrupulously honest, moral, and 
temperate, and never gave utterance to a boast. Upon one occasion, when one of 
the ex-governors of Kansas said to him that he was a marked man, and that the 
Missourians were determined, sooner or later, to take his scalp, the old man 
straightened himself up with a glance of enthusiasm and defiance in his grey eye. 
" Sir," said he, " the angel of the Lord will camp roiuud about me." His is a fierce 
and relentless nature. The iron of personal wrong, in the form of persecution, 
oppression and murder, had been driven into his soul, and maddened him into the 
one idea of life-long, undying war on an institution which he believed to be accursed 
of God and man. 



FACTS AND RUMORS CONCERNING- JOHN BROWN. 

The career of Brown in Kansas was more exciting and romantic than the fabu- 
lous history of many a famous hero of romance. That young and growing Terri- 
tory is rife with stories of his adventures, and the whole country has, read with 
emotions of surprise of the deeds in which he has been a prominent actor. From 
gentlemen who were with him in his forays, and conversant with all his movements, 
We gather many interesting particulars, which we add here as they have been 
related. 

JOHN BROWN'S MORAL CHARACTER. 

Wherever he lived, he soon acquired the reputation of a man of the sternest in- 
tegrity of character. In Kansas he was the great living test of principle in our 
poUticians. The more corrupt the man, the more he denounced Old Brown, It 
was a true compliment to be praised or to be recognized by him as a friend ; for, 
even in his social dealings, he would have no connection with any man of unprinci- 
pled or unworthy character. In his camp he permitted no profanity ; no man of 
loose morals was suffered to stay there — unless, indeed, as prisoner of war. " I 
would rather have the small-pox, yellow fever and cholera all together in my camp, 
than a man without principle." This he said to the present writer, when speaking 
of some ruffianly recruits whom a well known leader had recently introduced. " It's 



TJE HARPER'S FERRY mSURRECTIOlSr. 15 

a mistake, sir," he continued, " that our people make, when they think that buIHes 
are the best fighters, or that they are the fit men to oppose these demagogues. 
Give me men of good principles — God-fearing men — men who respect themselves, 
and, with, a dozen of them, I will oppose any hundred such men as these Buford 
ruffians." His whole character is portrayed in these words. He was a Puritan in 
the Cromwellian sense of the word. He trusted in God and kept his powder dry. 
Prayers were offered up, in his camp, every morning and evening ; no food was 
eaten, unless grace was first asked on it. 



JOHN BROWN'S POLITICS. 

First, as to John Brown's political opinions. It is asserted that he was a mem- 
ber of the Republican party ; but he despised the Republican party. He was op- 
posed to the extension of slavery ; and in favor, also, of organized political action 
against it. But when the Republicans cried, Halt I John Brown said, Forward, 
march! He was an aboUtionist of the ultra school. He had as little sympathy 
with Garrison as Seward. He believed in human brotherhood and in the God of 
Battles ; he admired Nat Turner as well as George Washington. He could not 
see that it was heroic to fight against a tax on tea, and endure seven years of war- 
fare for a ^political right, and a crime to fight in favor of restoring what he consid- 
ered an outraged race to every birthright with which their Maker had endowed 
them. The recent outbreak was premature. The coming triumph of the Republi- 
can party was the most powerful reason for the precipitate movement. The old 
man distrusted the Republican leaders ; he said that their success would be a back- 
ward movement to the anti-slavery enterprise. His reason was, that the masses of 
the peo pie had confidence in these leaders ; and would believe that by their action 
they would ultimately and peaceably abolish slavery. That the people would be 
deceived, that the Republicans would become as conservative of slavery as the De- 
mocrats themselves,, he sincerely believed. Apathy to the welfare of the slave would 
follow ; hence, he argued, it was necessary to strike a blow at once. 



AN INTRODUCTION TO JOHN BROWN. 

I had heard of old Brown from time to time, but had never met him nor any of 
his family, until, after the sacking of Lawrence and the destruction of the Hotel and 
printing-offices, I made my first visit to the country south of the Wakarusa. I 
went down on horseback ; but, being obliged to stop over night at a house near 
Palmyra, I found, when the morning broke, that my horse had been stolen. I 
walked over to Prairie City — a municipality consisting of two log huts and a well 
— and stayed there until the afternoon, when a company of United States troops 
approached, rode up in double-file to the door, and made me a prisoner of war I 

I asked what my offence was. 



16 THE HAEPEE'S FEEEY INSUEEEOTIOI . 

" You were seen near our camp lust night ; shortly after you left, we missed two 
of our best horses." 

I angered the captain by laughing heartily at this joke, and explained the reason 
I had to sympathize with him. I went with him to his camp — where the horses 
were found ! They had wandered away, and were tracked by a squatter, who at 
once returned with them. 

To be thus arrested on suspicion of being a horse thief, was too good an oppor- 
tunity to be thrown away. I wrote a description of the adventure, entitled 
" Confessious of a Horse Thief." Now, how to send it ? The mails were not 
safe ; the country was covered with guerrillas ; Leavenworth was in the hands of 
the ruffians ; and to return to Lawrence was impossible. I heard of an old 
preacher, who lived a few miles off, and who 'was preparing to go to Kansas City, 
in Missouri. I went to find him. His house was situated on the southern side of 
a creek, which is two or three miles from Prairie " City." I was told to go to the 
cabin of Capt. Carpenter, and there (where armed men w^ere constantly on guard) 
they would lead me to " Old Moore, the minister." 

When men went out to plough, at this period, they always took their rifles with 
them; and they always worked in companies of from five to ten; for when they 
attempted to perform their work separately, the bandits, who were constantly 
hovering about the region, were sure to make a sudden descent and carry off their 
horses or oxen. Every man went armed "to the teeth."' Whenever two men 
approached each other, they came up, pistol in hand, and the first salutation 
invariably was: " Free State or Pro-Slave ?" or its equivalent: " Whai"' ye from ?" 
It not unfrequently happened that the next sound was a report of a pistol. People 
who wished to travel without such collisions, avoided the necessity of meeting any 
one, by making a circuit or running away on the first indication of pursuit. 

The creeks of Kansas are all fringed with wood. I lost my way, or got off the 
path, that crosses the creek above alluded to, when, suddenly, thirty paces before 
me, I saw a wild-lookiug man, of magnificent proportions, with half a dozen 
pistols of various sizes stuck in his belt, and a large Arkansas bowie-knife promi- 
nent among them. His head was uncovered; his hair was uncombed; his face had 
not been shaved for many months past. We were similarly dressed — with red- 
topped boots, worn over the pantaloons; a coarse blue shirt — and a pistol belt. 
This was the usual fashion of the times. 

" Hullo !" he cried, "^ou're in our camp !" 

He had nothing in his right hand — he carried a water-pail in his left; but, before 
he could speak, I had drawn and cocked my eight-inch Colt. 

I only answered, in emphatic tones, " Halt ! or Pll fire !" 

He stopped and said that he knew me; that he had seen me in Lawrence, and 
that I was "true;" that he was Frederick Brown, the son of old John Brown; and 
that I was now within the limits of their camp. After a parley of a few minutes, I 
was satisfied that I was among my friends, put up my pistol, and shook hands with 
Frederick. 

He talked wildly, as he walked before me, turning round every minute, as he 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION 17 

spoke of the then recent affair of Pottawatomie. His family, he said, had been 
accused of it; he denied it indignantly, but with the wild air of a maniac. His 
excitement was so great that he repeatedly recrossed the creek, until, getting 
anxious to reach the camp, I refused to listen to him until he took me to ' 
his father. He then quietly filled his pail with water ; and, after many strange 
turnings, led me into camp. As we approached it, we were twice challenged by 
sentries, who suddenly appeared before trees and as suddenly disappeared behind 
them. 



JOHN BROWN'S CAMP. 

I shall not soon forget the scene that here opened to my view. Near the edge of 
the creek a dozen horses were tied — all ready saddled for a ride for life, or a hunt 
after the invaders. A dozen rifles and sabres were stacked against the trees. In 
an open space amid the shady and lofty woods, there was a great fire with a pot 
on it; a woman was picking berries from the bushes; three or four men were lying 
on red blankets on the grass; and two fine-looking youths were standing, leaning on 
their arms, on guard. One was the youngest son of Brown, and the other was the 
" Charley " who was subsequently killed at Ossawatomie. Old Brown himself stood 
near the fire, with his shirt-sleeves rolled up, and a large piece of pork in his hand. 
He was engaged in cooking a whole pig. He was poorly clad; his toes protruded 
from his boots. The old man received me with great cordiality, and the little band 
soon gathered about me. But it was for a moment only; for the captain ordered 
them to renew their work. He respectfully but firmly forbade conversation on the 
subject of tlfe Pottawatomie affair; and said that, if I desired any information 
from the company in relation to their conduct or intentions, he — as their captain — 
would answer for them whatever it was proper to communicate. 

I remained in their camp about an hour, and went away with a far higher respect 
for the strtiggle, and the men engaged in it, than ever 1 had felt before. I thought 
that I had met men of earnest spirit before ; but this visit first made me 
acquainted with it. I had seen, for the first time, the spirit of the Ironsides, 
armed and encamped. 



JOHN BROWN'S FIRST FIGHT. 

A few days after this visit, Mr. Henry Clay Pate — a postmaster, politician, and 

correspondent of the " St. Louis Republican " in Missouri — made his appearance 
near Palmyra, at a creek called Black Jack, for the purpose, boastingly avowed, of 
bringing Old Brown a prisoner to Westport. He had thirty men. Brown, after a 
few dozen volleys, took them captive with ten men. 

Brown afterward delivered up these prisoners to Col. Sumner, of the U. S. Army, 
cousin of the Senator from Massachusetts. A incident of this event is deservins: of 
passing record, as an illustration of the fearless character of Old Brown. Learning 



18 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION". 

that Col. Sumner, with his company, was in the neighborhood, the Captain de- 
termined to pay him a visit, and offered to give up the prisoners, to stand trial, if 
the Government wished it, for the crime of sacking a store, and repeated robberies 
on the highway. 

The Colonel told him that the United States Marshal was in his camp with a writ 
for Brown's arrest, and that it would be his duty to detain him as a prisoner. 

Brown answered that if the United States Marshal attempted to serve the writ, 
he would shoot him dead on the spot. 

The Colonel replied that if the Marshal produced the writ, he would serve it at 
every hazard. 

Brown left the camp unharmed ! 

I never chanced to meet old Brown for many months after the capture of Cla.y 
Pate at Black Jack. 

I ought, however, to mention how the letters that I sent by " Old Moore, the 
minister," fared. I gave him three letters — the first a little note to a southern 
lady ; the second, my " Confessions of a Horse Thief ;" the third, a description of 
the condition of the couutry, in which was an account of the sacking of Palmyra, 
by H. Clay Pate and his men. 

I told " Old Moore, the minister," if he were pursued, to destroy the large let- 
ters, which were designed for publication ; but to preserve the other — the note — 
as there was nothing in it that could implicate him. 

He had not gone many miles before he was seen, and pursued by Clay Pate's 
scouts. In his excitement he forgot my directions — preserved the "incendiary 
documents" and destroyed the harmless hillet doux. He was captured and brought 
to the camp. Pate ordered the letters to be opened, as soon as he learned they 
were mine — for we were rival correspondents for rival journals — #nd appointed 
Coleman, whom I had denounced as a murderer, to read my productions to his 
men ! 

First, came my " Confessions of a Horse Thief." Captain Wood, the United 
States officer who arrested me, was spared the ridicule I had endeavored to throw 
on him, for Pate threw the letter into the fire. 

Next, came my description of the sacking of Palmyra and the Saxon names for 
Pate and his company. Old Moore declared afterward that he felt uneasy for his 
safety when he saw the rage which my letters aroused. It was universally 
admitted that I ought to be hanged, and they swore they would do it, too — when | 
the cat was belled. As Mr. Moore was a quiet, inoffensive old man, and as he 
knew nothing of the contents of ray letters till they were read in the pro-slavery 
camp, they permitted him to proceed on his journey to Kansas City. 

The next news of Pate was an account of his failure to capture Old Brown, 
although he had thirty men, and of Brown's success in capturing Pate, although 
the Old Captain had only ten men. Pate's description of the battle concluded in 
these pathetic ternis : " In short, as I sometimes say to my friends, I went out to 
take Old Brawn, but Old Brown took me." 

Shortly after this affair, the eldest son of Old Brown — John junior — who still lives, 



THE EAEPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. ,;^ 

was made a prisoner at Pottawatomie oa a charge of treason. A heavy ball and 
chain were fastened to his feet, and in this condition he was marched some sixty 
miles to Lecompton. The flesh was mangled at his ankles, but the correspondents 
err in saying that a brain fever ensued and he died. Of him we have the following 
recent facts : 

John Brown, junior, who was imprisoned in Kansas, and confined with r,opes and 
chains, producing insanity, is reported to have died by nearly all who have spoken 
on the subject. But he is still living, and has been in New York within 
two years, and the writer has seen the rope-marks yet on his arms. With him we 
are perfectly well acquainted, and he, like his father, bore the reputation of pos- 
sessing honesty that could not be bought, and a firmness and courage that could 
not be appalled. John Brown, junior, is a good representative of his father. The 
son who was slain in Kansas, and the two who were massacred at Harper's Ferry, 
with the John just mentioned, and we believe one or two other sons, constituted 
this remarkable family. 



THE BATTLE OF OSSAWATOMIE. 

The next prominent adventure of John Brown was the battle of Ossawatomie, 
from which he got his popular sobriquet of " Ossawatomie Brown." We give his 
own account of this affair : 

Early on the morning of the 30th of August, the enemy's scouts approached to 
within one mile and a half of the western boundary of the town of Ossawatomie. 
At this place my son Frederick K. (who was not attached to my force) had lodged 
with some four other young men from Lawrence, and a young man named Garrison, 
from Middle Creek. 

The scouts, led by a pro-slavery preacher named White, shot my son dead in 
the road, whilst he — as I have since ascertained — supposed them to be friendly. 
At the same time they butchered Mr. Garrison, and badly mangled one of the 
young men from Lawrence, who came with my son, leaving him for dead. 

Tills was not far from sunrise. I had stopped duiing the night about two and 
one-half miles from them, and nearly one mile from Ossawatomie. I had no 
organized force, but only some twelve or fifteen new recruits, who were ordered to 
leave their preparations for breakfast, and follow nje into the town as soon as this 
news was brought to me. 

As I had no means of learning correctly the force of the enemy, I placed twelve 
of the recruits in a log-house, hoping we might be able to defend the town. I then 
gathered some fifteen more men together, whom we armed with guns, and we started 
in the direction of the enemy. After going a few rods, we could see them approach- 
ing the town in line of battle, about one-half a mile off upon a hill west of the 
village. I then gave up all idea of doing more than to annoy, from the timber 
near the town, into which we all retreated, and which was filled with a thick 
growth of underbrush, but had no time to recall the twelve men in the log-,h,o^et 
and so lost their assistance in the fight. j;t., f,it,' 



^ THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURREOTIOIT. 

At the point abo-ve named I met with Capt. Cline, a very active young man, who 
had witli him some twelve or fifteen mounted men, and persuaded him to go with 
ns into the timber, on tlie southern shore of the Osage or Marais-des-Cygues, a httle 
to the northwest from the village. Here the men, numbering not more than thirty 
in all, were directed to scatter and secrete themselves as well as they could, and 
await the approach of the enemy. This was done in full view of them (who must 
have seen the whole movemetit), and had to be done in the utmost haste. I 
believe Captain Cline and some of his men were not even dismounted in the fight, 
■ but cannot assert positively. When the left wing of the enemy had approached to 
within common rifle shot, we commenced firing ; and very soon threw the northern 
branch of the enemy's line into disorder. This continued some fifteen or twenty 
tninutes, which gave us an uncommon opportunity to annoy them. Captain Cline 
and his men soon got out of ammunition and retired across the river. 

After the enemy rallied, we kept up our fire until, by the leaving of one and 
another, we had but six or seven left. We then retired across the river. 

We had one man killed, a Mr. Powers, from Capt. Cline's company, in the 
fight. One of my men, a Mr, Partridge, was shot in crossing the river. Two or 
three of the party who took part in the fight' are yet missing, and may be lost or 
.taken prisoners. Two were wounded, viz. : Dr. Updegraff and a Mr. Collis. 
ft;: I cannot speak in too high terms of them, and of many others I have not now 
time to mention. 

One of my best men, together with myself, was struck with a partially spent ball 
from the enemy, la the commencement of the fight, but were only bruised. The 
loss I refer to, is one of my missing men. The loss of the enemy, as we learn by 
the different statements of our own, as well as their people, was some thirty-one or 
two killed, and from forty to fifty wounded. After burning the town to ashes, and 
killing a Mr, Williams they had taken, whom neither party claimed, they took a 
hasty leave, carrying their dead and wounded with them. They did not attempt 
to cross the river, nor to search for us, and have not since returned to look over 
their work. 

I give this in great haste, in the midst of constant interruptions. My second son 
was with me in the fight, and escaped unharmed. This I mention for the benefit 
of his friends. 

Old Preacher White, I hear, boasts of having killed my son ; of course, he is a 

lion. 

John Brown. 

Thus were two hundred men, fully equipped and armed, with muskets, swords, 
pistols, and artillery, arrested, thrown into confusion, and lost thirty-two men, and 
bad fifty wounded by a party of sixteen; all of them imperfectly armed. 

The invaders burned down the little town of Ossawatomie, the mill of the Emi- 
grant Aid Company, and carried off a sou of Mr. 0. C. Brown, whom they kept for 
several months a prisoner in Missouri. They supposed him to be a relative of the 
old man, who had so effectively annoyed them. ' 



THE HARPEE'S FERRY INSURRECTION". 21 

THE BATTLE OF THE SPUES. 

Bat there is one incident of his recent career in Kansas, which was laughable in 
its character, and which has never been narrated in the Eastern journals. He took 
a party of slaves from the vicinity of Atchison. The owners were indignant at him 
when they heard of it, and organized a formidable party to pursue him. The sheriff 
weut with them, armed with the parchment terrors of the law. They soon over- 
took the fugitives. Brown, with Kagi and others, instantly drew up in line of 
battle to receive them ; and, although less than one-fourth in numerical force, it 
was evident that they intended to conquer or to die in defence of the negroes. The 
sheriff, seeing the old man's preparations, wheeled round his horse and galloped off. 
Dozens of his followers imitated his example. There was one company, however, 
that refused to fly. Brown captured them. He caused them to dismount, and put 
the negroes on their horses. They swore. Old Brown ordered them to be silent, 
as he would permit no blasphemy in his presence. They swore again. " Kneel !" 
said the old man, as he drew his pistol, with stern earnestness, which left no room 
to doubt his intention. They knelt down, and he ordered them to pray ! He 
detained them for five days, and compelled them to pray night and morning. They 
returned to Atchison ; one of them indiscreetly told the story ; the ridicule that 
overwhelmed the others compelled them, I was recently informed, to leave the 
town. 

This was the last time that I heard of Old John Brown in Kansas. 



JOHN BROWN'S LATER HISTORY. 

Of Brown's subsequent career in Kansas, I know personally very little. He aided 
Montgomery ; he delivered many captives ; he acted, everywhere and always, 
according to his own convictions ; whether these convictions are right or wrong 
depends upon the stand-point from which they are viewed. 



JOHN BROWN'S PRACTICAL NATURE. 
Old Brown was no politician. He despised the class with all the energy of his 
earnest and determined nature. His first appearance in the Territory of Kansas 
was at Ossawatomie, at a public meeting, at which politicians were carefully prun- 
ing a set of resolutions to suit every shade of Free State men. The motion that 
called him out was to pass a resolution in favor of excluding all negroes from 
Kansas. Old Brown rose, and scattered consternation among the politicians by 
asserting the manhood of the negro race, and expressing his earnest anti-slaveiy 
convictions with a force and vehemence little likely to please the hybrids then known 
as Free State Democrats. It was his first and last appearance in a public meeting. 
Like most men of action, he underrated discussion. He secretly despised even the 
ablest anti-slavery orators. He could " see no use in this talking," he said. "Talk 

2 



22 THE HARPER'S FERRY [NSURREOTION". 

is a national institution ; but it does no good for the slave." He thought it an 
excuse very well adapted for weak men with tender consciences. Most men, who 
were afraid to fight, and too honest to be silent, deceived themselves that they dis- 
charged their duties to the slave by denouncing in fiery words the oppressor. His 
ideas of duty were far different ; the slaves, in his eyes, were prisoners of war ; 
their tyrants, he held, had taken up the sword, and must perish by it." 

The next time he appeared among men assembled in numbers was when Law- 
rence was surrounded by Sheriff Jones's posse comitatus, during the governorship of 
Shannon, in the month of December, 1855. His eldest son, John, had command 
of a large company of men, and he himself had charge of a dozen. He was dis- 
satisfied with the conduct of Robinson and Lane, and predicted that their celebrated 
treaty, with its diplomatic phraseology, would only postpone the discussion at arms, 
which was inevitably and rapidly approaching. Lane sent for him to a Council of 
War. " Tell the General," Brown said, " that when he wants me to fight, to say 
so ; but that is the only order I will obey." In disobedience to general orders, he 
even went out of camp with his dozen men to meet his invaders — to " draw a little 
blood," as he phrased it — but by the special messenger of Lane he was induced to 
forego this intention and return. He always regretted doing so, and maintained 
that if the conflict had been brought on at that time a great deal of bloodshed 
would have been spared. 



HOW JOHN RROWN GOT MONEY. 
Some of the papers are exceedingly anxious to know how Old Brown got his 
money, and from whom, and why. It has long been a matter of newspaper recoid. 
The following appeal, which he issued, was extensively printed at the time in the 
prominent journals of the country : 

" To the Friends of Freedom : The undersigned, whose individual means were 
exceedingly limited when he first engaged in the struggle for liberty in Kansas, 
being now still more destitute, and no less anxious than in times past to continue 
his efforts to sustain that cause, is induced to make this earnest appeal to the 
Friends of Freedom throughout the United States, in the firm belief that his call 
will not go unheeded. 

" I ask all honest lovers of Liberty and Human Rights, both male and female, to 
hold up my hands by contributions of pecuniary aid cither as counties, cities, towns, 
villages, societies, churches, or individuals. 

" I will endeavor to make a judicious and faithful application of all such means 
as I may be supplied with. Contributions may be sent in drafts to W. II. D. Calen- 
der, Cashier State Bank, Hartford, Connecticut. It is my intention to visit as many 
places as I can, during my stay in the States, provided I am informed of the dispo' 
sition of the inhabitants to aid me in my efforts, as well as to receive my visit 
Information may be communicated to me (care of Massasoit House) at Springfield, 
Massachusetts. Will the editors of newspapers, friendly to the cause, kiudly second 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 23 

the measure, and also give this some half a dozen insertions ? Will either gentle- 
men or ladies, or both, who love the cause, volunteer to take up the business. It 
is with no little sacrifice of personal feeling that I appear in this manner before the 
public. *' John Brown." 

This appeal, in which the italics are in the original, was widely responded to. 



NOTICES OP THE OTHER INSURGENTS. 

The next man to John Brown, in the Harper's Ferry aflfair, was John E. Cook, 
who escaped at the time, but was arrested a few days afterward in Pennsylvania, 
and sent back to Virginia. Our informant thus relates : 

MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO COOK. 

He knew me by reputation, and I entered into conversation with him. He was 
dressed in the rough fashion of the period, but his arms, accoutrements, and linen 
— and after one talked with him, his style of conversation — indicated that he was a 
young man of a wealthy family. A fair, slim youth of two and twenty, his boast- 
ing and incessant talking did not strike me favorably. He had a slight impediment 
in his speech, and the rapidity with which he talked did not improve it. He told 
me that he had come from Chicago, where, at the time, he had relatives living ; 
had gone to Leavenworth, and joined (for the sake of betraying them) the 
Kickapoo Rangers — the most desperate gang of ruffians and murderers ever spewed 
out over Kansas. He told their plans and — the7i returned 

What he predicted was fulfilled; his veracity was undoubted. But where was he? 
We had given him up as lost to us, when he suddenly re-appeared. Lawrence had 
been sacked since his previous visit. 

His appearance created a renewed agitation. He went before the Stubbs, the 
celebrated militia company of Lawrence, told further plans of the Rangers, and, 
above all, a story of his escape, which removed the doubts about him. The story 
of Cook's escape, as he told it, was subsequently found to be true. 

He had been suspected by the Border Ruffian company, and when he asked per- 
mission to visit Kansas City (with the secret intention of going to Lawrence) a 
man was sent after him to watch him. Cook stopped at Kansas City, and went up 
to Lawrence. The spy, finding that he had gone, returned to Kickapoo and 
reported the treason. When Cook went back to Kickapoo, a company meeting 
was held. A man planted himself before the door of the room, and the spy pro- 
ceeded to tell his story. But Cook had already dimly feared and formidably pre- 
pared himself for this result. It was a terrible situation to be in — a hopeless 
prisoner, to all human appearances, among thirty enemies. Cook sprang up, with his 
revolver cocked, and a bowie-knife in his left hand. In an instant, he was at the 
door, with the muzzle of his pistol within a yard of the doorkeeper's mouth. 

John E. Cook, unlike his captain, is not a religious man ; and I am very much 
afraid that he uttered profane words as he ordered the doorkeeper to move aside. 



24 THE HARPER'S FFRRY IFSURRECTIOK 

Whether he did or not, however, the doorkeeper moved. It does not require many 
words to induce even a brave man to get out of the range of a pistol held in the 
hands of a desperate prisoner. In a few seconds he had disappeared among the 
brush ; and — the darkness favoring him — he soon made his way to Lawrence. 

Cook had an exciting and rough time in Kansas. He found a friend in Charles 
Lenhart, the organizer of the Free State guerrillas, and with that party he had his 
first fight. On this occasion, among three or four boys who accompanied Cook, was 
a young gentleman named Stewart, the only son of a wealthy family in the State 
of New York. Charley Lenhart was chosen captain. They had not proceeded 
more than four miles, when they suddenly came upon three Missourians on horse- 
back, who, as soon as they saw the Lawrence boys, drew up their rifles and fired a 
volley at them. Stewart fell a corpse — shot through the forehead. The rifles of 
the <?urvivors were instantly raised ; but, in consequence of the bad pellets which 
Sharpe's manufacturing company at that time made, they would not go oS" until 
several of them had snapped. By that time the Missourians, favored by the nature of 
the ground, were almost out of range. Only one of them was wounded. He was 
lying along his horse at the time, and the ball glanced along his back, taking a ribbon 
out of his coat from the waist to the neck. The wound, therefore, was trifling only. 

Charley looked after them sternly ; and then turning to his boys, he told them 
to kneel over the corpse. 

"Hold up your hands 1" he said, " and take this oath I" 

I will not repeat that oath ; suffice it to say that it was a terrible one, and kept. 
Stewart was revenged. 

This was Cook's first exploit with, the Free State boys. 



CHARLEY LENHART'S CAMP. 

Soon after my laughable adventure as a horse-thief, I started for Charley's camp, 
fully armed, but this time on foot. I had enough of horses for the season. 

Charley was encamped at Blue Mound — a wooded eminence south of Wakarusa, 
and twelve miles from Lawrence. Near the summit of the Mound, in the thickest 
part of the wood, I found the young guerrilla boys lying at their ease. Their horses 
were tethered at different places in the vicinity of the camp. The only covering 
they had was an old canvas (which they had taken from the enemy), and which, 
tied to trees, afforded a protection against the rain. Each man had a blanket, 
rifle, pistol, and bowie-knife. The side-arms were stuck in their belts. Their 
browned faces and wild and ragged appearance, I thought, were unanswerable 
proofs of an " irresistible conflict." 

Cook was there. He had been tried and found true. Since the days of Homer 
there have ever been exceptions to the rule that barking dogs never bite. Cook 
was a desperate fighting' dog ; but he barked like a King Charles poodle. He was 
always boasting. Even in that little camp, there were rivalries. The State House 
spirit had already animated one man — who was subsequently shot dead by a Federal 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 25 

office-holder — and hz was aspiring to supersede Charley Lenhart in command. 
Failing to do so, he bolted. 

I remained three days in camp. On the second day I had my first taste of 
guerrilla life. The sentinel, who stood on the bare summit of the Mound, gave three 
long whistles. Every one sprang to his feet. The tent was torn down, rolled up, 
and strapped on the nearest horse. Every man seized his blanket, and ran and 
tied it to his saddle. 

" Now, boys I" shouted Charley, " scatter and hide ; and don't you come back 
again till the troops return to camp." 

I ran to the top of the Mound to reconnoitre. A little stream flowed round the 
base of the hill, which, after turning it, meandered to the southward. The hill, 
excepting at the summit, was densely wooded ; as also were the banks of the 
stream. 

On the opposite side of the stream, about three miles to the south, I saw two 
companies of United States dragoons, slowly coming up, and hunting us in every 
direction. The clearness of the atmosphere enabled us to see that they were con- 
ducted by civilians. 

" We are betrayed !" said Charley ; " but d — n them, they haven't caught us 
yet. Let's scatter." 

Every one chose his own course. I thought the safest route (as it would not do 
to take to the prairies), would be to cross the stream to the north ; for I reckoned 
that, having seen us on the top of the Mound, the troops would cross and examine 
it on our side. The Mound is steep, and it was some time before I descended. I 
crossed the stream and got through the wood, and was entering the thick brush 
beyond it, when, not more than three hundred paces before me, turning the angle 
of the wood, appeared the leading file of the mounted troops. The rapidity with 
which I leaped from my horse might have taught a lesson in celerity to lightning. 
I had the advantage of the troops, for they could not pursue me on horseback ; 
and, as I was running for a greater stake than they, I did not fear to be overtaken. 
I escaped ; got to the top of the Mound ; watched every movement they made ; 
and, in an hour or two, recrossed the stream and found the horse patiently waiting 
for me. The troops, not knowing our strength, were afraid to cross the stream. 

Next day I returned to Lawrence and delivered up the horse to the owner ; who, 
in a similar spirit of neighborliness, delivered me a bill nearly as long as itself, and 
it was the tallest and longest horse in the town. A short time afterward — such 
was the fate of many politicians in Kansas — he was obliged to fly for the trifling 
peccadillo of murdering a slow-paying debtor. Yet his bill was not half so long as 
mine had been ; and he had not waited half so long to get it paid. 



COOK QUIET FOR A WHILE. 

He kept a journal of his adventures, which may be published. He became a cap- 
tfttn himself, and in various ways distinguished himself for his recklessness and 



26 THE HAEPER'S FERRY INSTIRRECTIOK 

bravery. When peace was restored aad the speculation mania began, he entered 
into partnership with a person named Bacon, and made a good deal of money by 
his quick and shrewd speculations. ITis real estate office was a real curiosity shop. 
Enter when you pleased, you would usually find him burnishing his arras — of which 
he had always a fine variety ; for the chief furniture of his office consisted of 
weapons, which were conspicuously displayed on the walls and in the corners. For 
himself, he was a walking arsenal, even in the days of mutual good-feeling. 

Cook — to give his character in a few words — is a brave fellow, good-hearted, 
intelligent, reckless, egotistical and querulous. 



COOK'S RECENT HISTORY. 

I learned, after losing trace of him for many mouths, that he had gone to Har- 
per's Ferry. He must have been there for upwards of two years past. 

The last news I had of him was from my wife. She was travelling through 
Indiana on her way to Kansas to rejoin me there. A young man, with pistols in 
his belt and a bowie-knife conspicuously displayed, was declaiming about the 
Kansas wars to every one around him. Finally, having exhausted his late listeners, 
he came into the vicinity of my wife, who asked him about various friends in the 
Territory. He did not know her ; she asked about me. He was rather compli- 
mentary in his estimate of my character, but he made an emphatic and important 
proviso: I was, in his opinion, the rashest and most reckless man he knew. The 
next time that Satan reproves sin, and is chided for so doing, he may quote, by 
way of precedent, the distinguished example of John E. Cook, of Harper's Ferry, 
reproving me for rashness. 



JOHN KAGI. 

Kagi settled at Topeka ; became the Kansas correspondent of the " National 
Era," and associate editor of the Topeka " Tribune;" and soon made himself a fair 
reputation as a writer of ability, a brave man, and an incorruptible politician of the 
Free State Party. 

He first became known throughout the country by the assault of Judge Elmore 
on him. The store of a Free State man had been robbed at Tecumseh, a village 
four miles distant from Topeka. The owner applied to the Topeka boys for justice 
They sent down word that an examination must be made, or they would pay a. 
visit to the town and put it to the flames. A Committee of Investigation was 
appointed as soon as this gentle warning was received. It consisted, first, of a Freei 
State man ; secondly, the person suspected of the robbery ; and thirdly, ex-judge 
Elmore, as chairman, and representative of the " Conservatives." 

The evidence, full and explicit, was given in ; the Fi-ee State man deciding iOn 
favor of restitution, ' and the convicted opposing it. The decision, therefore, de- 
volved on Elmore. 



THE HARPER'S FERRY mSURREOTION. 27 

In the true conservative spirit, he declared his inability to decide. 

Kagi, commenting on the decision, remarked that President Pierce need not have 
sought a pretext to dismiss Elmore, on account of his extra-judicial investments, as 
it was self-evident that a person who could not decide when clear evidence was 
before him, whether a convicted robber should restore stolen goods or retain them, 
was hardly qualified for a seat on the Supreme Bench of a Territory. 

Elmore approached Kagi ; asked his name, and then suddenly felled him. He 
repeated the blow several times ; when, seeing Kagi groping for his pistol, he drew 
his revolver and fired at him, but did no &;erious damage. Kagi, blinded and 
stunned, fired a shot at random, which, taking effect in a vital organ, terminated, 
it is said, all further hope of continuing the house of Elmore. 

I do not know of any individual exploit of Kagi ; he always acted in company 
with the Topeka boys or Brown. 

He liad been nearly two years with the old man, when be fell at Harper's 
Ferry. 

He had become a scientific military officer, and brilliant hopes were formed of his 
future by the friends who knew him best. He was a young man of clear and logi- 
cal intellect ; but, unlike old Brown, was a skeptic in moral and religious matters ; 
and engaged in the military anti-slavery enterprise rather from a haughty sense of 
duty to a friendless race, than of obedience to any special command from Deity. 
Brown believed that God spoke to him in visions of the night ; Kagi neither be- 
lieved in visions nor that God was the author of the drama of human history. He 
would have made his mark in any society. He died fighting. He fought on the 
soil of his native State — in obedience to his idea of the lessons of her greatest 
statesman. 



EDWIN COPPIE. 

The young man, Edwin Coppie, is a native of Salem, Ohio, where he resided until 
some seven years ago, when he went to Iowa. He was left an orphan at an early 
age, and was provided with a home in the family of a benevolent Quaker, a friend 
of the Coppie family, who were also Quakers. He remained at this place two or 
three years, exhibiting during that time such evidence of a depraved and vicious 
nature that his benefactor did not feel it his duty to- befriend him further, and 
turned him loose. After a few years more spent in various places, he at last went 
to Iowa, where he remained until the commencement of troubles in Kansas, when 
he emigrated to that Territory, returning again to Iowa after peace was restored. 
One who knew him in Iowa after he had attained to manhood, says that he enjoyed 
the reputation of a reckless, dare-devil fellow, possessing much more physical 
courage and fortitude than principle. After the cessation of troubles in Kansas he 
was engaged with Brown in running off slaves from Missouri. Some few months 
since he passed through Salem on his way East, as he said, and spent several days 
here with his former acquaintances. It is probable that he was then on his way to 
join Brown. 



fiS THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURREOTIOK 



EEALF. 

I find the name of "Realf " in Brown's list of his men, but not in any of the 
telegraphic accounts of the killed insurgents. If he fell, his name was not correctly 
given. 

I thought and still believe that Realf is in England. He is a young man of 
poetic genius. Lady Byron adopted him at an early age — his parents were English 
peasants — and he studied for some time in London as a sculptor. He published a 
volume of poems in England. Some of his Kansas lyrics were worthy of our most 
celebrated poets. He was an assistant for some time at the House of Industry with 
Mr. Pease, of the Five Points ; whence, during the border troubles, he emigrated to 
Kansas. He became a resident correspondent of the Eastern press, but he did not 
distinguish himself in that responsible capacity. His letters were like Addison's fat 
citizen's pudding, of which he made the ever-memorable record : " N. B. — Too 
many plums and not enough suet." 

He was rather a spoilt and whining child, but he had a noble heart and a fine 
intellect. His head was beautifully molded and his countenance handsome. 

I think that I recognize another intimate friend in the list of the killed insur- 
rectionists. It is known that he was at Harper's Ferry on the day preceding the 
explosion. 



THE BROWNS OF KANSAS. 

Several persons of the name of Brown have distinguished themselves in Kansas. 
They have frequently been confounded. One of the first settlers killed was a 
Brown ; one prominent traitor was a Brown ; and the most celebrated family of 
fighting men were Browns. 

R. P. Brown, a free-soil pioneer, an emigrant from Kentucky, was killed by the 
Kickapoo Rangers. His wife is now in an insane hospital. Her husband's body 
was brutally hacked by the ruffians, and tobacco juice was ejected in his face as he 
lay writhing on the ground. They carried the body of the still gasping man to the 
house of his wife. As she wept piteously over it, one of the ruffians insulted her. 

G. W. Brown had his press — the "Herald of Freedom" — destroyed by a mob 
from Missouri, who were acting in the capacity of posse comitatus. He himself was 
arrested and imprisoned in the camp before Lecompton, on the charge of high 
treason. 

There is another Brown, a peaceable gentleman, who lives at Osawattie, and whose 
property has been repeatedly destroyed by the invaders of Kansas. He was a 
member of the Topeka Constitutional Convention. He took no part in the wars, 
but brought out some colonics of settlers from New York. 



'l--1f 




THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTIOK 29 



THE INSURRECTION 

AT 

HARPER'S F E HE Y, 

SUNDAY NIGHT, OCT 16, 1859. 



On the night here mentioned, John Brown, with twenty one men, took possession 
of the United States Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Va., and held it against the forces 
of Maryland and Virginia, until Tuesday morning, when it was stormed by United 
States marines. His object was not quite clear ; it is said that he made his first 
appearance in Harper's Ferry more than a year ago, accompanied by his two sons 
— all three of them assuming the name of Smith. He inquired about land in the 
vicinity, and made investigations as to the probability of finding ores there, and for 
some time boarded at Sandy Point, a mile east of the Ferry. After an absence of 
some months the elder Brown reappeared in the vicinity, and rented or leased a 
farm on the Maryland side, about four miles from the Ferry. They bought a large 
number of picks and spades, and this confirmed the belief that they intended to 
mine for ores. They were frequently seen in and about Harper's Ferry, but no sus- 
picion seems to have existed that " Bill Smith " was Capt. Brown, or that he 
intended embarking in any movement so desperate or extraordinary. 

Brown's chief aid was John E. Cook, a comparatively young man, who has 
resided in and near the Ferry some years. He was first employed in tending locks 
on the canal, and afterward taught school on the Maryland ^side of the river ; and 
after a brief residence in Kansas, where, it is supposed, he became acquainted with 
Brown, returned to the Ferry and married there. These two men, with Brown's 
two sons, were the only white men connected with the insurrection that had been 
seen about the Ferry. All the rest were brought by Brown from a distance, and 
nearly all had been with him in Kansas. The whole party numbered seventeen 
wnite men and five negroes. Among them were Edwin Coppie, white, and Shields 
Green, colored, from Iowa, who were unhurt ; Aaron Stephens, from Connecticut, 
Stuart Taylor and J. 0. Anderson, a fine looking man with a flowing white beard. 
Anderson was for some time supposed to be the leader of the insurrection. He 
made his appearance at the Ferry the first of the week, with a very heavy trunk. 
Watsou Brown, son of old Brown, leaves a wife iu Essex County, New York. 



80 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURREOTIOK 

Elbert Haslett, who was killed, bad in his pocket an empty pocket-book and a lock 
of woman's hair. Lewis Leary, a negro, said before he died that he enlisted with 
Capt. Brown for the insurrection at a fair held in Lorraine County, Ohio, and 
received the money to pay his expenses. They all came down to Chambersburg, 
Pa., and from there they travelled across the country to Brown's farm. 

THE FIRST ACTIVE MOVEMENT. 

The first active movement in the insurrection was made at about half past ten 
o'clock on Sunday night. William Williamson, the watchman at Harper's Ferry 
bridge, while walking across toward the Maryland side, was seized by a number of 
men who said he was their prisoner, and must come with them. He recognized 
Brown and Cook among the men, and knowing them, treated the matter as a joke ; 
but enforcing silence, they conducted him to the Armory, which he fonnd already in 
their possession. He was detained till after daylight, and then discharged. The 
watchman who M'as to relieve Williamson at midnight found the bridge lights all 
out, and was immediately seized. Supposing it an attempt at robbery, he broke 
away, and his pursuers stumbling over him, he escaped. 

ARREST OF COLONEL WASHINGTON AND OTHERS. 

The next appearance of the insurrectionists was at the house of Colonel Lewis 
Washington, a large farmer and slave-owner, living about four miles from the Ferry. 
A party, headed by Cook, proceeded there, and rousing Culonel Washington, told 
him he was their prisoner. They also seized all the slaves near the house, took a 
carriage horse, and a larae wagon with two horses. When Colonel Washington 
saw Cook he immediately recognized him as the man who had called upon him some 
months previous, to whom he had exhibited some valuable arms in his possession, 
including an antique sword presented by Frederick the Great to George Washing- 
ton, and a pair of pistols presented by Lafayette to,^7^^^'"ffton, both being heir- 
looms in the family. Before leaving. Cook wanted Colonel Washington to engage 
in a trial of skill at shooting, and exhibited considerable skill as a marksman. 
When he made the visit on Sunday night he alluded to his previous visit, and the 
courtesy with which he had been treated, and regretted the necessity which made 
it his duty to arrest Colonel AVashington. He, however, took advantage of the 
knowledge he had obtained by his former visit to carry off the valuable arms, 
which the Colonel did not reobtain till after the final defeat of the insurrection. 

From Colonel Washington's he proceeded with him as a prisoner in the carriage, 
and twelve of his negroes in the wagon, to the house of Mr. Allstadt, another large 
farmer, on the same road. Mr. Allstadt and his son, a lad of sixteen, were taken 
prisoners, and all their negroes within reach forced to join the movement. He then 
returned to the Armory at the Ferry. 

THE STOPPAGE OF THE RAILROAD TRAIN. 

At the upper euu of the town the mail train arrived at the usual hour, when a 
colored man, who acted as assistant to the baggage-master, was shot, receiving a 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION, 81 

moiMal wound, and the conductor, Mr. Phelps, was threatened with violence if he 
attempted to proceed with the train. Feeling uncertain as to the condition of 
affairs, the conductor waited until after daylight before he ventured to proceed, 
thus delaying the train six hours. 

Lurlicr Simpson, baggage-master of ihe mail-train, gives the following particu- 
lars : I walked up the bridge ; was stopped, but was afterward permitted to go up 
and see the captain of the insurrectionists ; I was taken to the Armory, and saw 
the captain, whose name is Bill Smith ; I was kept prisoner fur more than an hour, 
and saw from five to six hundred negroes, having arms : there were two or three 
hundred white men with them ; all the houses were closed. I went into a tavern 
kept by Mr. Chambers ; thirty of the inhabitants were collected there with arms. 
They said most of the inhabitants had left, but they declined, preferring to protect 
themselves. It was reported that five or six persons had been shot. 

Mr. Simpson was escorted back over the bridge by six negroes. 



THE STATE OF AFFAIRS AT DAYBREAK. 

It was not till the town thoroughly waked up, and found the bridge guarded by 
armed men, and guards stationed at all the avenues, that the people saw that they 
were prisoners. A panic appears to have immediately ensued, and the number of 
insurrectionists was at once largely magnified. In the mean time a number of work- 
men, not knowing anything of what had occurred, entered the Armory, and were 
successively taken prisoners, until at one time they had not less than sixty men con- 
fined in the Armory. These were imprisoned in the engine-house, which afterward 
became the chief fortress of the insurgents, and were not released until after the 
final assault. The workmen were imprisoned in a large building further down the 
yard. 

EARLY CASUALTIES. 

A colored man, named Hayward, a railroad porter, was shot early in the morn- 
ing, it is said for refusing to join in the movement. 

The next man shot was Joseph Boerley, a citizen of Perry, He was standing in 
his own door. The insurrectionists by this time, finding a disposition to resist them 
had nearly all withdrawn within the Armory grounds, leaving only a guard on the 
bridge. 

About this time, also, Samuel P. Young, was shot. He was coming into town 
on horseback, carrying a gun, when he was fired at from the Armory, receivin"- a 
wound of which he died during the day. He was a graduate of West Point. 

ARRIVAL OF TROOPS FIRST FIGHTING. 

At about noon, the Charlestown troops, under command of Colonel Robert W. 
Baylor, crossed the Susquehanna River some distance up, and marched down the 
Maryland side to the mouth of the bridge. Firing a volley, they made a gallant 
dash across the bridge, clearing it of the insurrectionists, who retreated rapidly 



g2 THE HAEPER'S FEEEY INSUEEECTIOF. 

down toward the Armory. In this movement of the insurrectionists a man named 
William Thompson was taken prisoner. 

An eye-witness describes the first fighting as follows : 

" The first attack was made by a detachment of the Charlestown Guards, which 
crossed the Potomac River above Harper's Ferry, and reached a building where 
the iusargeuts were posted by the canal, on the Maryland side. Smart firing 
occurred, and the rioters were driven from the bridge. One man was killed here, 
and another was arrested. A man ran out, and tried to escape by swiraraiug the 
river ; a dozen shots were fired after him ; he partially fell, but rose again, threw 
his gun away, and drew his pistols, but both snapped ; he drew his bowie-knife and 
cut his heavy accoutrements off, and plunged into the river ; one of the soldiers 
was about ten feet behind ; the man turned round, threw up his hands, and said, 
" Don't shoot !" The soldier fired, and the man fell into the water, with his face 
blown away. His coat-skirts were cut from his person, and in the pockets was 
found a captain's commission, to Capt. E. H. Leeman, from the Provisional Govern- 
ment. The commission was dated Oct. 15, 1859, and signed by A. W. Brown, 
Commander-in-Chief of the army of the Provisional Government of the United 
States. A party of five of the insurrectionists, armed with Minie rifles and posted 
in the rifle Armory, were expelled by the Charlestown Guards. They all ran for 
the river, and one, who was unable to swim, was drowned. The other four swam 
out to the rocks in the middle of the Shenandoah, and fired upon the citizens and 
troops upon both banks. This drew upon them the muskets of between 200 and 
300 men, and not less than 400 shots "were fired at them from Harper's Ferry, 
about 200 yards distant. One was finally shot dead ; the second, a negro, 
attempted to jump over the dam, but fell shot, and was not seen afterward ; the 
third was badly wounded, and the remaining one was taken unharmed. The white 
insurgent, wounded and captured, died in a few moments after, in the arms of our 
informant ; he was shot through the breast and stomach. He declared that there 
■were only nineteen whites engaged in the insurrection. For nearly an hour a running 
and random firing was kept up by the troops against the rioters. Several were shot 
down, and many managed to limp away wounded. During the firing the women and 
children ran shrieking in every direction, but when they learned that the soldiers 
were their protectors they took courage, and did good service in the way of preparing 
refreshments and attending the wounded. Our informant, who was on the hill where 
the firing was going on, says all the terrible scenes of a battle passed in reality before 
his eyes. Soldiers could be seen pursuing, singly and in couples, and the crack of a 
musket or rifle was generally followed by one or more of the insurgents biting the 
dust. The dead lay in the streets where they fell. The wounded were cared for. 

The Shepherdstown troops next arrived, marching down the Shenandoah side, 
and joining the Charlestown forces at the bridge. A desultory exchange of shots 
followed, one of which struck Mr. Fontaine Beckham, mayor of the town, and 
agent of the railroad company, entering his breast and passing entirely through his 
body. The ball was a large elongated slug, and made a dreadful wound. Mr. 
Beckham died almost immediately. He was without fire-arms, and was exposed for 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 'SS 

ouly a moment while approaching a water-station. His assailant, one of Brown's 
sons, was shot almost iramediatel}'', but managed to get back to the engine-house, 
where his body was found next day. 

The death of Mr. Beckham greatly excited the populace, who immediately raised 
a cry to bring out the prisoner, Thompson. He was brought out on the bridge, 
and there shot down. He fell into the water, and some appearance of life still 
remaining, he was riddled with balls. 

RESCUE OF THE WORKMEN. 

While this was going on, the Martinsburg levies arrived at the upper end of the 
town, and entering the Armory grounds by the rear, made an attack from that 
side. This force was largely composed of railroad employees, gathered from the ton- 
nage trains at Martinsburg, and their attack was generally spoken of as showing 
the greatest amount of fighting pluck exhibited during the day. Dashing on, firing 
and cheering, and led by Captain Alburtis, they carried the building in which the 
Armory men were imprisoned, and released the whole of them. They were, how- 
ever but poorly armed, some with pistols and others with shot-guns ; and when they 
came within range of the engine-house, where the elite of the insurrectionists were 
gathered, and were exposed to the rapid and dexterous use of Sharpe's rifles, they 
were forced to fall back, suffering pretty severely. Conductor Evans Dorsey, of 
Baltimore, was killed instantly, and Conductor George Eichardson received a wound 
from which he died during the day. Several others were wounded, among them a 
son of Dr. Hammond of Martinsburg. 

LATER CASUALTIES. 

A guerrilla warfare was maintained during the rest of the day, resulting in the 
killing of two of the insurrectionists and the wounding of a third. One crawled out 
through a culvert leading into the Potomac, and attempted to cross to the Mary- 
land side. He was shot while crossing the river, and fell dead on the rocks. A 
light mulatto was shot just outside the Armory gate. The ball went through the 
throat, tearing away the principal arteries, and killing him instantly.. His name is 
not known, but he is one of the free negroes who came with Brown. His body was 
left in the street until noon yesterday, exposed to every indignity that could be 
heaped upon it by the excited populace. 

At this time a tall, powerful man, named Aaron Stephens, came out from the 
Armory, conducting some prisoners, it was said. He was twice shot — once in the 
side, once in the breast. He was then captured and taken to a tavern, and after 
the insurrection was quelled was turned over to the United States authorities in a 
precarious condition. During the afternoon a sharp little affair took place on the 
Shenandoah side of the town. The insurrectionists had also seized Hall's rifle 
works, and a party of their assailants found their way in through a mill-race and 
dislodged them. 

In this encounter, it was said, three insurrectionists were killed, but only one 
dead body was found, that of a negro, on that side of the town. Night by this 



84 THE HAEPER'S FERRY IJTSURRECTIOK 

time set in, and operations ceased. Guards were placed around the Armory, and 
every precaution taken to prevent escapes. 

THE NIGHT SCENES. 

At 11 o'clock the Monday night train, with Baltimore military and marines, 
arrived at Sandy Hook, where they waited for the arrival of Colonel Lee, deputized 
by the War Department to take the command. The night passed without any 
serious alarms, but not without excitement. The marines were marched over imme- 
diately after their arrival, when Colonel Lee stationed them within the Armory 
grounds, so as to completely surround the engine-house. Occasionally shots were 
fired by country volunteers, but what for was not ascertained. There was only 
one return fire from the insurgents. 

NEGOTIATIONS NEXT MORNING. 

Early next morning a door was opened in the building occupied by the insur- 
gents, and one of the men came out with a flag of truce, and delivered what was 
supposed to be terms of capitulation. Tlie continued preparations for assault 
showed they were not accepted. Shortly after 7 o'clock. Lieutenant E. B. Stuart, of 
the 1st Cavalry, who was acting as aid for Colonel Lee, advanced to parley with 
the besieged, Samuel Strider, Esq., old and respectable citizen, bearing a flag of 
truce. They were received at the door by Capt. Cook. Lieutenant Stuart 
demanded an unconditional surrender, only promising them protection from imme- 
diate violence and a trial by law. Captain Brown refused all terms but those pre- 
viously demanded, which were substantially, " That they should be permitted to 
march out with their men and arms, taking their prisoners with them ; that they 
should proceed unpursued to the second toll-gate, when they would free their priso- 
ners ; the soldiers would then be permitted to pursue them, and they would fight 
if they could not escape." Of course, this was refused, and Lieutenant Stuart 
pressed upon Brown his desperate position, and urged a surrender. The expostu- 
lation, though beyond ear-shot, was evidently very earnest. At this moment the 
interest of the scene was most intense. The volunteers were ranged all around 
the building, cutting off escape in every direction. The marines, divided in two 
squads, were ready for a dash at the door. 

THE BUILDING STORMED. 

Finally, Lieutenant Stuart, having failed to arrange terms with the determined 
Captain Brown, walked slowly from the door. 

Immediately the signal for attack was given, and the marines, headed by Colonel 
Harris and Lieutenant Green, advanced in two lines on each side of the door. Two 
powerful fellows sprung between the lines, and with heavy sledge-hammers 
attempted to batter down the door. The door swung and swayed, but appeared to 
be secured with a rope, the spring of which deadened the effect of the blows. 
Failing thus, they took hold of a ladder, some forty feet long, and advancing at a 
run, brought it with tremendous effect against the door. At the second blow it 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTIOlSr. 86 

gave way, one leaf falling inward in a slanting position. The marines immedi- 
ately advanced to the breach, Major Russell and Lieutenant Green leading. A 
marine in front fell. 

The firing from the interior was rapid and sharp. They fired with deliberate 
aim, and for a moment the resistance was serious, and desperate enough to excite 
the spectators to something like a pitch of frenzy. The next moment the marines 
poured in, the firing ceased, and the work was done ; in the assault private Rufiert 
of the marines received a ball in the stomach, and was believed to be fatally 
wounded. Another received a slisrht flesh wound. 



APPEARANCE OF THE PRISONERS. 

When the insurgents were brought out, some dead and others wounded, they 
were greeted vrith execrations, and only the precautions that had been taken, saved 
them from immediate" execution. The crowd, nearly every man of which carried a 
gun, swayed with tumultuous excitement, and cries of " Shoot them i shoot them 1" 
rang from every side. The appearance of the liberated prisoners, all of whom 
through the steadiness of the marines, escaped injury, changed the current of feelino- 
and prolonged cheers took the place of howls and execrations. 

The lawn in front of the engine-house, after the assault presented a dreadful 
sight. Lying on it were two bodies of men killed on the previous day, and found inside 
the house ; three wounded men, one of them just at the last gasp of life, and two 
others groaning in pain. One of the dead was Brown's son, Oliver. The wounded 
father and his son Watson, were lying on the grass, the old man presenting a a'ory 
spectacle. He had a severe bayonet wound in his side, and his face and hair were 
clotted with blood. 

brown's conversation. 

A short time after CaiDtain Brown was brought out he revived and talked earn- 
estly to those about him, defending his course and avowing that he had done only 
what was right. He replied to questions substantially as follows : " Are you Cap- 
tain Brown, of Kansas ?" " I am sometimes called so."' "Are you Ossawatomie 
Brown ?" " I tried to do my duty there." " What was your present object ?" 
" To free the slaves from bondage." " Were any other persons but those with you 
now, connected with the movement ?" " No." " Did you expect aid from the 
North ?" " No ; there was no one connected with the movement but those who 
came with me." "Did you expect to kill people in order to carry your point ?" 
" I did not wish to do so, but you force us to it." Various questions of this kind 
were put to Captain Brown, which he answered clearly and freely, with seeming 
anxiety to vindicate himself. 

He urged that he had the town at his mercy ; that he could have burned it and 
murdered the inhabitants, but did not ; he had treated the prisoners with 
courtesy, and complained that he was hunted down like a beast. He spoke of the 
killing of his son, which he alleged was done while bearing a flag of truce, and 



.86 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTIOK 

seemed very anxious for the safety of his wounded son. His conversation bore the 
impression of the conviction that whatever he had done to free slaves was rio-ht, 
and that in the warfare in which he was engaged he was entitled to be treated with 
all the respect of a prisoner of war. 

He seemed fully convinced that he was badly treated, and had a right to com- 
plain. Although at first considered dying, an examination of his wounds proved 
that they were not necessarily fatal. He expressed a desire to live and to be tried 
by his country. In his pockets nearly $300 were found in gold. Several important 
papers, found in his possession, were taken charge of by Col. Lee, on behalf of the 
Government. To another. Brown said it was no part of his purpose to seize the 
public arms. He had arms and ammunition enough reshipped from Kansas. He 
only intended to make the first demonstration at this point, when he expected to 
receive a rapid increase of the allies from Abolitionists everywhere settled through 
Maryland and Virginia, suflScient to take possession of both States, with all of the 
negroes they could capture. He did not expect to encounter the Federal troops. 
He had only a general idea as to his course ; it was to be a general southwest 
course through Virginia, varying as circumstances dictated or required. Mr. 
Washington reports that Brown was remarkably cool during the assault. He fell 
under two bayonet wounds — one in the groin, and one in the breast, and four sabre 
cuts on the head. During the fight he was supposed to be dead, or doubtless he 
would have ibeen shot. He was not touched by a ball. The prisoners also state 
that Brown was courteous to them, and did not ill-use them, and made no abolition 
speech to them. Coppie, one of the prisoners, said he did not want to join the 
expedition, but added : " Ah, you gentlemen don't know Capt. Brown ; when he 
calls for us we never think of refusing to come." 



CAPTURE OF ARMS. 

During Tuesday morning, one of Washington's negroes came in and reported 
that Captain Cook was on the mountain, only three miles off ; about the same time 
some shots were said to have been fired from the Maryland hills, and a rapid fusi- 
lade was returned from Harper's Ferry. The Independent Grays, of Baltimore, 
immediately started on a scouting expedition, and in two hours returned with two 
wagons loaded with arms and ammunition, found at Captain Brown's house. 

The arms consisted of boxes filled with Sharpe's rifles, pistols, etc., all bearing 
the stamp of the Massachusetts Manufacturing Company, Chicopee, Mass. There 
were also found a quantity of United States ammunition, a large number of spears, 
sharp iron bowie knives fixed upon poles, a terrible looking weapon, intended for 
the use of the negroes, with spades, pickaxes, shovels, and everything else that 
might be needed : thus proving that the expedition was well provided for, that a 
large party of men were .expected to be armed, and that abundant means had 
been provided to pay all expenses. 

How all these supplies were got up to this farm without attracting observation 
is very strange. They are supposed to have been brought through Pennsyl- 



THE HARPEE'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 87 

vania. The Grays pursued Cook so fast that they secured part of his arms, but 
with his more perfect knowledge of localities he was enabled to evade them. 

TREATMENT OF BROWN's PRISONERS. 

The citizens imprisoned by the insurrectionists all testify to their lenient treat- 
ment. They were neither tied nor insulted, and beyond the outrage of restricting 
their liberty were not ill-used. Captain Brown was always courteous to them, and 
at all times assured them that they would not be injured. He explained his pur- 
poses to them, and while he had them (the workmen) in confinement, made no 
abolition speech to them. Colonel Washington speaks of him as a man of extra- 
ordinary nerve. He never blanched during the assault, though he admitted in the 
night that escape was impossible, and that he would have to die. When the door 
was broken down, one of his men exclaimed, "I surrender." The captain imme- 
diately cried out, " There's one surrenders — give him quarter ;" and at the same 
moment fired his own rifle at the door. 

During the previous night he spoke freely with Colonel Washington, and referred 
to his sons. He said he had lost one in Kansas and two here. He had not pressed 
them to join him in the expedition, but did not regret their loss — they had died in a 
glorious cause. 

brown's papers and stores. 
On the 18th, a detachment of marines and some volunteers made a visit to Brown's 
house. They found a large quantity of blankets, boots, shoes, clothes, tents, 
and fifteen hqndred pikes, with large blades. They also discovered a carpet- 
bag, containing documents throwing much light on the affair, printed constitutions 
and by-laws of an organization, showing or indicating ramifications in various 
States of the Union. They also found letters from various individuals at the 
North — one from t'red Douglass, containing ten dollars from a lady for the cause ; 
also a letter from Gerrit Smith, about money matters, and a check or draft by 
him for $100, indorsed by the cashier of a New York bank, name not recollected. 
All these were taken by Governor Wise. The Governor issued a proclamation 
offering $1,000 reward for Cook. 

the names op the insurgents. 
The names of all the parties engaged on Sunday night, except three white men 
whom he admits he sent away on an errand, are as follows, with their proper titles 
under the Provisional Government : 

WHITES. 

OFFICERS OF THE PARTY. 

General John Brown, Commander-in-Chief, wounded, bat will recover. 
Captain Oliver Brown, dead. 
Captain Watson Brown, dead. 

Captain Aaron C. Stephens, of Connecticut, wounded badly. He has three 
balls, and cannot possibly recover. 

8 



88 THE HAEPER'S FEEEY INSUEEEOTION'. 

Lieutenant Edwin Coppie, of Iowa, unhurt. 
Lieutenant Albert Hazlitt, of Pennsylvania, dead. 
Lieutenant William Leeman, of Maine, dead. 
Captain John E. Cook, of Connecticut, escaped. 

PRIVATES. 

Stewart Taylor, of Canada, dead. 

Charles P. Tidd, of Maine, dead. 

William Thompson, of New York, dead. 

Adolph Thompson, of New York, dead. 

Captain John Kagi, of Ohio, raised in Virginia, dead. 

Lieutenant Jeremiah Anderson, of Indiana, dead. 

With three whites preriously sent off, making seventeen whites. 

NEGROES. 

Dangerfield, newly.of Ohio, raised in Virginia, dead. 

Emperor, of New York, raised in South Carolina, not wounded, but a prisoner. 
He was elected a member of the Provisional Government some time. since. 

Lewis Leary, of Ohio, raised in Virginia, dead. 

Copland, of Ohio, raised in Virginia, not wounded, a prisoner at Charlestown. 

The insurrectionists did not attempt to rob the paymaster's department at the 
Armory. A large amount of money was there, but it was not disturbed. 

Perfect order having been restored, the military, with the exception of the 
United States marines, who remained in charge of the prisoners, left on Tuesday 
in various trains for home. 

The prisoners were taken to Charlestown jail for safe keeping. 

For two or three days the country in the vicinity of the outbreak was in con- 
stant , excitement, and the wildest rumors were rife of the terrible doings of 
Cook and other more imaginary insurgents ; but the stories afl proved false, and 
before the dawn of the Sabbath, all was quiet. 

The whole number of killed and wounded was counted up as follows : — Killed, six 
citizens and fifteen insurgents ; wounded, three insurgents ; prisoners, five. 

'.■.>3 9(i Hti.: 



.vrio 






THE HABPEE'S FEKRY INSUKREOTION. 89 



FACTS AND INCIDENTS. 



STATEMENT OF COL. JOHN A. WASHINGTON. 

Col. Joitn A. "Washington, a distant relative of George Washington, and who was taken 
prisoner by Oapt. Brown, makes the following interesting statement: 

Between one and two o'clock on Sunday night, I was in my bed at my honse, nve or six 
miles from Harper's Ferry ; I was awai<ened by hearing my name called in the hall ; I 
supposed it was some friends arrived, who, being acquainted with the house, had come in 
through the kitchen without making any noi>e; I got up and opened the door into the 
hall, and before rae stood four men, three armed with Sliarpe's rifles, levelled and cocked, 
and the fourth — this man Stephens — with a revolver in his riglit hand, and in his left a 
lighted flambeau, made of pine whittlings. As I opened the door, one of the men said: 
" Is your name Washington ?" Said I, " That is my name." Perhaps also Cook, who wag 
of the crowd, also identified rae, as he told me afterward he was taken tliere for that 
), purpose. I was then told that I was a prisoner, and one of them said, '"Don't be 
friglitened." I replied, "Do you see anything that U)oks like fright about me?" " No," 
he said, " I only want to say, that if you surrender and come with us freely, you are safe." 
I told them I understood tliat sufficiently, and there was no necessity for further expla- 
nation ; but I was struck with the number of men sent against me, and asked w'-hat need 
there was of so many, as there was no danger of an unarmed man in his night-shirt 
resisting an armed force. I was told to put on my clothes, and of course complied. 
"Perhaps," said I, " while, I am dressing, you well be so good as to tell me what all this 
means?" I inquired what the weather was outside, and one of them advised rae to put 
on an overcoat, as it was rather chilly. Anotiier said tliey wanted my arras, and I 
opened the gun-closet for them to help themselves. Tliey tlien explained their mission, 
which they represented to be purely pliilanthropic, to wit, the emancipation of all the 
slaves in the country. After I was dressed, Stephens said to me, "'Have you got any 
money ?" I replied, " I wisli I had a great deal." " Be careful, sir," said lie. I told him 
if I had money I knew how to take care of it, and he could not get it. Said he, " Have 
you a watch?" My reply was, "I have, but you cannot have it. You have set your- 
selves up as great moralists and liberators of slaves; now it appears that you are robbers 
as well." " Be careful, sir," said he again. I told them I was dressed and ready to go. 
They bade me to wait a sliort time and ray carriage would be at the door. They had 
ordered ray carriage for me, and pryed open the stable-door to get it out. They had 
harnessed the horses on tiie wrong side of eacii other, and I tried to induce them to correct 
the mistake, which tliey did after driving a short distance, but still, being harnessed 
wrong, and rather spirited animals, they would not work well. 

My servant, whom they had forced along, was driving. I suspected they were only 
robbers, and was expecting all along that they would turn off at some point, but they 
drove directly to the armory. Brown came out and invited me in, saying tliere was a 
comfortable fire, and I shortly afterward met with Mr. Allstadt, whom they had arrested 
on the way and brought along in my busrgy wagon. While coming along, the horses 
being restive, 1 got out and walked up a hill with one of the men, who took occasion to 
ask ray views on the subject of Slavery in the abstract. I declined an argument on the 
subject, but he still pressed it upon rae, and I was obliged to refuse the second time. 

Brown told us to make ourselves comfortable, and added, " By and by I shall reqniro 
each of you, gentlemen, to write to some of your friends to send a stoilt negro man in 
your place." This was by way of ransom. He told us he must see the letter before it 
was sent, and he tliought after tliis was effected they could make an arrangement by 
"which we could return home. I determined in my own mind not to raako the requisition, 



40 THE HAEPEE'S FEEEY INStJEEEOTIOK 

but he never made application for it, having other matters, before the day expired, 
attracting liis attention. 

My sword, wliich had been presented by Frederick the Great to General Washington, 
was taken from my house, with other arms. Tliis man Cook had been at my house some 
time before and seen the arms, and at tljat time I beat him at sliooting, and lie tohl me I 
was the best shot he had ever met. On the way to Harpei''s Ferry he asked me if I had 
shot any since, and made an apology for being with this party after being so well treated 
by me. I told him it was of no consequence about the apology, but I would ask one favor 
of iiim, which was to use his influence to have returned to me the old sword and an old 
pistol, which, in the present improved state of arras, were only valuable in consideration 
of their history. He promised to attend to it, and shortly after reaching tlie armory I 
fiund tlie sword in Old Brown's hands. Said Brown, "I will take especial care of it, 
and I shall endeavor to return it to you after you are i-eleased." He carried the sword in 
his hands all day on Monday, until after the arrival of tlie military. 

Upon the first announcement of the arrival of the militia. Brown came into the room and 
picked out ten of us, whom ho supposed to be the most prominent men. He told us we 
might be assured of good treatment, because, in case he got the worst of it in tlie fight, the 
possession of us would be of service in procuring good terms; we could exercise great 
influence with our fellow-citizens ; and as for me, he ]<nevv if I was out I should do my duty, 
and, in my position as aid to the Governor I sliould be a most dangerous foe. Then we 
were taken into the engine-house and closely confined. Two of our number went back- 
ward and forward repeatedly to confer with citizens during the negotiations, and finally 
remained out altogether, leaving, the eight wlio were in-ide when the building was 
assaulted and captured by the marines. During Monday various terms of capitulation 
were proposed and refused, and at night we requested our friends to cease firing during 
the night, as, if the place should be stormed in the dark, friends and foes would have to 
share alike. In tiie morning Capt. Sinims, of Frederick, announced the arrival of the 
United States Marines. During the night he had brought in Dr. Tayh)r, of Frederick, to 
look at tlie wounds of old Brown's son. The surgeon looked at the man, and promised 
to attend him again in tlie morning if practicable, but about the time he was expected 
hostilities had commenced. 

Ool. Lee, who commanded the United States forces, sent up Lieut. Stuart to announce 
to Brown that the only terms he would otfer for surrender were, that he and his men 
should be taken to a place of safety and kept unmolested until the will of the President 
could be a-icertained. Brown's reply was to the effect that he could expect no leniency, 
and he would sell his life as dearly as possible. A few minutes later the place was 
assaulted and taken. Injustice to Brown, I will say that he advised the prisoners to keep 
well under shelter during the firing, and at no time did he threaten to massacre us or place 
us in front in case of assault. It was evident he did not expect the attack so soon. There 
was no cry of " surrender " by his party except from one young man, and tlien Brown 
said, " Only one surrenders." This fellow, after he saw the marines, said he would prefer 
to take his chance of a trial at Washington. He had taken his position, and fireil one or two 
shots, when he cried "surrender." There were four of Brown's party able to fight wlien 
the marines attacked, besides a negro, making five in all. This negro was very bold at 
first, but when the assault was made, he took off his accoutrements, and tried to mingle 
with tlie prisoners, and pass himself oif as one of tliem. I handed him over to the marines 
at once, saying he was a prisoner at all events. 



MILITAEY OFFICIAL ACCOUNT. 

Ool. Eobert W. Baylor, the officer in command of the Virginia troops engaged in tlio 
capture of Brown and his men, made the following official report to Governor Wise : 

Harper's Ferrt, Oct. 18, 1859. 
Henry A. Wise, Governor of Virginia; 

Sir — Your order, per telegraph, dated Eichraond, Va., the I7th instant, calling my 
attention to section 1st, chapter 29th, of the Code, and to the fact tl^at the Arsenal, and 
government property at Harper's Ferry were in possession of a band of rioters, was not 
received till about 11 o'clock a.m. to-day, in consequence of the telegraphic posts round 
about here having been cut down by an audacious band of insurgents and robbers. 

On tlie morning of tlie 17th inst., I received information at Charlestown that a bandl 
of abolitionists from the North had taken possession of the Arsenal and workshops of thei 



% 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 41 

government located liere; that they had killed several of our citizens, taken others and 
held tliein as prisoners, and that they liad in possession a large number of slaves, who, on 
the night of the 16th inst., were forcibly taken from tlieir masters. 

I iinmediately ordered out tlie ''Jefferson Guard" and tlie citizens of Cliarlestown, 
whicli order was quickly resjjonded to, and by ten o'clock a.m. tliey were armed and 
611 route for this place. We left Charle^town with about one hundred men, and on 
reaching Halltown (midway between Charlestowu and Harper's Ferry), we learned that 
the insurgents were in large numbers, and we at once dispatclied orders to Col. L. F. 
Moore, of Frederick County, and to the " Hamtramck Guards" and " Shepherdstown 
Troop " to reinforce immediately. We reached Harper's Ferry about half-past eleven 
o'clock, A.M., and took our position on Camp Hill. We immediately dispatclied the 
" Jefferson Guards," commanded by Capt. J. W. Rowan and Lieutenants H. B. Daven- 
port, E. n. Campbell and W. B. Gallaher, to cross the Potomac River about a mile west 
of the Ferrj', and march down on the Maryland side and take possession of tlie Potomac 
bridge; and a company of the citizens of Ciiarlestowu and vicinity, commanded by Capt. 
L. Botts and Lieut. F. Lackland, to cross the Winchester and Potomac railroad by way 
of Jefferson's Rock, to take possession of the Gait House, in the rear of the Arsenal, and 
commanding the entrance to the Armory yard. Capt. John Avis and R. B. Washington, 
Esq., witli a liandful of men, were ordered to take possession of the houses commanding 
tlie yard of the Arsenal. All these orders were promptly and successfully executed. 

Tlie bridge across tlie Shenandoah River and tliat of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, 
at tlie west end of the trestle work, and the street leading from the rifle factory, were 
guarded by small detachments of men. 

Between three and four o'clock p.m., the Hamtramck Guards, Shepherstown Troop, and 
a company from Martinsburg, commanded by Cnpt. E. Albiirtis, arrived on the ground. 
The company from Winchester, commanded by Capt. R. B. Washington, did not arrive 
till late in the evening. 

All tlie insurgents, save those who were killed and wounded through the day, retired 
with their prisoners into tlie guard-house and engine-room, just inside of the gate of the 
armory yard, which was firndy locked. About three o'clock p.m., the enemy, with the 
most prominent of their prisoners, concentrated in the engine-room, leaving a large num- 
ber of tlieir prisoners fastened up in the guard-house. At this point, and after the arrival 
of the reinforcements from Shepherdstown and Martinsburg, Col. R. W. Baylor assumed 
the command, and will furnish you with the details of what followed. 

The avowed and confessed object of the insurgents was to free the slaves of the South. 
They had at their head-quarters, near Harper's Ferry, 200 Sharpe's rifles, 200 revolvers, 
1,000 pikes, a large number of picks and shovels, and a great quantity of ammunition and 
other things used in war. All these were taken and are in possession of the federal 
government. 

Jno. Thos. Gibsobt, 

Com'dt 55th Regiment. 

Charlestowu, Oct. 22, 1859. 
Hon. Henry A. Wise, Governor of Virginia : 

Sir — Having received intelligence from Harper's Ferry on the morning of the 17th 
instant that the abolitionists had invaded our State, taken possession of the town, govern- 
ment property and arms, I immediately proceeded to the scene of action. In passing 
through Cliarlestown, I met Colonel Gibson, with the Jefferson Guards, under arms. We 
proceeded to Halltown in tlie cars, where the citizens of that place informed me I could 
proceed no further with the train, as not only the Winchester but also the Baltimore and 
Ohio Railroad track had been taken up. At this place I learned they had taken seventy- 
five or one hundred of our citizens prisoners, and had carried off many of our slaves. 
Thereupon I issued the following order to Col. L. T. Moore, of the Thirty-first regiment 
of Virginia militia : 

''October IV, 1859. 
"Col. L. T, Moore: Sir — You are ordered to muster all the volunteer forces under 
your command, fully armed and equipped, and report to me forthwith at Harper's Ferry. 

" Robert W. Baylor, 
" Col. Third regiment Cavalry." 

I placed the above order in charge of Capt. Bailey, the conductor on the Winchester 
road, and directed him to return with his train to Winchester, and deliver the order to 



42 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 

Col. Moore. I proceeded on, with tlie few troops we had under arms, on foot to Harper's 
Ferrv, where wc arrived about 12 o'clock. I found the citizens in very great excitement. 
Bv this time tiie insurgents occupied all the lower part of the toAvn, had tiieir sentinels 
posted on all the different streets, and had shot one of our citizens and a negro man who 
had charge of the depot on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. I here formed two com- 
panies of the citizens, and placed them under the command of Captain Lawsun Botts and 
Captain John Avis. Tlieir forces were variously estimated from 300 to 500 strong, armed 
with Sliarpe's rifles and revolvers. 

T detaclied the Jefferson Guards, under the command of Capt. Rowan, and ordered 
them to cross the Potnmac River in boats, about two miles above Harper's Ferry, and 
march down on the Maryland side, and take possession cf the bridge, and permit no one 
to pass. This order was strictly executed. The command under Cai)t. Botts was ordered 
to pass down the hill below Jefferson's Rock and take possession of the Sbenaiyloah 
bri(lge, to leave t strong guard at that point, and to march down to the Gait House, in 
rear of the Arsenal building, in which we supposed their men were lodged. Captain 
Avis' command was ordered to take possession of the houses directly in front of the 
Arsenal. Both of the above commands were promptly executed. By this movement we 
prevented any escape. Shortly after this, a report reached me that Geo. TV. Turner and 
Fontaine Beckham, two of our most e-teemed citizens, had been shot. About four o'clock 
we were reinforced by the arrival of the Hamtramck Guards, under the command of 
Captain Butler; the Shepherdstown Troop, under the command of Captain Reinhart, and 
some thirty citizens of Marti nsburg, under the conmiand of Captain Alburtis. I ordered 
Captain Alburtis to march down Potomac street through the Armory yard to the 
Arsenal. The Hamtramck Guards and the Shepherdstown Troop (dismounted and armed 
with muskets), utider my command, proceed down High street to the centre of the town, 
in front of the Arsenal. During this march, the insurgents, having secreted themselves 
in the engine-house in the Armory yard, opened a brisk fire on Captain Alburtis' com- 
pany. The fire was quickly returned by Captain Alburtis' companj^ who behaved very 
bravely. The different companies near at hand rallied to Captain Alburtis' rescue. 

The firing at this time was heavj^, and the insurgents could not have retained their 
position many minutes, wiien they pre.sented at the door a white flag. The firing there- 
upon ceased, and I ordered the troops to draw up in line in front of the Arsenal. During 
this engagement and tiie previous skirmishes, we had ten men wounded, two I fear mor- 
tally. The insurgents had eleven killed, one mortally wounded, and two taken prisoners, 
leaving only five in the engine-house, and one of them seriously wounded. 

Iti this engagement, we rescued about thirty of our citizens, whom they held as 
prisoners in the guard-house ; they still held in the engine-house, ten citizens and five 
slaves. 

Immediately after the troops were withdrawn, Capt. Brown sent to me, through Isaac 
Russell, one of their prisoners, a verbal communication, stating if I w^ould permit, him to 
cross the bridge with his prisoners to some point beyond he would set' them at liberty. I 
sent him the following reply in writing : 

" Headquarters, Harper's Ferry. 
" Capt. John Bro-wtst : 

"Sir — Upon consultation with Mr. Isaac Russell, one of your prisoners, who has come 
to me on terms of capitulation, I say to you, if you will set at liberty our citizens, we will 
leave i:lie government to deal with you concerning their property as it may think most 
advisable. 

'.' RoBEET W. Baylor, 

" Col. Commandant." 

In reply, I received the following answer in writing: 

'' Capt. John Brown, answers : 

" In^ consideration of all my men, whiether living or dead, oT wounded, being soon 
safely in, and <lelivered up to me at this point, with all their arms and ammunition, Mf« 
will tiien take our i)risoners and cross tlie Potomac bridge, a little beyond wliich we will 
set them at liberty; after which we can negotiate about the government property as mi' 
be best. Also, we require the delivery of our horse and harness at the hotel 



" John Beown."' 



To tlie above, I returned the following answer: 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 48 

" Headquartkbs. 
" Oapt. John Bkown : 

"Sir. — The terms you proposed I cannot accept. Under no consideration will I 
consent to a removal of our citizens across the river. The only negotiations upon which 
I will consent to treat, are those which have heen pi'eviously proposed to you. 

" Robert W. Baylor, 

" Col. Commandant." 

These terms he declined. Night by this time had set in, and the weather being very 
inclement, I thought it best, for the safety of our citizens whom they held as prisoners, to 
cease operations for the niglit. Should I have ordered an attack at that hour, and in 
total darkness, our troops would have been as likely to have murdered our own citizens 
as the insurgents, all being in the same apartment. Having concluded to postpone 
another attack until morning, guards were posted around the Armory, and every pre- 
caution taken to prevent escape. Our troops by this time required some refreshment, 
having been on active duty and exposed to a heavy fall of rain all day. A little after 
night we were reinforced by Colonel L. T. Moore, of the Thirty-first regiment, having 
under liis command the Continental Guards, commanded by Captain "Washington, and the 
Rifles, commanded by Captain Clarke ; also, three companies from Frederick, Maryhxnd, 
under tlie command of Colonel Shiver. About twelve o'clock. Colonel Lee arrived, hav- 
ing under his command eighty-five marines from "Wasliington. The government troops 
took possession of the government property and formed inside of the Armory yard, in 
close proximity to the engine-house. In this position Colonel Lee thought it best to 
remain until morning. The night passed without serious alarm, but not without intense 
excitement. It was agreed between Colonel Lee and myself that the volunteer forces 
should form around on the outside of the government property, and clear tlie streets of 
all citizens and spectators, to prevent tliem firing random sliots, to the great danger of our 
soldiers, and to remain in that position whilst he would attack tlie engine-house with his 
marines. As soon as day dawned, the troops were drawn up in accordance with the 
above arrangement. After which Colonel Lee demanded of the insurgents to surrender 
upon the terms I iiad before proposed to tliem, which they still declined. The marines 
w^re then ordered to force the doors. The attempt was made with heavy sledges, but 
proved iueifectual. They were then ordered to attack the doors with a lieavy ladder 
whicli was lying a short distance off. After two powerful efforts, the door was shattered 
sufficiently to obtain an entrance. Immediately a lieavy vulley was fired in by the 
marines, and an entrance effected, which soon terminated the conflict. In this engage- 
ment, the marines had one killed and one slightly wounded. The insurgents had two 
killed and three taken prisoners. After the firing ceased, the imprisoned citizens walked 
out unhurt. 

Ascertaining that the whole party within the town were either killed or taken prison- 
ers, 1 disbanded all the troops, witli the exception of the Jefferson Guard, whom I 
retained on duty to prevent any further disturbances should tliey arise. 

About twelve o'clock on Tuesday, information having been received that a large num- 
ber of arms were secreted in a house in the mountain, the Independent Grays, of Balti- 
more, were dispatched to search for them. They returned about six o'cloclf, having 
found two hundred Sharpe's rifles, two hundred revolvers, twenty-three thousand per- 
cussion caps, one hundred thousand percussion pistol caps, ten kegs of gunpowder, thir- 
teen thousand ball cartridges for Sharpe's rifles, one n'.ajorvgeneral's sword, fifteen hun- 
dred pikes, and a large assortment of blankets and clothing of every description. On 
"Wednesday the prisoners were placed in the custody of the sheriff of our county, and 
safely lodged in jail. Disturbances still occurring on the Maryland side of the river, I 
marched tiie Jefterson Guard over and made a thorougli examination of their rendezvous; 
found h deserted and everything quiet. "We returned about six o'clock to the Ferry ; 
shortly after there was another general alarm, which caused great excitement. 

The alarm was occasioned by a gentleman, residing in Pleasant "VaUey, riding into town 
in great haste, stating that he saw firing and heard the screams of the people, and that a 
large number of insurgents had collected and were murdering all before them. Forth- 
with Col. Lee, with thirty marines, proceeded to the spot, and the Jefferson Guards took 
posses>:ion of the bridge. In about three hours Col. Lee returned, the alarm having 
proved to have been false. 

Notliing further having occurred daring the night to disturb the quiet of the town, on 
the following morning I disbanded the company and returned home. 



U THE HARPER'S FERRY I^SURRECTIOK 

I feel it my duty, before closing this report, to state that the arms in the possession of 
the volunteer companies in this section of tiie State are almost worthless. I do not think 
"we have 100 muskets in the county of Jefferson, a border county, and one of the most 
exposed of all others. With such arms as we fiave, it is butcliery to require our troopa 
to face an enemy much better equipped. Colonel Moore, of the Thirty-first regiment, 
informs me in his report, that, out of one hundred and tliirty-five men on duty, he liad not 
tliirty pieces that would fire with any effect. If the State expects her volunteers to pro- 
tect her, she must arm them better. 

Knowing the great interest that will be felt throughout the State, and to vindicate the 
honor and valor of the troops under my command, I have been more than necessarily 
minute in this report. I am pleased to inform you, that they obeyed every order with 
alacrity, and with a full determination to do their duty. 

The prisoners are doing well, and I do not fear any attempt will be made to rescue 
them, or that any further disturbances will occur. 

1 have the honor to be, very respectfully, 

RoBEET W. Baylor, 
Col. Commanding the Va. Troops at Harper's Ferry. 



A CONYERSATION WITH BROWN". 

One of that ubiquitous class of persevering inquirers known as Reporters visited 
Harper's Ferry on the 18th and 19th of October, and was present at an interview between 
Senator Mason, Congressman Yallandigham, and the prisoner. Brown. The Reporter 
writes as follows : 

Harper's Ferry, Oct. 19, 1859. 

"Old Brown," or " Ossawatomie Brown," as he is often called, the hero of a dozen 
fights or so with the " border ruffians " of Missouri, in the days of " bleeding Kansas," is 
the head and front of this offending — the commander of the filibuster army. His wounds, 
which at first were supposed to be mortal, turn out to be mere flesli-wounds and scratches, 
not dangerous in their character. He has been removed, together with Stephens, the 
other wounded prisoner, from the engine-room to the office of the Armory, and they now 
lie on tlie floor, upon miserable shake-downs, covered with some old bedding. 

Bi'own is fifty-five years of age, rather small-sized, with keen and restless grey eyes, 
and a grizzly beard and hair. He is a wiry, active man, and, should the slightest cliance 
for an escape be afforded, there is no doubt that he will yet give Ids captors much trouble. 
His hair is matted and tangled, and his face, liands, and clothes, all smouched and smeared 
with blood. Colonel Lee stated that he would exclude all visitors from the room if the 
wounded men were annoyed or pained by them, but Brown said he was by no means 
annoyed ; on the contrary, he was glad to be able to make himself and his motives clearly 
understood. He converses freely, fluently and cheerfully, without the sliglitest manifesta- 
tion of fear or uneasiness, evidently weighing well his words, and possessing a good com- 
mand of language. His manner is courteous and aftable, and he appears to make a 
favorable impression upon his auditory, which, during most of the day yesterday, averaged 
about ten or a dozen men. 

When I arrived in the Arftiory, shortly after two o'clock in the aftei-noon, Brown was 
answering questions put to him by Senator Mason, who had just arrived from his residence 
at Winchester, thirty miles distant, Col. Faulkner, member of Congress, who lives but a 
few miles off, Mr. Yallandigham, member of Congress of Ohio, and several otlier distin- 
guished gentlemen. The following is a veriatim report of the conversation : 

Mr. Mason — Can you tell us, at least, who furnished money for your expedition ? 

Mr. Brown — I furnished most of it myself. I cannot implicate others. It is by my 
own folly that I have been taken. I could easily have saved myself from it had I exer- 
cised my own better judgment, rather than yielded to my feelings. 

Mr. Mason — You mean if you had escaped immediately? 

Mr. Brown— No; I had the means to make myself secure without any escape, but I 
allowed myself to be surrounded by a force by being too tardy. 

Mr. Mason — Tardy in getting away? 

Mr. Brown — I should have gone away, but I had thirty odd prisoners, whose wives 
and daughters were in tears for their safety, and I felt for them. Besides, I wanted to 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION". 45 

allny the fears of those who believed we came liere to bnrn and kill. For this reason I 
allowed tlie train to cross tlie bridge, and gave them full liberty to pass on. I did it only 
to spare the feelings of those passengers and their families, and to allay the api)reliensi()ns 
that you had got here in 3'oui- vicinity a band of men who had no regard for life and pro- 
perty, nor any feeling of Inimanityi 

Mr. Mason — But you killed some people passing along the streets quietly. 

Mr. BiiowN — \Vell, sir, if tliere was anything of that kind done, it was without my 
knowledge. Your own citizens, who were my prisoners, will till you tliat every possible 
means were taken to prevent it. I did not allow my men to fire, nor even to ri'turn a 
fire, when tliere was danger of killing those we regarded as innocent persons, if 1 could 
help it. They will tell you that we allowed ourselves to be fired at reiieatedly and did 
not return it. 

A Bystander — That is not so. You killed an unarmed man at the corner of the house 
over there (at the water tank) and another besides. 

Mr. Brown — St-e here, my friend, it is useless to dispute or contradict the report of 
your own neighbors who were my prisoners. 

Mr. Mason — If you would tell ns wl:o sent you here — who provided the means — that 
would be information of some value. 

Mr. Brown.— I will answer freely and faithfully about what concerns myself — I will 
answer anything I can with honor, but not about others. 

Mr. Vallandigiiam (member of Congress from Ohio, who had just entered) — Mr. 
Brown, who sent you here? 

Mr. Brown- — No man sent me here ; it was my own prompting and that of my Maker, 
or that of the devil, whichever you please to ascribe it to. I acknowledge no man in 
human form. 

Mr. VALLANDiGnAM — Did you get up the expedition yourself? 

Ml*. Brown — I did. 

Mr. Vali>andigham — Did you get up this document that is called a constitution? 

Mr. Brown — I did. They are a constitution and ordinances of my ovvn contriving and 
getting up. 

Mr. Vallandigham — How long have you been engaged in this business? 

Mr. Brown — From the breaking of the difficulties in Kansas. Four of my sons had 
gone there to settle, and they induced me to go. I did not go there to settle, but because 
of the difficulties. 

Mr. Mason. — How many are engaged with you in this movement? I ask those ques- 
tions for our own safety. 

Mr. Brown — Any questions that I can honorably answer I will, not otherwise. So 
far as I am myself concerned I have told everything truthfully. I value my word, 
sir. 

Mr. Mason — What was your object in coming? 

Mr. Brown — We came to free the slaves, and only that. 

A Young Man (in the uniform of a volunteer company) — How many men in all 
had you ? 

Mr. Brown — I came to Virginia with eighteen men only, besides myself. 

VoLiTNTKEB — What in the world did you suppose you could do here in Virginia with 
that amount of men? 

Mr. Brown — Young man, I don't wish to discuss that question here. 

Volunteer — You could not do anything. 

Mr. Brown — Well, perhaps your ideas and mine on military subjects would differ 
materially. 

Mr. Mason — How do you justify your acts ? 

Mr. Brown — I think, my friend, you are guilty of a great wrong against God and 
humanity — I say it without wishing to be offensive — and it would be perfectly right in 
any one to interfere with yon so far as to free those you wilfully and wickedly hold in 
bondage. I do not say this insultingly. 

Mr. Mason — I understand that. 

Mr. Brown — I think I did right, and that others will do right who interfere with you 
at any time and all times. I hold that the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would 
that others should do unto you," applies to all who would help others to gain their 
liberty. 

Lieut. Stuart — But you don't believe in the Bible. 

Mr, Brown — Certainly I do. 



46 THE HAEPEE'S FEEEY mSUEEECTIOK 

Mr. Vallandigham — Where did your men come from ? Did some of them come from 
Ohio? 

Mr. Brown — Some of tliem. 

Mr. Vallaxdigham — From the "Western Eeserve? None came from Scmtheni Oliio? 

Ml". Di.owx — Yes, I believe one came from below Steubenville, down not far from 
Wheeling. 

Mr VALT-ANDicnAM — Ifave you been in Ohio this summer? 

Mr. EuowN — Yes, sir. 

Mr. Vallandigham— Hew lately? 

Mr. 1>R0WN — I passed throagii to Pittsburg on my way in June. 

Mr. Vallandigiiam — Were you at any county or State fair there? 

Mr. Bhowx — I was not — not since June. 

Mr. Mason-— Did you consider tliis a military organization, in this paper (the Constitu- 
tion) ? I liave not yet read it. 

Mr. Bkown — I did in some sense. I wisli you would give that paper close attention. 

Mr. Masox — You considered yourself tlie Commander-in-Chief of tiiese ''provisional" 
military forces. 

Ml-. Bjiowx — I was chosen agreeably to the ordinance of a certain document, com- 
mander-in-cliief of that force. 

Mr. Mason — What wages did you ofier? 

Mr. Bkowx — None. 

Lieut. Stuaet — "Tlie wages of sin is death." 

Mr. Bkown — I would not have made such a remark to you, if you had been a prisoner 
and wounded in my hands. 

A Bystandek — Did you not promise a negro in Gettysburg, twenty dollars a mouth ? 

Mr. Bi'.owN — T did not. 

Bystander — He says you did. 

Mr. Vallaxdigham — Were you ever in Dayton, Ohio? 

Mr. BuowN — Yes, I must liave been. 

Mr. Vallandigham — This summer? 

Mr. BiiowN — No ; a year or two since. 

Mr. Mason — Does tliis talking annoy you? 

Mr. Biiowx— Not tlie least. 

Mr. Vallandigiiam — Have you lived long in Ohio? 

Mr. Brown— I went there in 1850 ; I lived in Summit County, which was then Trum- 
bull County; my native place is in York State; my father lived there till his deatli, in 
1805. ' -^ , 

Mr. Vallaxdigham — Do vou recollect a man in Oliio named Brown, a noted counter- 
feiter ? 

Mr. Bkown — I do; I knew him from a boy; liis father was Henry Brown ; they were 
of Irish or Scotcii descent, and lie had a brother also engaged in tliat business; when 
boys they could not read nor write : they were of a very low family. 

Mr. Vallaxdigham— Have you been in Portage County lately ? 

Mr. Bkowx — 1 was there in June last. 

Mr. Vallaxdigham — Wlien in Cleveland, did you attend tlie Fugitive Slave Law Con- 
vention tiiere? 

Mr. Bkowx — No. I was tliere about tlie time of the sitting of the court to try the Ober- 
lin rescuers. I spoke there publicly on that subject. I spoke <m the Fugitive Slave law 
and iny own rescue. Of course, so far as I had any influence at all, 1 was disposed to 
justify the Oberlin people for rescuing the slave, because 1 have myself forcibly taken 
slaves Iroiu bondage. I was concerned in taking eleven slaves from Missouri to Canada 
last winter. I think L spoke in Cleveland before the Convention. I do not know that I 
had any conversation with any of the Oberlin rescuers. I was sick part of the time I was 
in Ohio, witli tlie ague. I was part of tlie time in Ashtabula County. 

Mr. Vallaxdigham — Did you see anytliing of Joshua E. Giddings there? 

Mr. Brown — I did meat Idm. 

Mr. Vallaxdigham — Did you converse witli liim? 

_Mr. Brown — I did. I would not tell you, of course, anything tliat would implicate Mr, 
Giddines; but I certainly m'et witli liim and had conversations with him. 

Mr. Vallaxdigham — About that rescue case? 

Mr. r>K0WN — Yes, I did; I heard hiin express his opinions upon it very freely and 
frankly. 



THE HARPER'S FERRY mSURRECTION. 47 

Mr. Vali.andigham — Justifying it? 

Mr. Bi:OWN — Ye8, sir; I do not compromise him certainly in saying that. 
A Bystandek — Did yuu go out to Kunsas under the auspices ot the Emigrant Aid 
Society ? 

Mr. Ijkowx — No, sir; T went out under the auspices of .Jolm Brown and nohody else. 
Mr. VAi,L.ANDiGnAM — Will you answer tliis: Did you talk with Giddings about your 
expedition here? 

Mr. DuowN — No, I won't answer that ; because a denial of it I would not make, and to 
make any affirmation of it I siiould be a great dunce. 

ilr. VAi.LANDiGnAM — Have you had any correspondence with parties at the North on 
the subject of tills movement ? 

Mr. BuowN — I have had correspondence. 
A Bystander— Do you consider this a religious movement? 
Mr. Bi:owN — It is, in my opinion, the greatest service a man can render to God. 
Bystaxdeu— Do you coujiuer yourself an iustrument in the hands of Providence? 
Mr. BuowN — I do. 

Bystander — Upon what principle do yon justify your acts? 

Mr. Brown — Upon the golden rule. I pity the poor in bondage that have none to help 
. them; t,hat is why I am iiere; not to gratify any personal animosity, revenge or vindic- 
tive spirit. It is my sympathy with tlie oppressed and the wi'onged, that are as good as 
you and as precious in the sight of God. 

Bystander— Certainly. But why take the slaves against their will? 
Mr. Brown — I never did. 
Bystander — You did in one instance, at least. 

Stei)hen-;, the other wounded prisoner, here said, in a firm, clear voice — "You are right. 
In one case, 1 know the negro wanted to go back." 
A Bystander — Where did you come from ? 
Mr. Stephens — I lived in Ashtabula county, Ohio. 
, Mr. Vai.landigham — How recently did you leave Ashtabula county? 
Mr. Stephens — Some months ago. I never resided there any length of time ; have 
been throui;li there. 

Mr. Vallandigham — How far did you live from Jefferson? 

Mr. Brown — Be cautious, Stephens, about any answers that would commit any friend. 
I would not answer that. 

Stei)liens turned partially over with a groan of pain, and was silent. 
Mr. Vallandigham (to Mr. Brown) — Who are your advisers in tliis movement? 
Mr. Brown — I cannot answer that. I have numerous sympathizers throughout the 
entire North. 
Mr. Vallandigham — In northern Ohio ? 

Mr. Brown — No more there than anywiiere else ; in all the free States. 
Mr. Vallandighaji — But you are not personally acquainted in southern Ohio ? 
Mr. BiiOWN — Not very mucli. 

Mr. Vallandigham (to Stepliens) — Were you at the Convention last June? 
Stephens — I was. 

Mr. Vallandigham (to Brown) — You made a speech there ? 
Mr. BnowN — I did. 

A Bystander — Did you ever live in Wasliingfon city ? 

Mr. Brown — I did not. I want you to understand, gentlemen — (and, to the reporter of 
the "Herald'') you may report that — I' want you to understand that I respect the rights 
of the poorest and weakest of colored people, oppressed by the slave system, just as much 
as I do tiiose of the most wealthy and powerful. Tiiat is the idea that has moved me, and 
that alone. We expect no reward, except the satisfaction of endeavoring to do for those 
in distress and greatly oppressed, as we would be done by. The cry of distress of the 
oppressed is my reason, and the only thing that prompted me to come here. 
A Bystander — Wliy did j'ou do it secretly? 
. Mr. Brown — Because I thought that necessary to success ; no other reason. 
Bystander — And you think that honorable? Have you read Gerritt Smith's last let- 
ter? 

Mr. Brown — What letter do you mean ? * 

Bystander — The "New York Herald " of yesterday, in speaking of this affair, men- 
tions a letter in this way : — " Apropos of this exciting news, we recollect a verv signifi- 
cant passage in one of Gerrit Smith's letters, published a month or two ago, in which he 



.48 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 

speaks of the folly of attempting to strike the sliackles off the slaves hy tlie force of moral 
suasion or legal agitation, and predicts that the next movement made in the directiun of 
negro emancipation would be an insurrection in tlie South." 

Mr. Bkown — I have not seen the "Nevs^ York Herald'' for some days past; but I pre- 
sume, from 3'our remark about the gist of the letter, tliat I sliould concur with it. I agree 
vvitli Mr. Smith tliat moral suasion is hopeless. I don't think the people of tlie slave 
States will ever consider tlie subject of slavery in its true light till some other argument 
is resorted to than moral suasion. 

Mr. Vallandigham — Did you expect a general rising of the slaves in case of your suc- 
cess ? 

Mr. Brown — No, sir ; nor did I wish it. I expected to gather them up from time to 
time and set them free. 

Mr. Vallandigham — Did you expect to liold possession here till then? 

Mr. Beown — Well, probably I had quite a different idea. I do not know that I ought 
to i-eveal my plans. I am here a prisoner and wounded, because I foolishly allowed my- 
self to be so. You overrate your strength in supposing I could have been taken ;"t I had 
not allowed it. I was too tardy after commencing the open attack — in delaying my move- 
ments through Monday night, and up to the time I was attacked by the government 
troops. It was all occasioned by my desire to spare the feelings of my prisoners and their 
' fomilies and the community at large. I had no knowledge of the shooting of the negro 
(Hay ward). 

Mr. Vallandigham — What time did you commence your organization in Canada? 

Mr. Bkown — That occurred about two years ago, if 1 remember right. It was, I think, 
in 18.58. 

Mr. Vallandigham — Wlio was the Secretary? 

Mr. Br.owN — That I would not tell if I recollected, but I do not recollect. I tliink the 
officers were elected in May, 1858. I may answer incorrectly, but not intentionally. My 
head is a little confused by wounds, and my memory obscure on dates, etc. 

Dr. Biggs — Were you in the party at Dr. Kennedy's house ? 

Mr. Biiow.v — I was at the head of that party. I occupied the house to mature my 
I^lans. I have not been in Baltimore to purchase caps. 

Dr. Biggs — What was the number of men at Kennedy's? 

Mr. Brown — I decline to answer that. 

Dr. Biggs — Who lanced that woman's neck on the hill? 

Mr. Brown — I did. I have sometimes practised in surgery when I thought it a matter 
of humanity and necessity, and there was no one else to do it, but have not. studied sur- 
gery. 

Dr. Biggs — It was done very well and scientifically. They have been very clever to 
the neighbors, I have been told, and we had no reason to suspect them except that we 
could not understand their movements. They were represented as eight or nine persons; 
on Friday there were thirteen. 

Mr. Brown — There were more than that. 

Q. Where did you get arms to obtain possession of the Armory? 

A. I bought them. 

Q. In what State ? 

A. That I would not state. 

Q. How many guns? 

A. Two hundred Sharpe's rifles and two hundred revolvers — what is called the Massa- 
chusetts Arms Company's revolvers, a little under the navy size. 

Q. Why did you not take that swivel you left in the house? 

A. I had no occasion for it. It was given to me a year or two ago. 

Q. In Kansas? 

A. No; I had nothing given me in Kansas. 

Q. By wlumi ; and in what State? 

A. I decline to au'-wer. It is not properly a swivel; it is a very large rifle with a 
pivot. The ball is larger than a mitsket ball ; it is intended for a slug.. 

REr>oRTER OF THE Heeald — 1 do not wish to annoy you; but if you have anything 
further you would like to say I will report it. 

Mr. Brown — I have nothing to say, only that I claim to be here in carrying out a mea- 
sure I believe perfectly justifiable, and not to act the part of an incendiary or rulhan, but 
to aid those sutfering great wrong. 1 wish to say, furthermore, that you had better — all 
you people at the South — prepare yourselves for a settlement of that question that must 



THE HAEPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 49 

come lip for settlement sooner than you are prepared for. The sooner you are prepared 
the better.. Yon may dispose of me very easily; I am nearly disposed of now; hut tliis 
question is still to be settled— this negro question I mean — the end of that is not yet. 
Tiiese wounds were inflicted upon me — both sabre cuts on my head and bayonet stabs in 
different parts of my body — some minutes after I had ceased fitrhting and had consented 
to a surrender, for the benefit of otiiers, not for my own. (This statement was vehe- 
mently denied by all around.) I believe the major (meaning Lieut. J. B. Stuart, of the 
United States cavalry), would not have been alive; I could have killed him just as easy 
as a mosquito when he came in. but I supposed he came in only to receive our surrender. 
There had been loud and long calls of '' surrender " from us — as loud as men could yell — 
but in the confusion and excitement I suppose we were not heard. I do not thiuk the 
major, or any one, meant to butcher us after we had surrendered. 

An Officer here stated that the order to the marines were not to shoot anybody ; but 
when they were fired upon by Brown's men and one of them killed, they were obliged to 
return the compliment. 

Mr. Brown insisted that the marines fired first. 

An Officer — Wliy did not you surrender before the attack? 

Mr. Bkown — I did not tiiink it was my duty or interest to do so We assured the pri- 
soners that we did not wish to harm them, and they should be set at liberty. I exer- 
cised my best judgment, not believing the people would wantonly sacrifice their own fel- 
low-citizens, when we offered to let them go on condition of being allowed to change our 
position about a quarter of a mile. The prisoners agreed by vote among themselves to 
pass across the bridge with us. We wanted them only as a sort of guaranty of our own 
safety; that we should not be fired into. We took tliem in the first place as hostages and 
to keep them from doing any harm. We did kill some men in defending ourselves, but I 
saw no one fire except directh' in self-defence. Our orders were strict not to harm any 
one nfit in arms against us. 

Q. Brown, suppose you had every nigger in the United States, what would you do with 
them ? 

A. Set them free. 

Q. Your intention was to carry them off and free them ? 

A. Not at all. 

A Bystander — To set them free would sacrifice the life of every man in this com- 
rnunity. 

Mr. Brown — I do not think so. 

Bystander — I know it. I think you are fanatical. 

Mr. Beown — And 1 think you are fanatical. " Whom the gods would destroy tliey 
first make mad," and you are mad. 

Q. Was it your only object to free the negroes? 

A. Absolutely our only object. 

Q. But you demanded and took Col. Washington's silver and watch? 

A. Yes; we intended freely to appropriate the property of slaveholders to carry out our 
object. It was for that, and only that, and with no design to enrich ourselves with any 
plunder whatever. 

Q. Did you know Sherrod in Kansas? I understand you killed him. 

A. I killed no man except in fair fight; I fought at Black Jack Point and Ossawa- 
tomie, and if I killed anybody it was at one of those places. 



MEETING OF THE COURT— CHARGE TO THE GRAND JURY. 

Charlestown, Jefferson Countv, Va., ) 
Oct. 21, 1859. S 

The Circuit Court of Jefferson County — Hon. Richard Parker, Circuit Judge — which 
commenced its session yesterday^ was occupied to-day with the trial of the case of State 
vs. Dilhird, for an assault with an intent to kill. The examination trial of the insurrec- 
tionists, Brown and his associates, before eight Justices of the Peace, Avill take place on 
Tuesday, in the court rooms, the Circuit Court adjourning for that purpose. Judge 
Parker's charge to the Grand Jury was an appropriate effort, referring mainly to the late 
attempts to incite insuri'ection. He said : 



50 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 

Gentlemen of the Juet — In the state of excitement into wliicli our whole commnnity 
has been thrown by the recent occurrences in this county, I feel that; tlie charge which I 
usually deliver to a Grand Jury would be entirely out of place. Tiiose occurrences cannot 
but force themselves upon your attention. They must necessarily occupy a considerable 
portion of tiiat time which you will devote to your public duties as a Grand Jury. 
However guilty the unfortunate men who are now in the hands of justice may prove to 
be, still tiiey cannot be called upon to answer to tiie offended laws of our Common wealth 
for any of the multifarious crimes with which they are charged, until the Grand Jury, 
after diligent inquiry, shall decide that for these offences they be put upon their trial, i 
will not permit myself to give expression to any of those feelings wiiicli at once spring up 
in evei-y breast when reflection upon the enormity of the guilt in which those are involved 
who invade by force a peaceful uii'uspecting portion of our common country, raise the 
standard of insurrection amongst tliem, and shoot down without mercy Virginia citizens, 
defending Virgiiiia soil against their invasion. I must remember, gentlemen, that as a 
minister of justice, bound to execute over you and laws faithfully, and in the very spirit 
of Justice herself, I luust, as to every one accused of crime, hold, as the law holds, tliat he 
is innocent until he shall be proved guilty by honest, independent and an impartial jury of 
Jus countrymen ; and what is obligatory upon me is equally binding upon every one who may 
be connected with the prosecution and trials of these offenders. In these cases, as in all 
others, you will be controlled by that oath which eacli of you have taken, and in which you 
liave solemnly sworn that you will diligently inquire into all offences which may be brought 
to j-our knowledge, and that you will present no one through ill-will, as well as that you 
Avill leave no one unindicted through fear or favor ; but in all your presentments you shall 
present the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Do but this, gentlemen, 
and you will have but fulfilled your duty. Go beyond this, and in place of that diligent 
inquiry and calm investigation which you have sworn to make, act upon prejudice or from 
excitement of passion, and you will have done a wrong to that law in whose services you 
are engaged. As I before said, those men are now in the hands Of justice. They are to 
have a fair and impartial trial. We owe it to the cause of justice as well as to our own 
characters, that such a trial should be afforded them. If guilty, they will be sure to pay 
the extreme penalty of their guilt, and the example of punishment, when thus inflicted by 
virtue of law, will be, bej'ond all comparison, more efficacious for our protection than any 
.torture to which mere passion could subject them. Whether they be in public or private 
position, let each one of us remember that as the law has charge of these alleged offenders, 
the law alone, through its recognized agents, must deal with them to the last. It can 
tolerate no interference by others with duties it has assumed to itself. If true to herself, 
and she will be, our commonwealth, thrnugh her courts of justice, will be as ready to 
punish the offence of such interference as she is to punish these grave and serious offences 
with which she is now about to deal, in case these offences be ])roved by legal testimony 
to have been perpetrated. Let us all, gentlemen, bear this in mind, and in patience await 
the result, confident that that result will be whatever strict and impartial justice shall 
determine to be necessary and proper. It would seem, gentlemen, and yet 1 speak from 
no evidence, but upon vague rumors which have reached me, that these men who have 
lately thrown themselves upon us, confidently ex[)ected to be joined by our slaves and free 
negroes, and unfurled the banner of insurrection and invited this class of our citizens to 
xally under it, and yet, as I am told, they were unable to obtain a single circuit. 

i 

Tlie following is the commitment of the insurrectionists, and the warrant to the sheriflT 
to summon eight justices to examine the facts with which they stand charged : 

State of Virginia^ Jefferson County, to wit: — To the sheri'ff^ Court, and to the keeper 
of the iail of said county. These are to command you, in the name of the Commonwealth 
of Virginia, forthwith to convey and deliver into the custody of the keeper of said jail, 
and to receive and safely keep the bodies of John Brown, Aaron C. Ste[)hens, Edwin 
Coppie, Shiehls Green and John Copland, negro, and cliarged before me, Roger Chew, a 
Ju'^tice of tlie Peace for said county, on the oaths of Henry A. Wise, Andrew Hunter and 
John W. McGinnis, and up(m the free admission and confession of said parties made in 
my presence and hearing, that they and each of them did feloniously conspire with each 
other and with other parties unknown, to make an abolition insurrection and opeu war 
against the Commonwealth of Virginin, by making an armed attack uj)on and murdering 
lier citizens at a certain place called Harper's Ferry, and then and there to riot on fho 
17th, 18tli and 19th days of October, 1859, and did feloniously and of their malice kill 



THE HARPER'S FERRY raSURREOTION". 51 

and murder, with firearms called Sharpe's rifles, and revolvers, and pistols, divers citizens 
of tliis commonwealtli, and Fontainf iJeckliam, Georjre W. Tnrner and Tliomas IJoerly, 
free white persons, and Luke Quinn, a soldier of tlie United States Government, and also 
Hayward Slieppard, a free negro, and did there and then, feloniously cons|)iie with 
divers slaves, belonging to citizens of this Commonwealth, in the county aforesaid, to me 
unknown, to rebel and make insurrection against tlie government and laws of tliis Com- 
monwealth, that they may be examined for the said otit'eace before the proper examining 
court, and otherwise dealt with according to law. 

Given under my liand and seal this 20ch day of October, 1859. Signed, 

RoGEPw Chew. 

To the Sheriff of Jefferson County^ Virginia : — Whereas John Ih-own, Aaron 0. 
Stephens and Edwin Coppie, white persons, and Shields Green and John Copland, men 
of color, have been committed by ray warrant witliin and for certain felonies cliarged to 
have been committed as therein stated by them, and being of opinion tlmt there is 
snfReient cause for charging said parties with said offences, I connnand you, in the name 
of the commonwealth, to summon at least eight of the justices of said county to meet at 
the Court House of said county, on the 25th day of this month, October, 1859, to hold a 
Court for the examination of the facts with whicli said parties stand charged, and for snch 
other purposes concerning the premises as are required by law, and have then there this 
warrant and make return how you have effected the same. 

Given under my hand and seal this 20th day of October, 1859. 

ROGEK ClIEW. 



JOHF BROWN'S IDEA OF GOYERi^MENT, 



Among the papers in possession of Brown and his party, was the draft of a basis of 
government, which evidently embraced the fundamental ideas which animated thedeader 
and his men. The main features of this paper appear in the following synopsis : 

Provisional Constitution and Ordinances for the People of the United States. 

Preamble. — Whereas, Slavery throughout its entire existence in the United States, is 
none other than the most barbarous, unprovoked, and unjustifiable war of one portion of 

• its citizens against another portion, the only conditions of which are perpetual imprison- 
ment, and hopeless servitude, or absolute extermination in utter disregard and violation 
of those eternal and self-evident truths set forth in our Declaration of Independence : 
Therefore, We, the citizens of the United States, and the oppressed people, who, by a 

'recent decision of the Supreine Conrt, are declared to have no rights which tlie wliite 
man is bound to respect, together with all the other people degraded by tiie laws thereof, 
do, for the time being, ordain and establish for ourselves the following Provisional Con- 
stitution and ordinances, the better to protect our people, property, lives, and liherties, 
and to govern oar actions : 

Article 1. Qualifications of Membership. N^ 

All persons of mature age, whether proscribed, oppressed' and enslaved citizens, or of 
proscribed and oppressed races of the Uiuted States, who shall agree to sustain and en- 
force the Provisional Constitution and ordinances of organization, together with all 
minor children of such persons, shall be held- to be fully entitled to protection under the 
same. 

Art. 2. Branches of Government, 

The Provisional Government of this organization shall consist of three branches, viz. : 
the Legislative, the Executive, and Judicial. 

Art» 3. The Legislature. 

/,, The Legislative Branch shall he a Congress or House of Representatives, composed of 
not less than five, nor more thau ten members, who sliall be elected by all the citizens of 
mature age aud sound mind, connected with this organization, and who shall romain, ia 



52 THE HAKPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 

ofEce for three j-ears, unless sooner removed for misconduct, inability, or death. A 
majority of such members shall constitute a quorum. 

Art. 4. Executitie. 

The Execiitive Branch of the organization shall consist of a President and Vice-Presi- 
dent, who shall be chosen by the citizens, or members of this organization, and each of 
whom sliall hold Ids oliice for three years, unless sooner removed by death, or for in- 
ability, or for misconduct. 

Art. 5. Judicial, 

_ The Judicial Branch consists of one Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and four Asso- 
ciate Judges of the said Court, each of them constituting a Circuit Court. Tiiey shall 
each be chosen in the same manner as the President, and shall continue in office until 
their places have been filled in the same manner by an election of citizens. 

Articles 13 to 25, provide for the trial of tlie President and other officers, and Members 
of Congress, the impeachment of Judges; the duties of the President and Vice-Presi- 
dent, the punishnient of crimes, Army appointments, salaries, etc., etc. These articles 
are not of special interest and are therefore omitted. 

Art. 24. Treaties of Peace. 

Before any treaty of peace shall take full effect it shall be signed by the President, 
Vice-President, Commander-in-Chief, a majority of the House of Representatives, a 
majority of the Supreme Court, and a luajority of the general officers of the Army. 

Art. ^7. Duty of the Military, 

It shall be the duty of the Commander-in-Chief, and all the officers and soldiers of the 
■ arm)', to afford special protection, when needed, to Congress, or any member thereof, to 
the Supreme Court, or any member thereof, to the President, Vice-President, Treasurer, 
and Secietary of War, and to afford general protection to all civil officers, or other per- 
sons having a right to the same. 

Art. 28. Property. 

All captured or confiscated property, and all the property tlie product of the labor of 
those belonging to this organization, and of their tamilies, shall be held as the property 
of the whole equally, without distinction, and maybe used for the common benefit, or 
disposed of for tlie same object. And any person, officer, or otherwise, who shall impro- 
perly retain, secrete, use, or needlessly destroy such property, or property found, cap- 
tured, or confiscated, belonging to the enemy, or shall willfully neglect to i-ender a full 
and fair statement of such property by him so taken, or held, shall be guilty of a mis- 
demeanor, and on conviction shall be punished accordingly. . 

Art. 29. Safety or Intelligence Fund, 

All money, plate, watches, or jewelry captured by honorable warfare, found, taken, or 
confiscated, belonging to the enemy, shall be held sacred to constitute a liberal safety or 
intelligence fund, and any person who shall improperly retain, dispose of, hide, use, or 
destroy such money or other articles above named, contrary to the provisions and spirit 
of this article, shall be deem,ed guilty of theft, and, on conviction thereof, shall be 
punished accordingly. The Treasurer shall furnish the Commander-in-Chief at all times 
with a full statement, of the condition of such fund, and its nature. 

Art. 30. The Commander -in- Chief and the Treasury. 

The Commander-in-Chief shall have power to draw from the Treasury the money anil 
other property of the fund provided for in Article 29 ; but his orders shall be signed also 
by the Secretary of War, who shall keep a strict account of the same, subject to examina- 
tion by any member of Congress or General Officer. 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 63 

Art. 31. Sur2>lus of the Safety or Intelligence Fund. 

It shall be the duty of the Commander-in-Chief to advise the President of any surplus 
of the Safety or Intelligence Fund, and he shall have power to draw the same, Ids order 
bein<; also signed by the Secretary' of State, to enable him to carry on the provisions of 
Article 17. 

Art. 32. Prisoners. 

No person, after liaving surrendered himself a prisoner, and who shall properly de- 
imnn himself or lierself as such, t.) any officer or private connected with this organization, 
sli;i!l afterward be put to death, or be subjected to any corporeal punishment, without 
first having liad tiie benefit of a fair and impartial trial ; nor shall any prisoner be treated 
witJi any kind of cruelty, disrespect, insult, or needless severity, but it shall be the duty 
of all persons, male and female, connected herewith, at all times, and under all circum- 
stances, to treat all such prisoners witli every degree of respect and kindness that the nature 
of the circumstances will admit of, and insist on a like course of conduct from all others 
as in fear of the Almighty God, to whose care and keeping we commit our cause. 

Art. 33. Volunteers. 

All persons who may come forward, and shall voluntarily deliver up slaves, and have 
their names registered on the books of this organization, shall, so long as they continue 
at peace, be entitled to the fullest protection in person and property, though not con- 
nected with tills organization, and sliall be treated as friends, and not merely as persons 
neutral. 

Art. 34. Neutrals. 

The persons and property of all non-slaveholders who shall remain absolutely neutral, 
shall be respected so far as circumstances can allow of it, but they shall not be entitled to 
any active protection. 

Art. 35. No Needless Waste. 

The needless waste or destruction of any useful property or article by fire, throwing 
open of fences, fields, buildings, or needless killing of animals, or injury of either, shall 
not be tolerated at any time or place, but shall be promptly and peremptorily punished. 

Art. 36. Property Confiscated. 

The entire personal and real property of all persons known to be acting either directly 
or indirectly with or for the enemy, or found in arms with them, or found Avillfully hold- 
ing slnves, shall be confiscated and taken whenever and wherever it may be found, in 
either Free or Slave States. 

Art. 37. Desertion. 

Persons convicted on impartial trials of desertion to the enemy, after becoming mem- 
bers, acting as spies, of treacherous surrender of property, arms, ammunition, provisions 
or supplies of any kind, roads, bridges, persons, or fortifications, shall be put to death, 
and their entire property confiscated. 

Art. 38. Violation of Parole of Honor. 

Persons proved to be guilty of taking up arms after having been set at liberty on parolo 
of honor, or after the same to have taken any active part with or for the enemy, direct 
or indirect, shall be put to death, and their entire property confiscated. 

Articles 39, 40, and 41, require all to labor for the general good, and prohibit immoral 
actions. 

Art. 42. The Marriage Relation — Schools — Hie Saiiath. .idi 

Marriage relations shall be at all times respected, and families shall be kept together ks 
far as possible, and broken families encouraged to reunite, and intelligence ofiices shall bo 
established for that purpose. Schools and churches shall be established as may be, for 

4 



^4 THE HAEPEE'S FEERY INSURRECTION". 

the purpose of religious and other instruction, and tlie first day of tlie week shall be 
regarded as a day of rest and appropriated to moral and religious instruction and im- 
provement to the relief of the suffering, the instruction of the young and ignorant, and 
the encouragement of personal cleanliness, nor sljall any person be required on that day 
to perf(jrm ordinary manual labor, unless in extremely urgent cases. 

Art. 43. To Carry Arms Openly. 

All persons known to be of good character, and of sound mind, and suitable age, wlio 
are connected with this organization, -whether male or female, shall be encouraged to 
carry arms openly. 

Art. i-t. No Person to Carry Concealed Weapons. 

No person within the limits of conquered territory, exce])t regularly appointed police- 
men, express officers of army, mail carriers, or other fully accredited. messengers of Con- 
gress, the President, Vice-President^ members of tlie Supreme Court, or commissioned 
officers of the Army, and those under peculiar circumstances, siiall be allowed at any time 
to carry concealed weapons ; and any person not specially authorized so to do wiio shall 
\)& foniul so doing, shall be deemed a suspicious person, and may at once be arrested by 
any officer, soldier, or citizen, without the formality of a comjduint or warrant; and may 
at once be subjected to tiiorough searcli, and sl:ull have his or her case thoroughly inves- 
tigated, and be dealt with as circumstances on proof shall require. 

Article 45. Persons to he Seized. 

Persons living within the limits of territory holden by this organization, and not con- 
nected Vs'ith this organization, having arms at all, concealed or otherwise, shall be seized 
at once, or be taken in charge of by some vigilant officer, and their case thoroughly 
investigated ; and it shall be the duty of all citizens and soldiers, as well as officers, to 
arrest such parties as are named in this and the preceding section or article, without for- 
mality of complaint or warrant ; and they shall be placed in charge of some proper officer 
for examination, or for safe keeping. 

Article 46. These Articles not for tlie OvertTirow of Government. 

The foregoing articles shall not be construed so as in any way to encourage the over- 
throw of any State Government or of the General Government of the United States, and 
look to no dissolution of the Union, but sin^ply to amendment and repeal, and our Sag 
stall be the same that our fathers fought under in the Revolution. 

Article 47. I^o Plurality of Offices. 

No two offices specially provided for by this instrument shall be filled by the same 
person, at the same time. 

Article 48. Oath. 

Every officer, civil or military, connected with this organization, shall, before entering 
upon the duties of office, make a solemn oath or affirmation to abide by and support the 
Provisional Constitution and these ordinances. Also, every citizeij and soldier, before 
being recognized as such, shall do the same. 

Schedule. 

The President of this Convention shall convene, immediately on the adoption of tliis 
instrument, a Convention of all such persons as shall have given tlieir adherence, by sig- 
nature to the Constitution, who shall proceed to fill by election all offices specially named 
in said Constitution — the President of this Convention presiding and issuing commissions 
to such officers elect. All such officers being hereafter elected in the manner provided in 
the body of this instrument. 



THE HARPER'S FEERY 1NSURRE0TI0:N". 53 



THE TRIAL. 

FIRST DAI? 

FIRST EXAMINATION OF THE PRISONERS. 

Charlestown, Va., Tuesday, Oct. 25, 1859. 

The preliminary examination of Brown and otlier Harper's Ferry conspirators, com- 
menced here to-day, in the Magistrate's Court. Col. Davenport was the presiding Justice, 
and the following magistrates were associated with him on the bench : Dr. Alexander, 
John J. Lock, John F. Smith, Thos. H. Willis, George W. Eiohelberger, Charles H.Lewis, 
and Moses W. Burr. 

At 10|- o'clock the sheriff was directed to bring in the prisoners, who were conducted 
from the jail under a guard of 80 armed men. 

A guard was also stationed around the Court. The Court-House was bristling with 
bayonets ou all sides. Charles B. Harding, Esq., acted as Attorney for the County, 
assisted by Andrew Hunter, counsel for the Commonwealth. The prisoners were brought 
in, Brown and Edward Coppie manacled together. 

Brown seemed weak and haggard, with eyes swollen from wounds on the head. Cop- 
pie is uninjured. Stephens seemed less injured than Brown, but looked haggard and 
depressed. Both have a number of wounds on tlie head. 

Jolin Copland is a bright mulatto, about 25 years of age, and Green a dark negro, 
aged about 30. Sheriff Campbell read the commitment of the prisoners, who were 
charged with treason and murder. 

Mr. Harding, tlie attorney for the State, asked that the Court might assign counsel for 
the prisoners, if they had none. 

The CouET then inquired if the prisoners had counsel, when Brown addressed the Court 
as follows : 

" I did not ask for any quarter at the time I was taken. I did not ask to have my life 
spared. The Govenlor of the State of Virginia tendered me lils assurance tliat I sliould 
have a fair trial ; and. nnder no circumstances whatever, will I be able to have a fair 
trial. If you seek my blood, you can have it at any moment, without this mockery of a 
trial. I have had no counsel. I liave not been able to advise with any one. I know 
nothing about the feelings of my fellow-prisoners, and am utterly unable to attend in any 
way to my own defence. ^ly memory don't serve me. My health is insufficient, 
althougli improving. There are mitigating circumstances that I would urge in our favor, 
if a fair trial is to be allowed us. But if we are to be forced with a mere form — a trial 
for execution — you might spare yourselves that trouble. I am ready for my fate. I do 
not ask a trial. I beg for no mockery of a trial — no insult — nothing but that which con- 
science gives, or cowardice would drive you to practise. I aslc again to be excused from 
the mockery of a trial. I do not even know what the special design of this examination 
is. I do not know what is to be the benefit of it to the Commonwealth. I have now 
little further to ask, other than that I may not be foolishly insulted, only as cowardly 
barbarians insult those wlio tall into their power." 

At tlie conclusion of Brown's remarks, the Court assigned Charles J. Faulkner and 
Lawson Botts as counsel for the prisoners. 

ilr. Faulkner — I was about to remark to the Court that, although I feel at any time 
willing to discharge any duty wliich the Court can legally claim, and by authority of law 
devolve upon me, I am not aware of any authority wiiich this Court has, sitting as an 
Examining Court, to assign counsel for the defence. Besides, it is manifest from the 
remarks just made by one of the prisoners, that lie regards the appearance of counsel 
under such circumstances not as a hona fide act, but rather as a mockery. Under these 
circumstances, I do not feel disposed to assume tho responsibility of that position. I I.avo 



5ft THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION 

other reasons for declining the position, connected -witli m^' having been at the place of 
action, and hearini; all the admissions of the prisoners, which render it improper' and 
inexpedient for me to act as counsel. If tlie Court liad authority to order it peremptor- 
ily, I siiould acquiesce, and obey that antiiority. I am not aware that tliere is any such 
power vested in tliis Court, but, as it is tlie prisoners' desire, I will see that fuh justice is 
done them. 

Mr. BoTTS said he did not feel it to be his duty to decline tl)e appointment of tlie Court. 
He was prepared to do his best to defend tlie prisoners, and lie hoped the Court would 
assign some experienced a^^sistant in case Mr. Faulkner persisted in his declination. 

Mr. 1Ia]{ding addressed Brown, and asked him if he was willing to accept Messrs. 
Faulkner and Botts as his counsel. 

Mr. Brown replied : I .wish to Say that I have sent for counsel. I did apply, through 
the advice of some persons here, to some persons whose names I do not now recollect, to 
act as counsel for me, and I liave sent for other counsel, who have had no possible oppor- 
tunity to see me, I wish for counsel if I am to have a trial ; but if I am to have nothing 
but the mockery of a trial, as I liave said, I do not care anything about counsel. It is 
unnecessary to trouble any gentleman with that duty. 

Mr. Harding— You are to have a fair trial. 

Mr. Brown — Tliere were certain men — I think Mr. Botts was one of them — who de- 
clined acting as counsel, but I am not positive about it. I cannot remember whether he 
was one, because I have heard so many names. 1 am a stranger here ; 1 do not know the 
dispositioii or character of the gentlemen named. I liave applied for counsel of my own, 
and do'ihtiess could have them, if I am not, as I said before, to be hurried to execution 
before thev can reach me. But if that is the disposition that is to be made of me, all tliis 
trouble and expense can be saved. 

Mr. Harding — Tlie question is, do you desire the aid of Messrs. Faulkner and Botts as 
your counsel ? Please to answer yes or no, 

Mr. Brown — I cannot regard this as an examination, under any circumstances. I 
would^ prefer that they sliould exercise their own pleasure. 1 feel as if it was a matter of 
very little account to me. If they had designed to assist me as counsel, I should have 
wanted an (>])portunity to consult them at my leisure. 

Mr. Harding — Stephens, are you willing tiiose gentlemen should act as your counsel? 

Mr. Stephens — 1 am willing tliat gentleman shall (pointing to Mr. Botts). 

Mr. Harding — Do you object to Mr. Faulkner? 

Mr. Stephens — No. I am willing to lake both. 

Mr. Harding addres^^ed each of the other prisoners separately, and each stated his will- 
ingness to be defended by tiie counsel named. 

The Court issued a ])ereniptory order that the press should not publish detailed testi-. 
mony, as it would render tlie getting of a Jui'y before tlie Circuit Court impossilde. 

Lewis AVasiiington stated— At about 1 o'clock on Sunday night last he was asleep, and 
was awoke by a noise ; heard his name called; went down, and was surrounded liy six 
men ; Sti-phens appeared to be in command ; Cook, Coppie, and two negro prisoners were 
along, and another white man, whom he afterwards recognized as Kagi. Mr. Washing- 
ton then proceeded to detail all tlie pariiculars of his taking as a pi'isoner, with his 
negroes, to the Armbry, and the subsequent events up to the attack by the marines, and 
his delivery. 

A. M. KiTZjnLLER gave the particulars of his being taken prisoner, and locked up ; he 
subsequently had several interviews with Brown, who always treated them witli a great 
deal^of res])ect and courtesy; he endeavored to ascertain from Brown wliat object he had 
in view, an tl he repeatedly told iiim his only object was to free the slaves, and he was 
willing to fight the jiro-slavery men to accomplish that object; on one occasion during 
the attack I said to Brown, " this is getting hot work, and 'if you will allow me to inter- 
fere, I can possibly accommodate matters ;" he went out with Stephens with a flag of truce 
on Monday afternoon; he requested Stephens to remain while he went forward, when 
Stepliens was fired on and fell; I recognize only Brown and Stephens ; I counted only 
twenty-two men early in the morning, armed with Sliarjie's rifles; when Stephens was 
lying wounded he remarked to me, """I have been cruelly deceived," to which I replied, 
"I wish I had remained at home." 

Mr. Washington recalled — In a conversation with Gov. "Wise, Brown was told he need 
not ansvver questions unless he chose; Brown replied he had nothing to conceal — ho 
had no favors to ask ; that he had ai-ms enough for two thousand men, and could get enough 
for five thousand if they were wanted. 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION". 57 

Armstkad Ball detailed the particulars of his arrest by tlie insnrgents. I liad an 
interview, after his arrest, with Brown, wlio stated that he Jiad come for no cliild's play, 
and was prepared to carry out his designs ; tliat his object was not to niaice war against 
tiie people, and they would not be injured if they remained quiet; his object was tophice 
the United States arms in the hands of tlie Idack men, and lie proposed to free all the 
slaves in the vicinity; Brown repeatedly said his whole objtct was to release the slaves; 
I asked him if some plan could not be arranged for the liberation of myself and the other 
prisoners; he said we could only be released by furnishing able-bodied slaves in the place 
of each; I recognize Stephens, Green and Brown; Capt. Brown told the prisoners, when 
the charge of the marines was about being m-ide, that though he did not intend to injure 
them liimself, they should equally occupy the post of danger with himself, that if they 
were not dear enough to their fellow-citizens to accept the terms he had proposed to 
secure their safety, they must be barbarians. Ooppie, on the other hand, told himself 
and friends to get behind the engines, that he did not wish to see any of them injured ; 
one of the insurgents (Beckham) I heard say, " I have dropped him ;" I did not see Captain 
Brown fire once from the engine-iiouse ; do not think he tired once; Green fired several 
times ; the prisoners never were unreasonably exposed. 

JoHX Allstadt, one of the slave-owners who was brought into the Armory with his 
slaves, detailed the particulars of the battering down of his door, and his seizure by six 
armed men. 

At this point Stephens appeared to be fainting, and a mattress was procured for him, on 
which he lay during the remainder of the examination. 

Mr. Allstadt re-umed — Thinks Brown tired several times ; knows he saw him with a 
gun levelled ; saw all the prisoners, except the yellow man Copland. 

Alexander Kelly detailed the particulars of the collision with the insurgents, and the 
exchanging of several shots ; could not identify any of the prisoners. 

Wm. .JonxsoN- testified to the arrest of Copland, the yellow man, who was attempting 
to e>cape across the river ; he was armed with a spear and a rifle ; in the middle of the 
Shenandoah ; he said he had been placed in charge of Hall's rifle factory by Captain 
Brown. 

Andkew Kentstedy was at the jail when Copland was brought in ; questioned him ; he 
said he had come from the Western Reserve of Ohio ; that Brown came there in August, 
and employed him at twenty dollars per month. 

Mr. Faulkner objected to the testimony, as implicating the white prisoners. 

The presiding judge said his testimony could otdy be received as implicating himself. 

Mr. Kennedy resumed — Copland said that our object was to liberate the slaves of this 
country ; that he knew of nineteen of the party, but there were several others he did not 
know. 

Joseph A. Bkua — Was one of the prisoners in the engine-house, and was permitted to 
go out several times with a flag of truce ; during the firing Coppie fired twice, and, at the 
second fire. Brown remarked "that man is down;" witness then asked permission togo 
out, and found that Mr. Beckham had just been shot, and has no doubt that Coppie shot 
Lim. 

Mr. Allstadt recalled — Think that Capt. Brown shot the marine who was killed ; saw 
him tire. 

The preliminary examination being concluded, the Court remanded the prisoners for 
trial before the Circuit Court. 



THE TRIAL OF JOHN BROWN". 

Charlestown, Tuesday^ Oct. 25, 1859. 

The Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Judge Richard Parker on the bench, assembled 
at two o'clock. The Grand Jury were called, and the Magistrate's Court reported the 
result of the examination in the case of Capt. Brown and the other prisoners. The 
Grand Jury retired with the witnesses for the State. At five o'clock they returned into 
Court, and stated that they had not finished the examination of witnesses, and they were 
therefore discharged until ten o'clock to-morrow morning. It is rumored that Brown is 
desirous of making a full statement ef his motives and intentions, through the press, but 
the Court has refused all further access to him by reporters, fearing that he may put forth 



68 THE HAEPER'S FEREY INSURRECTION 

something calculated to influence the public mind, and to liave a bad effect upon slaves. 
The mother of Cook's wife was in the Court House throughout the examination. 

Coffee says tliat he had a brother in the party, and that Brown had three sons in it. 
Also that there were two other persons, named Taylor and Hazlitt, engaged, so that, 
numbering Cook, five have escaped, twelve were killed, and five captured, making twenty- 
two in all. 

Capt. Brown's object in refusing the aid of counsel is, tliat if he has counsel he will 
not be allowed to speak himself, and Southern counsel will not be willing to express his 
views. 

The reason given for hurrying the trial, is, that the people of the whole country are 
kept in a state of excitement, and a large armed force is required to prevent attempts at 
rescue. 

The prisoners, as brought into the Court, presented a pitiable sight — Brown and 
Stephens being unable to stand without assistance. Brown has three sword-stabs in his 
body, and one sabre-cut over the heart. Stephens has three balls in his head, and had two 
in his breast and one in his arm. He was also cut on the fdrehead with a rifle bullet, 
which glanced off leaving a bad wound. 

Charlestown, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 1859. 

Brown has made no confession ; but, on the contrary, says he has full confidence in the 
goodness of God, and is confident that he will rescue him from the perils that surround 
him. He says he has had rifles levelled at him, knives at his throat, and his life in as 
great peril as it now is, but that God has always been at his side. He knows God is witli 
him, and fears nothing. 

Alex. R. Boteler, member elect for Ccmgress of this district, has collected from 50 to 
100 letters from the citizens of the neighborhood of Brown's house, who searched it 
before the arrival of the marines. The letters are in the possession of Andrew Hunter, 
Esq., who has a large number of letters obtained from Brown's house by the marines au'i 
other parties. Among them is a roll of the conspirators, containing forty-seven signa- 
tures ; an accurately traced map from Chambersburg to Brown's house ; copies of letters 
from Brown, stating that as the arrival of too many men at once would excite suspicion, 
they should arrive singly ; a letter from Merrianj, stating that of the twenty thousand 
wanted, G. S. was good for one-fifth ; also a letter from J. E. Cook, stating that the Mary- 
land election was about to come off, the people will become excited, and we will get some 
of the candidates that will join our side. 
■ The Circuit Court, Judge Parker presiding, met at 10 o'clock. The Grand Jury were 
called, and retired to resume the examination of witnesses. The Court took a recess, 
awaiting the return of the Grand Jury. 

M. Johnson, United States Marshal of Cleveland, Ohio, arrived this morning. Ho 
visited the prisoners, and identified Ooplai:d as a fugitive from justice in Ohio. 

The excitement is unabated, and crowds of ])ersons from the surrounding country are 
here. The event is regarded as proving the faithfulness of the slaves, and no fears are 
entertained of them; but a military guard is kept ui>, fearing an attempt to rescue the 
prisoners. 

Consternation among the slaves is caused by the fear of being seized as Colonel "Wash- 
ington's were, and they firmly believe the objtct of the prisoners was to carry them 
South and sell them. Not a single slave has yet been implicated as even sympathizing 
with the insurrectionists. Th.ose carried off have all been captured and returned to tlieir 
masters. 

Cannon are stationed in front of the Court House, and an armed guard is patrolling 
around the jail. 

Capt. Brown has consented to allow Mr. Botts and his assistant, Mr. Green, to act as 
his counsel, they assuring him tliat they will defend him faithfully, and give him the 
advantage of every [)rivilege that the law will allow. 



THE HAEPER'S FERRY INSURRECTIOllT. 69 

Stepliens declares tliat lie does not desire to be defended by Northern counsel, prefer- 
ri'.iir Southern, and that the Court should name them. There is a decided sympathy for 
Stepliens, not only on account of liis sufferings, but that he has shown none of tliat vin- 
dictiveness and hardihood tliat characterizes Brown. His regret is regarded as caused by 
the consequences of his folly, and the examination yesterday indicated that the other 
prisouers have lost their confidence in Brown, and ai'e not disposed to follow him in his 
defiant course. 

At 12 o'clock the Court reassembled. 

The Grand Jury reported a true bill against the prisoners, and were discharged. 

Charles B. Harding, assisted by Andrew Hunter, represents the Commonwealth; and 
Lawson Botts and his assistant Mr. Green, are counsel for the prisoners. 

A true bill was read agaiust each prisoner : 

Fh'st: For conspiring with negroes to produce insurrection. 

Second : For treason in the Commonwealth ; and, 

Third: For murder. 

The indictment was as follows: 

Judicial Circuit of Virginia, Jefferson County, to tcit. — The Jurors of the Coramon- 
wealtli of Virginia, in and fi)r the body of tlie County of Jefferson, duly impanelled, 
and attending upon the Circuit Court of said county, upon their oatlis do present that 
John Brown, Aaron 0. Stephens, alias Aaron D. Stephens, and Edwin Coppie, white 
men, and Shields Green and John Copland, free negroes, together with divers )ther evil- 
raiuded and traitorous persons to tiie Jurors unknown, not having the fear of God before 
their eyes, but being moved and seduced by the false and malignant counsel of other evil 
and traitorous persons and tlie instigations of the devil, did, severally, on the sixteenth, 
seventeenth, and eighteenth days of tlie month of October, in the year of our Lord eight- 
een hundred and fifty-nine, and on divers otlierdays before and after that time, within the 
Commonwealth of Virginia, and the County of Jefferson aforesaid, and within tlie juris- 
diction of this Court, with other confederates to the Jurors unknown, feloniously and 
traitorously make rebellion and levy war against the said Commonwealth of Virginia, 
and to etFeot, carry out, and fulfill their said wicked and treasonable ends and i>urposes 
did, then and there, as a band of organized soldiers, attack, seize, and hold a certain part 
and place within the county and State aforesaid, and within the jurisdiction aforesaid, 
known and called by the name of Harper's Ferry, and then and there did forcibly cap- 
ture, make prisoners of, and detain divers good and loyal citizens of said Commonwealth, 
to wit: Lewis W. Washington, John M. Allstadc, Archibald M. Kitzmiller, Benjamin J. 
Mills, John E. P. Dangerfield, Arinstead Ball, John Donoho, and did then and tliere slay 
and mar !er, by shooting with firearms, called S'narpe's rifles, divers good and loyal citizens 
of said Coinmonweabh, to wit: Thomas Boerly, George W. Turner, Fontaine Beckham, 
together with Luke Quinn, a soldier of the United States, and Hay ward Sheppard, a free 
negro, and did then and there, in manner aforesaid, wound divers other good and loyai 
citizens of said Commonwealth, and did then and there feloni(msly and traitorously 
estalilisli and set up, without autliority of the Legislature of the Common wealtli of Vir- 
ginia, a Government, separate from, and hostile to, the existing Government of said 
Commonwealth; and did then and there hold and exercise divers offices under said usurped 
Government, to wit: the said John Brown as Commander-in-Ghief of the military forces, 
the said Aaron C. Stephens, alias Aaron D. Stephens, as Captain; the said Edwin Coppie, 
as Lieutenant, and the said Shields Green and John Copland as soldiers; and did then 
and there require and compel obedience to said oflicers ; and then there did hold and 
profess allegiance and fidelity to said usurped Government; and under color of the 
usurped autnority aforesaid, did then and there resist forcibly and with warlike arms, the 
execution of the laws of the Commonwealtli of Virginia, and with firearms did wound 
and maim divers other good and loyal citizens of said Commonwealth, to the Jurors 
unknown, when attempting, with lawful authority, to uphold and maintain said Consti- 
tution and laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and for the purpose, end, and aim of 
overthrowing and abolisiiing tlie Constitution and laws of said Commonwealth, and 
estahlisiiing in tlie place thereof, another and different government, and constitution and 
laws hostile thereto, did then and there feloniously and traitt)rously, and in military array, 
join in open battle and deadly warfare with the civil officers and soldiers in the lawful 
service of the said Commonwealth of Virginia, and did then and there shoot and dis 



,60 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION 

charge clivers guns and pistols, charged with gunpowder and leaden bullet?, against and 
upon divers parties of the militia and volunteers embodied and acting under tlie command 
of Colonel Robert "W, Baylor, and of Colonel Jt)l)n Thomas Gibson, and other officers of 
said Commonvvealtli, with lawful authority to quell and subdue the said John Brown, 
Aaron C. Stephens, alias Aaron D. Stephens, Edwin Cop[)ie, Shields Green, and Jolm 
Copland, and other rebels and traitors assembled, organized, and acting witii tliem, as 
aforesaid, to the evil example of all others iu like case offending, and against the peace 
and dignity of the Commonwealth. 

Second Count. — And the Jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do further present 
that the said John Brown, Aaron 0. Stephens, alias Aaron D. Stephens, Edwin Coppie, 
Shields Green, and John Copland, severally, on the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth 
days of October, in the year of our Lord eighteen hnndred and fifty-nine, in the said 
County of Jefferson, and Commonwealth of Virginia, and within the jurisdiction of this 
Court, not having the fear of God before their eyes, but moved and seduced by the false 
and malignant counsels of others, and the instigations of the devil, did each severnllj^, 
maliciously, and feloniously conspire with eacli other, and with a certain Jolm E. Cook, 
John Kagi, Charles Tidd, and others to the jurors unknown, to induce certain slaves, to 

wit: — Jim, Sam, Mason, and Catesby the slaves, and property 

of Lewis W. Washington, and Henry, Levi, Ben, Jerry, Phil, George, and Bill, the slaves 
and property of John H. Allstadt, and other slaves to the Jurors unknown, to rebel and 
make insurrection against their masters and owners, and against the Government and tlie 
Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia: and then and tliere did mali- 
ciously and feloniously advise said slaves, and other slaves to tlie Jurors unknown, to rebel 
and make insurrection against their masters and owners, and against the Government, the 
Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia to the evil example of all others 
in like cases offending and against the peace and dignity of the OomnKmwealth. 

Third Count. — And the Jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, further present that 
the said John Brown, Aaron 0. Stephens, alias Aaron D. Stephens, Edwin Coppie, Shields 
Green, and John Copland, severally, on the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth days of 
October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine, in tlie county 
of Jefferson and the Commonwealtli of Virginia aforesaid, and witliin the jurisdiction afore- 
said, in and upon the bodies of Thomas Boerly, George W. Turner, Fontaine Beckham, 
Luke Quinn, white persons, and Hay ward Slieppard, a free negro, in the peace of the 
Commonwealth then and there being, feloniously, willfully, and of their malice aforethouglit, 
did make an assault, and with firearms called Sharpe's rifles, and otlier deadly weapons to 
the Jurors unknown, then and there, charged with gunpowder and leaden bullets, did tiien 
and there feloniously, willfully, and of their malice aforethought, shoot and discliarge tlir 
same against the bodies severally and respectively of the said Thomas Boerly, George W. 
Turner, Fontaine Beckham, Luke Quinn, and Hayward Slieppard; and that tbe said John 
Brown, Aaron 0. Stephens, alias Aaron D. Stephens, Edwin Coppie, Shields Green, and 
John Copland, with the leaden bullets aforesaid, out of the firearms called Sharpe's rifles, 
aforesaid, shot and discharged as aforesaid, and with the other deadly weapons to the 
jurors unknown, as aforesaid, then and there feloniously, willfully, and of tiieir malice 
aforethought did strike, penetrate and wound the said Thomas Boerly, George AV. Turner, 
Fontaine Beckham, Luke Quinn, Hayward Slieppard, each severally; to wit: the said 
Thomas Boerly in and upon the left side; the said George W. Turner in and upon the 
left shoulder; the said Fontaine Beckham in and ujion the right breast; the said Luke 
Quinn in and upon the abdomen, and the said Hayward Sheppard in and u|)on the back 
and side, giving to the said Thomas Boerly, George W. Turner, Fontaine Becklmm, Luke 
Quinn, Hayward Sheppard, then and there with the leaden bullets, so as aforesaid shot 
and discharged by them, severally and respectively out of the Sharpe's rifles aforesaid, 
and with the other deadly weapons to the Jurors unknown, as aforesaid, each one 
mortal wound, of which said mortal wounds they the said Thomas Boerly, George W. 
Turner, Fontaine Beckham, Luke Quinn, and Hayward Sheppard each died; and so the 
Jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the said John Brown, Aaron C. 
Stephens, alias Aaron D. Stephens, Edwin Coppie. Shields Green, and John Copland, 
then and there, them the said Thomas Boerly, George W. Turner, Fontaine Beckham, 
Luke Quinn, and Hayward Sheppard, iu the manner aforesaid, and by the means afore- 
said, feloniously, willfully, and of their, and each of their malice aforethought, did kill 
and murder, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth. 

Fourth Count. — And the Jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, further present that 
the said John Brown, Aaron 0. Stephens, alias Aaron D. Stephens and Edwin Coppie and 



THE HARPEE'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 61 

Shields Green, each severally on tlie seventeenth day of October, in the year of our Lord 
eighteen hundred and fifty-nine, in the County of Jefferson and Coninionvvealth of Virjiiniii 
aforesaid, and witliin tiie jurisdiction of tiiis Court, in and upon tlie bodies of certain Thomas 
Boerly, George W. Tui'iier, and Fontaine Beckham, in tlie peace of the Commonwealth, 
then and tliere being feloniously, willfully, and of their malice aforethought, did nial<e an 
assault, and with guns called Sharpe's rifles, tlien and there charged witli guni)o\vder and 
leaden bidlets, did then and there feloniously, willfully, and of their, and each of their 
malice af "rethought, shoot and di>chai'ge the same against the bodies of the said Thomas 
Boerly, George W. Turner, and Fontaine Beckham and that the said John Brown, Aarou 
C. Stephens, nlias Aaron D. Stephens, E<hviu Coppie, and Shields Green, with leadea 
bullets aforesaid, shot out of the Sharpe's rifles aforesaid, then and there, feloniously, will- 
fully, and of their malice aforethought, did strike, penetrate, and wound the said Thomas 
Boerly, George W. Turner, and Fontaine Beckham, each severally, viz.: Tlie said Thomas 
Boerly in and upon the left side; the said George AV. Turner, in and upon the left 
shoulder and breast, and the said Fontaine Beckham in and upon the right breast, giving 
to the -aid Tliomas Boerly, George W. Turner, and Fontaine Beckham, then and there, 
with leaden bullets aforesaid, shot by them severally out of Sharpe's rifles afore-^aid, each 
one n\oit;il wound, of which ankl mortal wounds tiiey the said Thomas Boerly, George 
W. Turner, and Fontaine Beckham then and there died ; and that the said John Cop- 
land, then and there, feloniously, willfully, and of his malice aforethought, was present, 
aiding, helping, abetting, comforting and assisting the said John Brown, Aaron C.Stephens, 
aliasAaron D. Stephens, Edwin Cop|iie, and Shields Green in the felony and nmrder afore- 
said, in manner aforesaid to commit. And so the Jurors aforesaid, upon tlieir oailis, do 
say that tlie said John Brown, Aaniu C. Stephens, alias Aaron D. Srephens, Edwia 
Coppie, Sliields Green, and John Copland, then and there them, the said Thomas 
Boeily, George W. Turner, and Fontaine Beckham, in the manner afore>aid and by the 
means a'oresaid, feloniously, willfully, and of their and each of their malice aforethought, 
did kill, and murder against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

Lewis W. Washington, John II. Allstadt, John E. P. Dangerfield, Alexander Kelly, 
Emanuel Spantrler, Armstead M. Ball, Joseph A. Bi-ua, William Johnson, Lewis P. Starry, 
Archibald H. Kitzmiller, were sworn in open Court this 2Gih day of October, 1859, to 
give evidence to the Grand Jury upon this bill of indictment. 

Teste : Robkkt T. Beown, Clerk, 

A true copy of said iodictment. 

Teste : Robert T. Beown, 

Clerk of the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, in the State of Virginia. 

Wliich bill of indictment the Grand Jury returned this 26th day of October. 

A true bill. Thomas Ruthebfoed, Foreman. 

October, 26, 1859. 

The prisoners were brought into court, accompanied by a body of armed jnen. They 
passed through the streets, and entered the Court House without the slightest demonstra- 
tion on the part of the people. 

Brown looked something better, and his eye was not so much swollen. Stevens had to 
be supported, and reclined on a mattress on tlie floor of the court-room, evidently unable 
to sit. He has the appearance of a dying man, breathing wmi great difiiculty. 

Before the reading of the arraignment, 

Mr. IIuxTEE called the attention of the Court to the necessity of appointing additional 
counsel for the prisoners, stating that one of the counsel (Faulkner) appointed by the 
County Court, considering his duty in that capacity as having ended, had left. The pri- 
soners, therefore, had no other counsel than Mr. Botts. If tlie Court was about to assitm 
them other counsel, it might be jiroper to do so now. 

The Court stated that it would as-^igu them any members of the bar they might select. 

Afier consuming Capt. Brown, Mr. Borxs said that the prisoner retained him, and desired 
to have Mr. Green, his assistant, to assist him. If the Court would accede to that arrange- 
ment, it would be very agreeable to him personally. 

The CouET requested Mr. Green to act as counsel for the prisoner, aad he consented to 
do so. 



62 THE HARPEE'S FERRY INSURRECTIOIN'. 

Ciipt. Bkown tlien rose and said : I do not intend to detain the Court, but barely wish 
to say, as I have been i)rouiised a fair trial, that I am not now in circumstances that 
enable :ne to attend a trial, owing to the state of my health. I have a severe wound in 
the bade, or ratiier in one kidney, which enfeebles me very jnnch. But I am du'iii^ well, 
and I only ask for a very short delay of mj' trial, and I think I may get able to li>tcn to 
it; anil 1 merely ask this, that, as the saying is, ''the devil nia\ have his dues," no more. 
I wish to say, further, tliat my hearing is impaired, and rendered indistinct, in conse- 
quence of wounds I have about my head. I canncit he.ir distinctly at all; I could rot 
hear what the Court has said this morning. I would be glad to hear wliat it said on my 
trial, and am nitw doing better than I could expect to be under the circumstances. A 
very short delay would be all I would a>k. I do not presume to ask more than a very 
short delay, so that I may in some degree recover, and be able at least to listen to my trial, 
and hear what questions are asked of the citizens, and what their answers are. If that 
could be allowed me, I should be very much obliged. 

Mr. Hunter said tliat the request was rather premature. The arraignment should be 
made, atul this question could then be considered. 

Tlie Court ordered the indictment to be read, so that the prisoners could plead guilty 
or not guilty, and would then consider Mr. Brown's request. 

The prisoners were compjelled to stand during the arraignment, but it was with diffi- 
culty, Stevens being held upright by two bailiffs. 

The reading of the indictment occupied about twenty minutes; each of the prisoners 
responded to the question, " Not Guilty," and desired to he tried separately. 

Mr. Hunter — The State elects to try John Bmwn first. 

Mr. BoTTS — 1 am instructed by Brown to say that he is mentally and physically unable 
to i)rocceed with his trial at this time. He has heard to-day that counsel of liis own 
choice will be here, whom he will, of course, prefer. He oidy asks for a delny of two 
or three days. It seems to me but a reasonable request, and I hope the Court will 
grant it. 

Mr. Hunter said he did not think it the duty of the prosecutor for the Commonwealth 
or for one occupying the position, to oppose anything that justice required, nor to object 
to anything that involved a simple consideratiiui of humanity, where it could be )>roi)erly 
allowed; yet, in regard to this proposition to delay the trial of John Brown two or three 
days, they deemed it their duty that the Court, before determining matters, should be put 
in possession of facts and circumstsmces, judicially, that they were aware of in the line of 
their duties as prosecutors. His own opinion was, that it was not proper to delay the 
trial of this prisoner a single day, and that there was no necessity for it. He alluded iu 
general terms to the condition of things that surrounded them. They were such as to 
render it danserous to delay, to say nothing of their exceeding pressure upon the physical 
resources of the community, growing out of circumstances connected with nttairs for 
which the prisoners were to be tried. He said our laws in making provisions for allowing, 
in the discretion of the Court, briefer time than usual in cises of conviction, for ^uch 
offenders, between the condemnation and execution, evidently indicates, indirectly, the 
necessity of acting proraptl^and decisively, though always justly, in proceedings of this 
kind. In reference to Broviji's physical condition, he asked the Court not to receive the 
unimportant statements of the prisoner as sufficient ground for delay, but that the jailer nnd 
physician be examined. As to expecting counsel from abroad, he said that no imjiedi- 
meut had been thrown in the way of the prisoners' ]»rocaring such counsel as they de>ired, 
but, on the contrary, every facility had been afforded, able and intelligent counsel had 
been assigned them here, and he appreliended that there was little reason to expect the 
attendance of those gentlemen from the North who had been written for. There was 
also a ])ubHc duty resting upon them' to avoid, as far as po-sible. within the forms of Jaw, 
and with reference to the great and never-to-be-lost-sight-of giving a fair and impurtial 
trial to the prisoners, the introduction of anything likely to weaken our present position, 
and give strength to our enemies abroad, whet'ier it issues from the Jury iu time, or 
•whether it comes from the mouths of the prisoners or any other source. It was their 
position that had been imperilled and jeopardized, as they sup[)osed by enemies. 

Mr. Harding concurred in the objection of Mr. Hunter, on the ground of danger in 
delay, and also because Brown was the leader of the insurrection, and his trial ought to 



THE IIARPEE'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 63 

be proceeded with on account of tlie iidvaiitage tliereby accruing to the trial of tiie 
otlit-rs. 

Mr. GRKE>f reniarlced tliat he liad had no opportunity of consulting willi liie prisoner, 
or preparing a defence. The letters for Nortliern counsel liad been sent olf, but not suffi- 
cient time lias been atforded to receive answers. Under the circumstances, he thouglit a 
sliort (lehiy desirable. 

Mr. fJOTTS ad<led that at present tlie excitement was so great as perliaps to deter 
Nortiiein counsel from coming out; but now that it iiad been jiromised tliat tlie prisoners 
should have a fair and impartial trial, he presumed that they would come and take part 
iu the case. 

The Court stated that if physical Inabilitj- were shown, a reasonable delay must be 
granted. As to the expectation of other counsel, that did not constitute a sufficient cause 
for delay, as there was no certainty about theii- coming. Under the circumstances in 
which the prisoners wore situated, it was rational tiiat they should seek delay. The brief 
period remaining before the clothe of the term of the Court, rendered it necessary to pro- 
ceed as expeditiously as practicable, and to be cautious about granting delays. He would 
request the physician who had attended Brown to testify to as his condition. 

Dr. Mason tliought Brown was able to go on understandingly with the trial. He did 
not tliink his wounds were such as to affect his mind or recollection, lie had always 
conversed freely and intelligibly about this atfair. Heiiadheard him complain of debility, 
but not of hardness of hearing. 

Mr. Cockerel, one of the guards of the jail, said that Brown had always been ready to 
converse freelv. 



The. Court refused to postone the trial, and the whole afternoon was occupied in obtain- 
ing a jury for the trial of Brown, who was brought into court on a cot. 

Afternoon Session, 2 o'clock. 

The jailer was ordered to bring Brown into court. He found him in bed, from which 
he declared himself unable to rise. He was accordingly brought into court on a cot, 
which was set down within the bar. The prisoner laid most of the time with his eyes 
closed, and the counterpane drawn up close to his chin. The jury were then called and 
sworn. The jurors were questioned as to having formed or expressed any opinion that 
would prevent their deciding the case impartially on the merits of the testimony. The 
Court excluded those who were present at Harper's Ferry during the insurrection and 
saw the prisoners perpetrating the act for whicli they are about to be tried. They were 
all from distant parts of the country, mostly farmers — some of them owning a few slaves, 
and others none. The examination was continued nntil 24 were decided by the Court 
and counsel to be competent jurors. Out of these 24, the counsel fn* the jirisoner had a 
right to strike oft" eight, and then twelve are drawn by ballot out of the remaining sixteen. 
The following were the questions put to the jurors: 

"Were you at Harper's Ferry on Monday or Tuesday ? ^ 

How long did you remain there? ' 

Did you witness any of the proceedings for which this.i'>arty is to be tried ? 

Did you form or express any opinion from what you saw there with regard to the guilt 
of innocence of these people ? 

Would that opinion disqualify you from giving these men a fair trial ? 

Did you h^r any of the evidence in this case before the Examining Court? 

What was your opinion based on? 

Was it a decided one, or was it one which would yield to evidence, if the evidence Avas 
diiferent from what you supposed? 

Are you sure that you can try this case impartially from the evidence alone, witlmut 
reference to anything you have heard or seen of this transaction? 

Have you any conscientious scrn]iles against convicting a part}" of an I'tfeiice to which 
the law assigns the punishment of death, merely because that is the penalty assigned? 



64 THE HARPEE'S FERRY INSURRECTI02T. 

The following were finally fixed upon as the twelve Jurors: 

RiOIIARD TiMBEKLAKE, JaCOB J. MiLLER, 

JosEPri Myeks, Thomas Osborxe, 

Thomas Watson, je., George W. Boyer, 

Isaac Dcst, John 0. Wiltshire, 

John 0. McClttre, George W. Tapp, 

William Riohtsdale, William A. Martix, 

The Jury were not sworn on the case, but the Judge cliarged them not to converse 
upon the case or to permit others to converse Avith tiiem. They were dismissed at five 
o'clock, and the prisoner was then carried over to the jail on his cot, and the Court 
adjourned till morning. 



SECOND DAY. 

Charlestown, Thursday, Oct. 27, 1859. 

Brown was brought in walking, and laid down on liis cot at full length within the bar. 
He looked considerably better, the swelling having left his eyes. 

Senator Mason was present. 

Messrs. Harding and Hunter again appeared for the Commonwealth, and Messrs. Botts 
and Green for tlie prisoner. 

Mr. Botts read the following dispatch, which was received tliis morning: 

" Akron, Ohio, Thursday, Oct. 26, 1859. 
" To C. J. Faulkner, and Lawson Botts : 

"Joim Brown, leader of the insurrection at ITarper's Ferry, and several of his family 
have resided in this county many years. Insanity is hereditary in that famil}'. His 
mother's sister died with it, and a daugiiter of that sister lias been two years in a Lunatic 
Asylum. A son and daughter of his mi>ther's brother have also been confined in the 
limatic asylum, and another son of that brother is now insane and under close restraint. 
Tliese facts can be conclusively proven by witnesses residing here, who will doubtless 
attend the trial if desired. 

"A. H.Lewis." 

William C. Allen, telegraphic operator at the Akron office, adds to the above dispatch 
that A. H. Lewis is a resident of that place, and his statements are entitled to implicit 
credit. 

Mr. Botts said that on receiving the above dispatch he went to the jail with his asso- 
ciate, Mr. Green, and read it to Brown, and is desired by the latter to say that in bis 
father's family there has never been any insanity at all. On his mother's side there have 
been repeated instances of it. He adds that his first wife showed symptoms of it, which 
were also evident in his first and second sons by that wife. Some portions of the state- 
ments in tlie dispatch lie knows to be correct, and of other portions he is ignorant. He 
does not know whetlier his mother's sister died in the lunatic asylum, but he (h)es believe 
that a daughter of tjjat sister has been two years in the asjlum. He also believes that a 
son and daughter of his mother's brother have been confined in an asylum; but lie is not 
apprised of the fact that another son of that brother is now insane and in close confine- 
ment. Brown also desires his counsel to say that he does not put in the plea of insanity, 
and if he has been at all insane he is totally unconscious of it, yet he adds that those who 
are most insane generally suppose that they have more reason and sanity tlian tiiose 
around tiiem. For himself he disdains to put in that plea, and seeks no inununity of the 
kind. Tiiis movement is made totally without his approbation or concurrence, and was 
unknown to him, till the recei[)t of the dispatch above. 

Brown then raised himself up in bed, and said : '' I will add, if the Court will allow 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION". 65 

me, that I look upon it as a miserable artifice and pretext of tliose who ought to take a 
ditFerent course in regard to me, if tliey took any at all, and I view it with contempt more 
than otherwise. As I remarked to Mr. Green, insane persons, so far as my experience 
goes, have but little ability to judge of their own sanity; and, if I am insane, of course I 
sliould thiidv I know more than all the rest of the world. But 1 do not think so. I am 
perfectly unconscious of insanity, and I reject, so far as I am capable, any attempt to 
interfere in my belialf on that score." 

Mr. BoTTS stated that he was further instructed by Mr. Brown to say that, rejecting tliia 
plea entirely, and seeking no delay for that reason, he does repeat to the Court his request 
made yesterday, that time be given for the foreign counsel to arrive that he has now 
reason to expect. 

Yesterday afternoon a dispatch was received from Cleveland, Ohio, signed "Dan. 
Tilden," dated October 26, asking Brown whether it would be of use for counsel to leave 
last night. To this dispatch answer was returned ttiat the Jury would be sworn this 
morning, and that Brown desired the counsel to come at once. 

The telegrai)hic operator here stated that this dispatch would be sent off at once, in 
advance of the dispatches sent by reporters, and he had learned this morning tliat it was 
sent before the storm of last night interrupted communication, and that counsel might 
reach here by 12 or 1 o'clock to-night. 

The course taken by Brown this morning makes it evident that lie sought no postpone- 
ment for the mere purpose of delay, as he rejects the plea of insanity. Still, in his opinion 
lie could have a fairer trial if the defence were conducted by his own counsel than if he 
were defended by the counsel at present here. 

Mr. ITuxTEP. observed that the prisoner's counsel having renewed the motion of yesterday 
for delay for a specific period, indicated and based upon information received in the form 
of a telegram, the question now was whether there was sufficient grounds in this 
additional information to cliange tlie decision announced by the Court yestei-day on the 
same motion. If the Court did not at once deem this circumstance wholly insufficient, 
before the decision was made the counsel for the Commonwealth deemed it liis duty to 
call attention to two or tliree matters connected with tlie affair. Tliougli desirous to 
avoid forestalling tlie trial of this case, in regard to the present prisoner at the bar, they 
were prepared to prove tliat lie had made open, repeated, and constant acknowledgment 
of everything cliarged against him. He had gloried in it, and we have but an exhibition 
of the same spirit and the same purpose in his announcement that he would permit no 
defence of insanity to be put in. Wijat does he mean by wishing delay for the purpose 
of having a fair trial? In a proper sen=e, and in the only sense in which it can be 
regarded by tlie Court, it is a tair trial according to the laws of Virginia, and the safe- 
guards against Avronging the prisoner wliich these laws throw around him. If the 
prisf>ner's idea of a fair trial is to have it so shaped as to produce a fairness in his con- 
ception, outside of what the laws recognize, it becomes the duty of the c()unsel tor the 
Cumuionwealth, and, as he appreliended, of the Co.irt, to resist any attempt of that kind. 
Considering the surrounding circumstances, to which it was unnecessary to particularly 
advert, tliere could be no right to claim delay, except so far as the prisoner could show 
in a relialde form that such delay was necessary to do justice in his particular case, 
according to the laws and policy of the State of\'^rgioia. In regard to tlie telegram 
read, we know not who this Mr. Lewis is. We know not whether he is to come 
here ns counsel for the prisoner, or whether he wants to liead a band of desperadoes. 
"We have a right to believe the latter as well as the former. There had been time enough 
since tlie letter for northern counsel was mailed last Saturday, for it to reach him, and 
for liim to arrive here ere this, if he had designed coming. It was fairly inferable tiiat 
he did not intend to come, and the telegram did not say he would come. But might it 
not be an attempt to gain time and learn the latest day when a rescue could be attempted? 
While commending the earnestness and zeal of the prisoner's counsel, he must ask the 
Court to rt-ject tlie motion, and proceed with tlie trial at once. 

Mr. IIardixg would be reluctant to witlihold from a prisoner charged with a crime of 
the greatest enormity, as in tlie present case, anything calculated to afford him the amplest 
opportunity of justice; but he had able and intelligent counsel assigned him, who would 
see that he was fairly and impartially tried, and he therefore fully concurred with thb 



66 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION". 

remarks of his colleague in opposing the motion. He referred also to the fact that 
IlrowM pretended yesterday afternoon that he was unable to walk, and was brouglit into 
Court on a bed, yet lie walked back to jail after the close of the trial without difficulty. 
He tlionjrlit tliose were mere pretences for delay, which tlie Court should overrule. 

Mr. Greex remarked that one day's delay would be sufficient to ascertain whether the 
expected counsel would come or not, and no prejudice could result to tlie Commonwealth 
from a small delay of that cliaracter. In reference to the new matter brou^^lit to tlie con- 
sideration of the Court, he did not believe the prisoner had made any acknowledgment 
upon winch he could be convicted. All the acknowledgments, so ftir as be knew their 
character, referred to the treason, and those confessions, according to our law, are 
insufficient to convict a party who may have acknowledged the fact in the plainest manner 
to one hundred witnesses — for if that is all tlie evidence upon which the Commonwealth 
relies, the prisoner cannot be convicted, because our code provides that such confession 
sliall he made in open court, and the prisoner has denied in open court, by putting in a 
plea of not guilty. As to sufficient time having elapsed for counsel to reach here, it was 
a reasonable supposition that the persons to whom Brown wrote were absent, and did not 
immediately receive the letter. The Commonwealth attorney does not know who Lewis 
is, but he is an ex-member of Congress, and said to be a man of respectabilit}-. As to 
what is called Brown's sham sickness of yesterday, it should be remembered that it was 
not then, nor is it now, made the ground of ap[)lication for delay. He did not think this 
trial should be hurried through, for the reason that a rescue might be apprehended, for 
such fears were idle. 

The Court stated that he must see, in this case as any other, tliat a proper cause for a 
delay was made out before granting such an application. In the present case he could not 
see that the telegram gave any assurance that the additional counsel intended to come. The 
prisoner is now defended by counsel, who will take care that no improper evidence is 
adduced against him, and that all proper evidence in his behalf shall be presented. He 
could not see that a proper cause for delay was made out. The expected counsel might 
arrive before the case was closed, and could then see all the testimony which h;ul been 
taken, and thus the prisoner might have the benefit of their advice although tlie case now 
proceeds. As to the matter of insanity, it was not presented in a reliable form ; instead 
of mere statements, we should have affidavits, or something of that character. He thought, 
therefore, that the Jury should be sworn and the trial proceed. 

The Jury having been sworn to fairly and impartially try the prisoner, the Couet 
directed that the prisoner might foi'ego the form of standing while arraigned, if he desired 
it. 

Mr. BoTTS put the inquiry to the prisoner, and he continued to lie prostrate on his cot 
while the long indictment, filling seven pages, was read. 

First : Insurrection. 

Second : Treason. 

TTiird : Murder. 

Mr. HARDiNa addressed the Jury. He presented the facts of the case, detailing the 
scenes of the Armory, the killing of the bridge-keeper, and the subsequent killing of the 
citizens named in the indictment; the seizure of Lewis Washington and Mr. Allstadt, 
■with their slaves; the forming of a government within the limits of the Commonwealth; 
the holding of the citizens as prisoners of war, and the subsequent capture. He read the 
law on treason, levying war against the State, giving comfort to its enemies, or estab- 
lisliing any other government its limits, punishable with death ; the law against advising 
with a slave, punishable wnth death; and the law on the murder of citizens, punishable 
with death. All these charges would be distinctly proven, beyond a possibility of a 
doubt on the minds of the Jury. He would show that the prisoners' whole object was to 
rob our citizens of their slaves, and carry them ofiF by violence, and he was happy to say 
against the wills of the slaves, all of them liaving escaped, and rushed back to their mri'^ters 
at the first opportunity. He concluded by urging the Jury to cast aside all prejudices, 
and give the prisoners a fair and' impartial trial; and not to allow their hatred of 
Abolitionists to influence them against those who have raised the black flag on the soil 
of this Commonwealth. 

Mr. GieEE>f, on the part of the prisoner, after giving the law applicable to the case, said 
that the Jury must bear in mind that they are judges of the law and tlie facts, and that if 
they have any doubt as to law, or the fact of the guilt of this prisoner, they are to give 
the prisoner the benefit of that doubt. On the first charge of treason, as a specific act of 
treason must be proven, it must be proven that he attempted to establish a .separate and 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 6t 

distinct government, and it ninst also be proven what was pnrposed of treasonable acts 
before you can convict hint on. those cliarges. If it is intended to rely on his confessions 
to pi'ove treason, the law distinctly says, "No conviction can be made on confessions, 
imless made in open Court." Tiiere must be sutficient evidence to prove the charge, 
independent of any confessions out of the Court, and it requires two distinct witnesses to 
prove each and every act of treason. 

Second: Conspiring with slaves to rebel and make insurrection. The Jury mu.-t be 
satisfied tliat such conspiracy was done within the State of Virginia, and witiiin the ju- 
risdiction of this Court. If it was done in Maryland, this Court could not ])unisii the act. 
If it was done within the limits of the Armory at Harper's Ferry, it was not done within 
the liMiits of this State, the Government of the United States holding excln!>ive jurisdic- 
tion witliin the said grounds. Attorney-General Gushing had decided tiiis point with 
regard to the Armory grounds at Harper's Ferry, wliich opinion was read to the Jury, 
siiowing tliat persons residing within the limits of the Armory cannot even be taxed by 
Virginia, and that crimes committed witiiin the said limits are punishable by the Federal 
Courts. Although the Jury may doubt about the law on this subject, they must give the 
prisoners the benefit of that doubt upon the trial. Over murder, if committed witiiin the 
limits of the Armory, this Court ha> no jurisdiction, and in the case of Mr. Beckham, if 
he was killed on the railroad bridge, it was committed within the State of Maryland, 
which State claims jurisdiction up to the Armory grounds. Although he may be guilty 
of murder, it must be proven that it was deliberate and premeditated murder to make it 
a capital (vffence; if otiierwise, the killing was murder in the second degree, punishable 
with impriso.nment. If you have any doubt on these points you must give that doubt to 
the prisoners. He was satisfied the Jury will not allow any outside excitement to affect 
them, and that they will do their duty faithfully and impartially. 

Mr. BoTTS impressively addressed the Jury. The case was an unusual one, and the 
crime charged in many respects unknown. The .Jury trial called for a calm, unim- 
passioned deliberation, and not the seizure upon loose statements for a conviction. The 
Jury must be above all jirejudices and influences, and deliberate calmly, and free of all 
resentment, bearing in mind tiiat the mission of the law is not to wreak vengeiuice, and 
that the majes>ty of the law is best maintained when Judges, Counsel and Jury rise above 
these influences. The burden of proof is on the Commonwealth, and if she fails to sub- 
vStantiate her charges, you are bound to do your duty impartiallj-, and find your verdict on 
the lawand testimony tliat the Commonwealtli may be able to present to you. He then 
proceeded to go over the same grounds taken by Mr. Green on each of tlie three points of 
the indictment — treason, insurrection and murder. It is no difference how much a Jury 
may be convinced in their own minds of tlie guilt of the prisoner, it is essential tliat they 
must have proof of [lositive guilt, in a caselike this, involving both life and liberty. 

Mr. BoTTS, in reviewing the law bearing on the case, evinced a determination to avail 
himself of every advantage that the law allows, and to do his duty to tlie prisoner earnestly 
and faithfully. It was due to the prisoner to state that he believed' himself to be actuated 
by the highest and noblest feelings tliat ever coursed through a human breast, and that his 
instructions were to destroy neither [iroperty nor life. They would prove by those gentle- 
men who were prisoners that they were treated with respect, and that they were kept in 
positions of safety^ and that no violence was offered to them. These facts must be taken 
into consideration, and have their due Aveight with the Jury. 

Mr. Hunter followed stating his purpose to avoid anything by way of argument or 
exphina*tion not immediately connected with the particular issue to be tried, and to march 
straight forward to the attainment, so far as may be in aur power, of tlie ends of justice, 
by either convicting or acquitting the prisoner at the bar. With a single preliminary 
remark explanatory of his posinon here as assistant, a position which had hei-n assigned 
to him by the Governor of the Commonwealth, as well as his honor the Judge, he 
passed at once to a review of what was the law in reference to the case, and what he 
expected to be able to prove to the satisfaction of the Jury. First, as to high treason, this 
was probably the first case of high treason, or treason against the State, that ever had 
been tried iiere by our State Courts, and he fervently hoped that it would be the last that 
would ever occur ; and probably in some degree not only upon our decision, but upon our 
prompt decision of tliis case, will that result depend. He thought his friends on the other 
side were totally mistaken in their view that, the law as it now stands on our statute 
books iu reference to overt acts was, either in language, or substantially, that contained 
in the Constitution of the United States. On the contrary, the phraseology had been 
varied from that of the Constitution, and, as he conceived, for a plain and palpable pur- 



68 THE HARPEK'S FERRY INSURRECTION". 

pose. All tlie powers vested in the Federal Government were given with great jealousy. 
This was a historical fact, perfectly fnniiliar, and consequent!}', while trea.suii against 
the United States consisted only in levying war against them or adljering to their enemies 
and giving tliera aid and comfort, tliere is no provision tliat no person shall he convicted 
of treason unless upon the testimony of two witnesses of some overt act or confession in 
open Court. Yet the State law is more full, and includes within its definition of treason 
the estahiishing, without the autliority of the Legislature, any Government witliin its 
limits, separate from tlie existing Government, or tlie holdmg or executing, under such 
Government, of any office ; professing allegiance or fidelity to it, or resisting the execution 
of law, under the color of its autliority ; and it goes on to declare that such treason, if 
proved hy the testimony of two witnesses to tiie same overt act, or by confession in 
Court, sliail be punished with death. Any one of these acts constitutes treason against 
this Commonwealth, and he believed tliat the prisoner had been guilty of each and all tiiese 
acts, which would be proven in the clearest manner, not by two, hut by a dozen witnesses, 
unless limited by the lack of time. Tlie prisoner had attempted to break down the 
existing Government of the Commonwealth, and establish on its ruins anew Government ; 
he !iad usurped tlie office of Commander-in-Chief of this new government, and, together 
with his whole band, professed allegiance and fidelity to it ; he represented not only the 
civil authorities of state, but our own military ; he is doubly, trebly and quadruply guilty 
of treason. Mr. Hunter proceeded again to the question of jurisdiction over the Armory 
grounds, and examined the authcu-ity cited on the other side, of Attorney-General Gushing ; 
the latter was an able man, but he came from a region of country where opinions are very 
different from ours in relation to the power of the Federal Government as affecting State 
riglits. Our Courts are decidedly adverse to Mr. Cushing's views. In all time past, the 
jurisdiction of this County of Jefferson in criminal offences committed at Harper's Ferry, 
Las been uninterrupted and unchallenged whether they were committed on the Govern- 
ment property or not. He cited an instance, twenty-nine years ago, where an atrocious 
murder was committed between the very shops in front of which these men fought their 
battles, and the criminal was tried here, convicted, and executed under our laws. There 
"was a broad difference between the cession of jurisdiction by Virginia to the Federal 
Government and mere assent of the State that the Federal Government should become a 
land-holder within its limits. The law of Virginia, by virtue of which the grouTids at 
Harper's Ferry were purchased by the Federal Government, ceded no jurisdiction. Brown 
■was also guilty, on his own notorious confession, in advising conspiracy. In regard to the 
charge of murder, the proof will be that this man was not only actually engaged in murdering 
our citizens, but that he was the chief director of the whole movement. No matter whetlier 
he was present on the spot or a mile off, he is equally guilty. In conclusion, Mr. Hunter 
said that he hoped the case would be considered with fairness and impartiality, and without 
fear, favor or affection ; and he only asked that the penalty might be visited on the pris- 
oner which law denounces, which reason denounces, which our safety requires, and 
which the laws of Gofl and man approve. 
The afternoon session assembled at 3^ o'clock. 

WITNESSES GALLED. 

Dr. Staery, on Sunday, night, heard a shot fired at the Ferry ; heard a cry, looked out 
and saw two men passing from toward the Armory gate, and a tall man came from the 
Armory gate, and two men from the cars hallooed, "There he goes now!" the man 
stopped, raising his rifle; they followed him to the Armory gate, and exchanged shots 
with him ; Conductor Phelps was one of those men ; afterward found the black man 
Hay ward dying in the railroad office; he said he was commanded to stop by the men on 
the bridge, and refusing, they fired upon him ; saw several men patrolling during the 
night, and go into the bridge; did not know what to make of it, and went to inquire of 
the Armory watchman what is meant ; met a man who levelled his i-ifle at him; asked 
him where the watchman was, and was answered that he was not there, but that there 
were '' a few of us here ;" afterwitrd, in the morning, saw a wagon witli three armed men 
following it; then went to Mr. Kitzmiller and Mr. Ball, and told them that an armed 
body of men had possession of the Armory, and not to go near it; also gave informatioa 
to tlie other persons employed in the Armory; saw also three of them at Hall's works; 
did not see more than thirty ; recognized them by a peculiar hat they wore ; rode to 
Charlestown to give the alarm and get assistance; returned about 11 o'clock, and 
assisted in bearing orders and in guiding the armed forces to the best place of attack ; 
did not see or recognize Brown there at all. 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 69 

Cross-examined by Mr. Gkeen — As I rode past tlie Armory, armed mea were at tbo 
gate ; tliey did not atteiupt to stop me ; I was determined not "to be stoi)ped. 

Couduc'tor PiiEi.PS, sworn — Ou Sunday niglit, the IStli, my train arrived at 1.25, bound 
east; saw no watchman at tiie bridge; thought it strange, as liis business Avas to bo 
there; was talking to the engineer, and Avas in tlie act of starting aliead, wiien the 
watchman came up to me, much excited, to state that lie liad been attaclced in the bridge 
by men carrying rifles ; Mr. Horsey was there with my light before starting the train ; the 
baggage-master and a passenger accompanied him, and wlien they entered tlie bridge .some 
one said, ''stand and deliver;" liad previously told tlje engineer to follow him slowly, 
but immediately saw the muzzles of four rifles resting on a railing, and pointed at us; 
told the engineer to "back" — something was wrong on tlie bridge— which lie did; as I 
got on the tresseling, I heard the report of a gun, and llayward, the colored man, came 
running to me, and said, "Captain, I am shot;" the ball iiad entered the back, an*! came 
out under the left nipple ; carried him to the railroad office, and started for the doctor, 
and saw one man come out of the bridge, and go toward the Armory gate ; remarked, 
'•Tliere he goes now," and Tlirogmorton, clerk at the Wager House, flred at him; the 
shot was returned by two men at the Armory gate; I was close behind Tlirogmorton, 
who exchanged several shots with them; this was ten minutes after Hay ward was shot; 
heard the men loading their rifles again; the reports were very loud, and I wondered 
why the people were not aroused ; walked back to the railroad office, and one of the 
party on the bridge came out; lie said, "You can come over the bridge with your train;" 
replied, "I would rather not, after these proceedings," and asked, " What do you want?" 
he replied, "We Avant liberty, and we intend to liave it;" I then asked, "What do you 
mean?" he replied, "You will find out in a day or tAVo;" I then felt alarmed for the 
safety of myself and passengers, and concluded to wait till daylight ; men Avere passing 
back and forward from the bridge to the gate of the Armory ; each appeared to be in 
blankets ; the passengers were much excited, and Avanted to know Avhat it meant ; went 
to the back of the train, and saw from twenty to thirty men about the engine-house ; at 
about 4 o'clock saAv a wagon driven in the yard, and nearly a dozen men jumped out of 
it, also a carriage, but did not see any one get out of it ; savv men go backward and for- 
Avard, Avho seemed to be putting something in the wagon; they were also going up and 
down the street leading from the Armory, and all seemed busy at something; this con- 
tinued until nearly daylight, Avhen the wagon left the yard and passed over the bridge to 
the Maryland side; about 3 o'clock, before the Avagon left, an old gentleman came to me 
and .said, ''The parties avIio have arrested me allowed me to come out ou condition that I 
would tell you that you might cross the bridge Avitli your train ;" afterward learned that 
this was Mr. Koise, a citizen of the town ; replied that " I Avould not cross the bridge 
until daylight, that I might see whether it Avas safe;" afterward saAv a man coming 
down Shenandoah street, Avith a lantern, and an armed man arrested hiiu ; afterward saw 
a short, stout negro Avalking with a statf Avith one of these men ; could not see Avhat was 
in the Avagon; afterAvard a black boy brought a note to the clerk of the Wager House, 
ordering breakfast for forty-seven men ; determined to go out and ascertain Avhat it 
meant ; met a man whom he now recognized as Coppie, and asked what they meant ; he 
replied, " We don't want to injure you or detain your train ; you could have gone at 3 
o'clock ; all we want is to free the negroes ;" then asked if his train could noAv start, and 
Avent to the guard of the gate, Avho said, "There is Capt. Smith — lie can tell you Avhat 
you want to know;" went to the engine-house, and the guard called Capt. Smith, tliat 
soiueboily Avanted to see him ; the prisoner at the bar came out, and I asked him if he 

was captain of these ; he replied he Avas ; asked him if I could cross the bridge, and 

he peremptorily responded, "No, Sir;" then asked him what he meant by stopping my 
train; he replied, "Are you the conductor on that train?" told him I was, and he said, 
" Why. I sent you word at 3 o'clock that you could pass ;'' told him that, after being 
stop|>ed by armed men on the bridge, I Avould not pass with my train ; he replied, " My 
bead for it, you will not be hurt;" said he was very sorry; it was not his intention that 
any blood should be spilled ; that it was bad minagement on the part of the men in 
charge of the bridge; I then a.sked him what security I would have that my train Avould 
pass safelv. and asked him if he would walk over the bridge ahead of my ti'ain Avith me; 
he called a large, stout man to accompany him, and one of my passengers, Mr. McByrne, 
asked to accompany me, but Brown ordered him to get into the train, or he Avould take 
them all prisoners in five minutes; BroAvn accompanied me; both had rifles; as we 
crossed the bridge, the three armed men were still in their places; when we got across, 
BroAvn said to me, " You doubtless wonder that a man of my age should be here with a 

5 



70 THE HAEPEK'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 

band of armed men, but if you knew my past history you would not wonder at it so 
much; my train was then tlirougli the bridge, and I bid liim good morning, jumped on 
my train, and left him ; witness returned to Harper's Ferry on Tuesday, and went in with 
Governor Wise and others to see Brown, who was a prisoner ; heard his conversation 
with Wise and Hunter ; Mr. Wise said he " was sorry to see a man of his age in that 
position;" Brown replied tliat he "asked no sympathy, and had no apologies to make;" 
he knew exactly what he was about ; the Governor asked him if he did not tliink he was 
doing wrong in running off with other people's property; Brown said, "No, he didn't;" 
lie stated that he never had but twenty-two men of his party, but expected large rein- 
tbrcenients from Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and, I think, some of the 
New England States, and New York. He said that arms were sent to tliem from Massa- 
chusetts ; think he spoke of Sharpe's rifles, revolvers, and spears ; said he could arm 
from 1,500 to 2,000 men; said he had Harper's Ferry in his eye as the place for his 
operations; that he had rented a farm four miles off, from Dr. Kennedy, and had paid 
the rent up to March, and that all his arms were sent to him there from Cliambersburg, 
Pa. ; said those who brought the arms there did not know what they were, as lie Jiad 
taken tlie precaution to place them in double boxes ; they Avere addressed to J. Smitli & 
Sons. Brown told Gov. Wise that he had books in his trunk that would explain to him 
his whole proceedings, and what the purpose of his business was ; Col. Lee said he had 
one, and handed it to Gov. Wise ; Brown asked him to read two of its first preambles 
and four of the last sections, which he did, and Brown said that was a correct copy ; in 
reply to a question of Gov.AVise, he said he was Commander-in-Chief of the forces under 
the Provisional Government, and that he then held that position ; he said the constitu- 
tion was adopted in a place called Chatham, in Canada ; Brown said there was a Secre- 
tary of War, Secretary of State, Judge of the Supreme Court, and all the otiicers for a 
General Government ; he said tliere was a House of Representatives, and that tliere was 
an intelligent colored man elected as one of the members of the House [sensation]; Gov. 
Wise asked Brown if he had taken the oath of allegiance provided for in the 48th 
article ; he replied he had ; asked if all the white men of his band had taken tlie oatli ; 
he replied that they had ; he said tliat there were appointed and commissioned officers; 
that Stephens, Leeman, and one of Brown's sons were captains, and Coppie vvas a lieu- 
tenant ; he said something about a battle in Kansas, and having one of his sons shot; I 
think he said Cook held a captain's commission ; Gov. Wise asked Brown if he thought 
he liad been betrayed to to the Secretary of War ; said lie thought lie liad been betrayed, 
but had practised the ruse to prevent suspicion ; the Governor asked him what that ruse 
was, bat he refused to answer; said he knew exactly the position he had placed himself 
in, and if his life was forfeited he was prepared to suffer. 

Mr. Green, counsel for tlie prisoner, interrupted the witness, and said to the Court 
that he had just received a dispatch from Cleveland, announcing that counsel was com- 
ing, and would almost certainly be here to-night. As tiiis was a very important witness, 
and as it was late in the evening, he would ask the Court to adjourn until morning, in 
order that counsel might have an opportunity to cross-question the witness. He did not 
intend to conduct the case longer than the arrival of counsel selected by the prisoner. 
As only scraps of a conversation of two hours with Gov. Wise had been picked out and 
given to the Jury, he desired that the witness should be questioned as to the otlier parts 
of the conversation. 

Mr. Hunter replied that there were several f)ther witnesses to be called of the same 
character, to whom such questions could be put by new counsel to-morrow. If the cases 
were not pushed on, the wliole balance of the term would not be sufficient to try these 
men. He thought there was no reason for delay, especially as it was uncertain whether 
the counsel could get here before to-morrow. 

The Court decided that the witness should proceed. 

Cross-examination by. Mr. Gkeen — In conversation. Brown said it was not his inten- 
tion to harm anybody or anything; was sorry men had been killed; it was not by his 
orders or with his approbation, and would not occur again, provided the people were 
peaceable and quiet; Avhen Brown spoke of taking them all prisoners if they did not get 
into the cars, he appeared to want the train to go on as soon as possible; it was advice 
more than in the form of a threat; did not recognize Brown till I talked with him 
in the Armory yard ; don't think Brown was with the party on the bridge or in the 
wagon, for if he had been I think I would have recognized him from his peculiar 
beard. 

By Mr. Hunter — When Brown was parleying with us at the bridge, the three armed 



THE HAEPER'S FERRY INSURRECTIOK Yl 

men remained on tlie briilge; saw what seemed to be a man dressed in woman's clothing 
pas3, followed by a boy with a box or bnndle. 

Col. Lewis W. Washington sworn — [He detailed tlie circumstances as previously 
stated.] 

Cross-examined by Mr. Green — Cannot say wliether the marines fired after they broke 
into tlie engine-house ; the noise was great, and several sliouted from the inside that some 
one had surrendered the prisoners; we were kept in tiie rear engine-house, and allowed 
to keep a safe position, so that there was no etl'urt to endanger us; Brown's conduct was 
not rude or insulting toward us. 

By Mr. IIuntek — Was present at the conversation with Gov. Wise on Tuesday; Gov. 
Wise asked Brown if he had not selected Harper's Ferry as a border place between Mary- 
land and Virginia for the establishment of liis Provisional Government, and he answered 
" Certainly ;" lie avowed that his object was to free the Southern slaves, and said that 
his party consisted of twenty-two men, nineteen of whom came over with him; he said 
he had 200 Sharpe's rifles, 200 revolvers, and witness does not remember how many 
spears ; Brown said he had enough to arm about 1,500 men ; the Governor asked if 
he expected that number; he said no doubt that number, and five thousand if he 
wanted them ; he detailed the conversation respecting the Provisional Government 
suD-stantially as the last witness. 

B}' Mr. BoTTs — At the time of the attack on the engine-house, the prisoners remained 
in the rear at the suggestion of Brown and his party; heard Brown direct his party 
not to fire on any unarmed man; he gave that order more than once. 

By Mr. Hunter — Cook said Brown had been studying this subject twenty or thirty 
years. Had recoimoitered Harper's Ferry i-epeatedly. 

By Mr. Botts — The prisoners were allowed to go out, and assure their families of 
their safety; some went out several times; told his men not to return from his dwell- 
ing-house ; there were numerous shots toward the tank where Beckham was killed; 
Brown assured witness that he should be treated well, and his property should not 
be destroyed. 

By Mr. Hunter — While a prisoner in the engine-house, overheard a conversation 
between Stephens and another party, not known to witness, about slave-holding. Stephens 
asked the man if he was in favor of slavery? He said "Yes, although not a slave- 
holder." Stephens said, " You are the first man I would hang." 

By Mr. Harding — One of the three negroes taken with the witnesses was kept in 
the Armory yard ; another escaped, and went home; saw no conversation in particu- 
lar between the party and the negroes who were taken there ; all the negroes were 
armed with spears while in the Armory yard ; they walked about tlie Armory grounds, 
and one came and warmed liimself; no negro from this neighborhood ap[)eared to 
take up arms voluntarily ; saw no wounded men dragged into the engine-house. 

At 7 o'clock the Court adjourned till morning. 



THIRD DAY. 

Charlestown, Friday, Oct. 28, 1859. 

Capt. Cook arrived here at 1 o'clock this morning. He says that if Brown had taken 
his advice in relation to mounting, a thousand men could not have taken them. There 
is great rejoicing at his arrest. He says that Fred Douglass acted the coward, having 4| 
promised to be there in person. 

George H. Hott, of Boston, counsel for Brown, arrived tins morning. He is quite a 
youth. 

The Court met at 11 o'clock. Brown was led from the jail, walking very feebly. He 
lay down upon his cot. 

Senator Mason entered the Court with Mr. Hoyt, the Boston counsel of Brown; ho 
remarked that the testimony of Col. Washington and Mr. Phelps yesterday was strictly 
truthful. 

The Jury were called^ and answered \o their names. 

Mr. Botts announced the arrival of Mr. Hoyt, who had come here to assist the counsel 



72 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION 

for the prisoner. At present, liowever, lie did not feel disposed to take part in the case. 
Wiienever lie sliould feel disposed, lie would do so. 

Mr. lIuNTEU snggested tliat lie had better be onalifled as a member of the bar by pro- 
ducing ])roof from the Boston bar. 

Mr. IIoYT had not brought his credentials of admission. 
• The Court said that that was not required in order to be strictly legal ; tcthat fact any 
citizen's evidence would answer. 

.Mr. Green said his partner had read letters from fellow-students of Mr. Hoyt, alluding 
to him as a member of the bar. 

Mr. IIoTT then took the customary oath. 

TESTIMONY RENEWED. 

By Mr. Botts — Conductor Phelps recalled — The question put to him was prepared 
by Brown. The firing was commenced by those men on the bridge who shot Hay ward; 
the next iiring was by Throgniorton ; does not know whether the firing at Ilayward was 
intentional ; tliere was no attack on Brown's men until after Hayward was shot ; be was 
shot by armed men in the Winchester span of the bridge. 

By Mr. Botts — Col. Lewis W. Washington recalled — IsTegotiations were opening with 
Brown for the release of prisoners before the general firing commenced on Monday ; 
does not know whether all tlie prisoners signed the proposition for a suspension of 
firing ; in the opening negotiations, Brown frequently suggested that the. prisoners should 
cross the bridge with him to the second canal, and the lock was not to be fired upon 
until they reached that point ; none of the prisoners made any objection to the propo- 
sition ; Brown said he was too old a soldier to yield the advantage he possessed in hold- 
ing hostages ; during the day Brown's son was wounded in the breast, the ball passing 
around to tlie side, but he took his weapon again, and fired frequently before his sufl:er- 
ings compelled him to retire; heard Capt. Brown frequently complain of bad faith of 
people on a fiag of truce ; heard him make no threat, nor utter any vindictiveness against 
the people ; Mr. Brewer went out and brought in a promise that the people Avould not 
fire while negotiations were pending ; cannot say tliat all th.e firing of Capt. Brown or 
his men was in self-defence ; heard Brown give fre(]uent orders not to fire on unarmed 
citizens ; the first firing Avas against the engine-house ; Brown said the people appeared 
to pay but little regard to the lives of the citizens, and we must take the chances with 
them ; after the first attack on the engine-house by the marines, there was not a general 
cry of " surrender ;" one cried surrender, but the others fought on; Brown had a rifle in 
his hand when he was struck down by the marines, and received a cut over the head 
with a sword of Lieutenant Green. 

Mr. Hunter laid before the jury the printed Constitution and ordinance of tlie Pro- 
visional Government, reading the two first clauses of the preamble, the 7th, 45tli, and 
48tli articles, and briefly summing up other portions of the Constitution. Sheriff Camp- 
bell knows the handwriting of the prisoner ; has copied a letter for him. 

Brown said he would liimself identify any of his handwriting, and save all that trouble. 
He Avas i:eady to face the music. 

Mr. Hunter would prefer proving them by Mr. Campbell. 

Brown — Either way, as you please. 

A large bundle of letters was produced. Each was identified by Campbell and handed 
to Brown, who, at the first glance, replied to each in a loud voice, "Yes, that Is mine." 
jM The papers and letters were about fifty in number. 

On receiving a list of members of the Convention, Mr. Hunter read it. It is headed, 
William Charles Morris, President of the Convention ; and H. Kagi, Secretary of the 
Convention. On handing the list to Brown, he exclaimed, with a groan, " That's my 
signature." 

In reference to another paper, he said, " I have nothing to say about that." 

Mr. Hunter read a letter from J. R. Giddings, acknowledging the receipt of a letter 
from Br(jwii, and that he would be jfleased to see him at his house during the summer. 

Mr. Hunter then read the letter from Gerrit Smith about the " Kansas work," which 
has already been published. It has June, B, 1859, indorsed on the back, in Brown's 
writing. 

Mr. Botts here insisted on the right of examining the letters before their being 
read. 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION". 73 

Araistead Ball, master Tiiachinist at tlie Armory, testified tliat early in the morning 
he was aroused by Benjamin Hobbs announcing tliat persons were at tlie Armory, car- 
rying otf government property ; reached the gate, was accosted by two armed men, and 
seized as a prisoner ; refused to make any explanation until within the Armory yard ; 
Stephens was sentry at tlie gate ; was conducfed to Oapt. Brown, who told me his object 
was to free the slaves, and not tlie making of war on the people; that my person and 
private property would be safe ; that his war was against the accursed systein of slavery ; 
that he had power to do it and would carry it out; it was no child's play he had under- 
taken ; lie tlien gave me permission to return to my family, to assure them of my safety 
and get my breakfast ; started back home, and was accompanied by two armed men, 
who stopped at the door; breakfast not being ready, went back, and was allowed to 
return home again, under escort, at a later hour; on returning again, Capt. Brown said 
it was liis determination to seize the arms and munitions of the government, to arm the 
blacks to defend themselves against their masters ; Brown also made a proposition to 
witness and other officers of the Armory to deliver into his possession the munitions of 
war belonging to the Government ; he replied that they were already in his possession, 
as we were ; Brown frequently told us our safety depended on tlie good conduct of our 
citizens ; wlien the firing commenced all fell ; we were in danger, and almost any propo- 
sition tliat was made was accepted to secure our safety ; Brown said if the citizens were 
willing to risk their lives and those of the prisoners, to captui-e him, they must abide by 
it; Brown made but one proposition to go to the canal loclc, give up their prisoners, and 
fight it out with the military; at dayliglit, on Tuesday morning, witness appealed to 
Brown on the ground of humanity to the prisoners, as well as to the men who appeared 
50 bound to him, not to persist in spilling more blood; Brown replied that he was well 
aware of what he was about, and knew tlie consequences ; that he was already pro- 
claimed an outlaw, and $3,500 was on his head ; with regard to the killing of Beckham, 
one of Brown's party had fired in that direction several times; remonstrated with him 
when levelling his rifle at an old man named Guess, that he was not a combatant, and 
he desisted; afterward heard him fire, and heard him say, "Dropped him;" when we 
■ heard tliat Beckham was dead, the man who fired asked who it was ; we told him he 
was an old and respectable citizen, and mayor of the town, and the man who fired ex- 
pressed himself very sorry ; this man was afterward killed at the charge of the marines ; 
Oapt. Brown made preparations for resisting the marines ; he was always in arms, but I 
do not think I saw him fire. [The other portions of Mr. Ball's testimony were merely 
in corroboration of Mr. Washington's.] 

By Mr. Gkeen — We, as prisoners, agreed to such term^ of capitulation as our citizens 
were willing to accei)t. Tlie jiropusal was written by Mr. Dangeifield, and dictated by 
Brown. Do not know whether Brown's son and Stephens were wounded while they ac- 
companied the citizens with a flag of truce. Did not know that any of them were Brown's 
sons, until I heard Brown say to Oapt. Simnis, "there lies one of my sons dead, and here 
is another dying." Brown frequently remarked that the citizens were acting indiscreetly 
in persisting in firing on their own citizens; he maintained a different position all the 
time. Brown repeatedly said he would injure no one but in self-defence; Ooppie fre- 
quently urged us to seek places of safety, but Brown did not ; he appeared to desire us to 
take care of ourselves, and at the time of tlie charge of the marines, told us we must 
equally occupy the post of danger with themselves. There were three or four slaves in 
the engine-house; they had spears, but all seemed badly scared ; Washington Phil M^as 
ordered by Brown to cut a port-hole through the brick wall ; he continued until a brisk 
fire ciuiiinenced outside, when he said, "•this is getting too hot for Phil," and he squatted. 
Brown then took up the tools and finished the hole. 

JouN Allstadt, sworn — On ^[oiulay morning, about three, was awakened from sleep; 
asked who was at tlie door; the rejil}- was, " Get up quick, or we will burn yon up ;" asked 
what they intended to do ; they said, " Free the country of Slavery ;" told me ihey were 
going to take me to Harper's Ferry; dressed myself, and when I got to the don- they had 
all my blacks, seven in number; we were all put into a wagon ; the negroes were then 
all armed with pikes ; all the men who took us up were armed; we went to the Armory- 
yard, where I was put in cliarge of one of Brown's party; afterward we were ordered 
into the watch-house; saw Col. Washington there; Brown came and spoke to us about 
our getting two negroes to take our places, and then he would release us ; nothing further 
was said about that; Brown's rifle was cocked all the time; the negroes were jilaced in 
the watch-house with spears in their hands ; tlie slaves showed no disposition to use them; 
witness was afterward transferred to the engine-house; several negroes were there; saw 



74 THE HARPER'S FERRY IN"SIJRRECTION". 

Phil making port-holes by Brown's order; tlie other negroes were doing notliing, and 
had diopped tlieir spears ; some of tliem were .asleep nearly all tlie time [laughter] ; when 
the marines made tiie assault, Brown's party took jiosition behind the engine and aimed 
at the door; Brown was in front, squatting; he fired at the marines, and my opinion is, 
that he killed that marine. 

By Mr. Green — Did not see any others slioot ; cannot state certainly by what shot tlie 
marine was killed ; he migiit have been killed by sliots fired before the door was broken 
open ; was much confused and excited at the time ; heard regrets expressed at Beckham's 
being killed. 

Alexander Kfxly, sworn — Described the manner of Thomas Boerley's being killed on 
Monday. Brown's party fired at witness, and witness returned tlie fire. Boerley was with 
wiines-;, and was armed witli a gun. Saw him soon after he was shot. The shot came 
from tlie direction of Shenandoali street. 

Not cross-examined. 

Albert Grist, sworn — Sunday night had been to meeting with mj* son ; coming home 
across the Shenandoah bridge, was seized Ijy two men with rifles; wlien we got to the 
end of the bridge, were stopped by a man with a spear; asked wiiat was the matter ; Avas 
tlie town under martial law; he told me I should not be Imrt, and asked me whether 
there were many slaveiiolders about Harper's Ferry; 1 told him no: Brown came up, 
and observed, "•You have got some prisoners ;" they took us to the Armory ; found some 
citizens there ; being tired, we laid down ; Brown said his object was to free the slaves ; 
told him there were not man\' there; lie rejdied, "Tiie good book says we are all free 
and equal," and if we were peaceable we should not be Iiurt; there was some firing ab(mt 
that time; afterward, about three o'clock, witness was sent to tell the conductor that the 
train might pass unmolested ; saw Mr. Beckiiain, and delivered the message; Brown then 
dismissed me; did not go home, being afraid some of Brown's men, not knowing this, 
miglit siioot me; saw Hayward bronglit in, wounded. 

Mr. Kelly, recalled — Saw Geo. W. Turner killed on High street; he was shot while in 
the act of levelling his gun; the shuts came from the corner of Shenandoah and High 
streets ; the men who fired had rifles ; one had a shawl on. 
» 

Afternoon Session, 3 o'clock. 

Henry Hunter, sworn — Went to the Ferry with the Charlestown Guard ; staid in the 
bridge, leaving the company; went oft" fighting on my own hook; saw Beckham fall when 
shot; heard the whistling of the ball ; undertook to go to his assistance, but was with- 
held by a friend ; soon after, anotlier person went to remove the body, saying lie " would 
help the Squire;" heard the whistling of anotlier ball; think that Beckham had a pistol 
in his coat pocket, judging from the weight and shape of the ])ocket; did not see it, and 
don't think the people from the Armory yard saw it ; the shot that killed Beckham came 
from the engine-house ; numerous shots were fired from the engine-house at the tank. 

The cross examination of this witness elicited nothing new. 

Col. Gibson, sworn — Helped a portion of the militia of Jefferson County to suppress 
the insurrection ; the Jelferson Guards and other detachments were in the action ; they 
were called out by authority of law; three insurgents were killed at the rifle factory, and 
Copland captured. 

Cross-examined — There was firing by outside citizens, and the three killed were not 
under my command; don't think the insurgents fired a gun at the rifle factory, but en- 
deavored to make their escape across tlie river. 

Benjamin T. Bell, sworn — Went to Harper's Ferry armed ; did not join the military; 
was stationed in the Gait House, in Capt. Botts' company ; in the evening walked out 
on the jilatfurm; saw Beckham shot; went as near to him as was .safe, but perceived no 
breathing; there was firing from the engine-house tow.ard tlie railroad.; Mr. Young, a 
member of the Jeft'erson Guards, was wounded while making a charge against the insur- 
sents ; saw others shot ; there' were probably thirty shots fired from the engine-Incise to- 
ward the tank, and in other directions. 

Cross-examined — There was general firing in almost every direction ; McCabe was 
about firing when he was shot; tliere were twenty or thirty men firing at the en- 
gine-house when Young and McOabe were wounded. 

Lewis Starry examined — He testified respecting the killing of Turner. 

The prosecution rested here. 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURREOTIOK 75 



THE DEFENCE. 

Tlie Counsel for the Defence called Joseph A. Bkewbr, who testified that he was 
one of the prisoners in tiie engine-liouse witli Washington and others; Brown remarked 
tliat the i)risoners should sliare tlieir danger ; tliey were allowed to sl)elter tlieinselves 
as tiiey could ; Cross went out with a flag of truce ; another went out and came back 
wounded; Stepliens and Kitzniiller went out, and Stepiiens was shot; after tluit it com- 
menced raining very hard ; supposed Stephens was dead ; he lay near the corner of the 
depot; heard groaning, and saw Stephens nu)ving; asked Brown to send a man to the 
relief of Stephens ; Brown refused to send any otie, because he would be shot; witness 
was allowed to go and assist Stephens into the iiotel ; he returned to the engine-house 
according to his pledge; was sent several times by Brown to request the citizens not to 
shoot, as the lives of tlie prisoners were endangered ; negotiations were going on between 
Brown and the prisoners before the general firing commenced; Brown proposed tliat he 
should retain possession of what he held, including the Armory and negroes, and Col. Wash- 
ington and the others seemed to acquiesce in this arrangement; Cross was sent out to con- 
fer with Beckham and others on tlje subject; a guard weut with him, who were fired 
njwn ; after that Stephens wanted to shoot, but Kitzmiller appealed to him and they went 
out together to stop the firing ; when they did not return, Brown seemed to show temper, 
anc there was a ciiange in the arrangements; after tliat Brown said he had it in his power 
to destroy that place in half an hour, but would not do it, unless resisted; think a shot 
from tlie water-tank struck Coppie; he then returned the fire, and some one said, "that 
niin's down ;" the special object of witness in going out was to see the firing from the 
talk, which was annoying to those in the guard-house. 

A. M. Kitzmiller, sworn — Made repeated eiforts to accommodate matters with Brown; 
ae said his object there was to free the slaves from bondage, and if necessary fight tiie 
pro-slavery men for that purpose; I was first surprised, then indignant, and finally dis- 
gusted with Brown ; he said to me, " there is a company of riflemen on the bridge ; get 
them to go in company with Stephens;" Mr. Hunter told them he was sorry they 
did not leave their guns; Stephens remarked, that would not do; I had no flag, and did 
not Consider myself tlie bearer of a flag of truce; as to the rifle company on the bridge, I 
saw they were our own men, waved my handkerchief, and told the other man to remain; 
soon heard firing very close; Stephens fired in reply to a shot which struck him from 
the house by the Wincliester railroad depot ; Stephens swore and the other man re- 
turned ; I think it was Brown's son; Stephens was shot before he fired back; Thomp- 
son, of Brown's men, was a prisoner on the bridge. 

[Brown here cried over the circumstances connected with the death of Thompson.] 

Witness — I was not tliere, and did not see the last; the last I saw of Thompson he 
was a prisoner with the Ferry people on the bridge ; Moore, Burkhardt, Anderson, and 
twenty or thirty others were there ; Mr. Beckham was killed at or about the time Thomp- 
son was taken; did not return to the engine-house; witness's object was to prevent unne- 
cessary shedding of blood ; went out at the request of Brown to use his influence for that 
purpose. 

James Beller, sworn — Was at the Gait House with Chambers on Monday morning ; 
Chambers fired, and I saw the man whom he shot lying there; did not know the man; 
supposed it was Stephens ; did not see any one with him when shot; Stephens was shot 
before Capt. Botts' company reached the Gait House. 

Mr. Green stated to the Court that be desired to bring out testimony relative to the 
shooting of Tiiompson, one of the insurgents on the bridge ; but the State objected to it 
unless Brown had a knowledge of that shooting. 

Mr. Hunter said there was a deal of testimony about Brown's forbearance and not 
shooting citizens, that had no more to do witii this case than the dead languages. If he 
understood tlie oflfer, it was to show that one of those men, named Thompson, a prisoner, 
was dispatched after Beckham's death. The circumstances of the deed might be such as 
he himself might not at all approve. He did not know liow that might be, but he desired 
to avoid any investigation that might be used. Not that it was so designed by the re- 
spectable counsel employed in the case, but because he tiiought the object of the prisoner 
in getting at it was for out-door eflfect and influence. He therefore said if the defence 
could show that this prisoner was aware of these circumstances, and the manner in which 
that party was killed, and still exerted forbearance, he would not object. But unless tho 



76 THE HAEPER'S FFRRY INSURRECTION 

knowledice of it could be brongUtbome to tbe prisoner and his after conduct, lie could not 
see its relevancy. 

Mr. BoTTS observed tliat they bad already proved that for bours after tbat, communi- 
cations were Iield between the parties. 

Tlie Court thought these facts admissible as evidence. 

Mr. IIuNTEK (the witness) was recalled — After Mr. Beckliam, who was my grand-uncle, 
was shot, I was much exasperated, and started with Mr. Chambers to tbe room where tlie 
second Thompson was confined, with tiie purpose of shooting him. We found several 
pers(ms in the room, and had levelled our guns at liini, wiien Mrs. Foulke's sister tlirew 
herself before him, and begged us to leave him to tlie laws. We then caught hold of him, 
and drugged him out by the throat, he saying: " Though you may take my life, 80.000,- 
000,000 will rise np to avenge me, and carry out my purpose of giving liberty to tlie slaves." 
We carried him out to the bridge, and two of us, levelling our guns in this moment of 
wild exasperation, fired, and before he fell, a dozen or more balls were buried in him ; we 
then threw his body off the tressel work, and returned to the bridge to bring out tbe pri- 
soner, Stephens, and serve him in the same way; we found him suffering from his wounds, 
and probably dying; we concluded to spare him, and start after others, and shoot all We 
could find; I had just seen my loved uncle and best friend I ever had, shot down by those 
villainous Abolitionists, and felt justified in shooting any that I could find ; I felt it my 
duty, and I have no regrets. 

Wm. M. Williams, the watchman on tbe bridge, stated the particulars of his arrestjand 
confinement in tbe watch-house ; Brown told the prisoners to hide themselves, or fliey 
would be shot by the people outside; be said he would not hurt any of them ; Brown told 
Mr. Grist to tell the people to cease firing, or he would burn the town ; but if they ditjn't 
molest him, he wouldn't molest them ; heard two shots on tbe bridge about the time ^he 
express train arrived; did not see Hay ward killed. 

Brown — State what was said by myself, and not about his being shot. 

Williams — I think you said that if he had taken care of himself, he would not bavt 
suffered. 1 

Reason Cross sworn — I prepared a proposition that Brown should retain the posses] 
sion of the Armory, that he should release us, and that the firing should stop. j 

Brown — Were there two written propositions drawn up while you were prisoner? 1 

Cross — Yes, there was another paper prepared by Kitzmiller, and some others; I went 
out to stop the firing; a man went with me, and they took him prisoner and tied liira ; 
this was Thompson, who was afterward taken out and shot; Brown's treatment of me 
was kind and respectful ; heard him talk roughly to some men who were going in to where 
the blacks were confined. 

Several witnesses for tbe prisoner were here called, and did not answer the subpoenas. 
They had not been returned. 

Brown arose from his mattress, evidently excited, and standing on his feet, addressed 
the Court, as follows : 

Mat it Please the Court : I discover that, notwithstanding all the assurances I have 
received of a fair trial, nothing like a fair trial is to be given me, as it would seem. I gave 
the names as soon as I could get at them, of the persons I wislied to have called as wit- 
nesses, and was assured that they would be subpoenaed. I wrote down a memorandum to 
that effect, saying where those parties were; but it appears that they have not been sub- 
poenaed as far as I can learn ; and now I ask if I am to have anything at all deserving the 
name and shadow of a fair trial, that this proceeding be deferred until to morrow morning; 
for I have no counsel, as I before stated, in whom I feel that I can relj% but I am in hopes 
counsel may arrive who will attend to seeing that I get the witnesses who are necessary 
for my defence. I am myself unable to attend to it. I have given all the attention I 
possibly could to it, but am unable to see or know about them, and can't even find 
out their names ; and I have nobody to do any erraiul, for my money was all taken 
when I was sacked and stabbed, and I have not a dime. 1 had two hundred and 
fifty or sixty dollars in gold and silver taken from )ny pocket, and now I have no 
possible means of getting anybody to go my errands for me, and I have not liad all 
the witnesses subpoeiuxed. They ai-e not within reach, and are not here. I ask at 
least until to-morrow morning to have something done, if anything is designed; if 
not, I am ready for anything that may come up. 



THE HARPER'S FERRT INSURREOTION". 77 

Brown then lay down again, drew his blanket over hiin, and closed his eyes and 
appeared to sink in tranquil shnnber. 

Mr. HoTT, of Boston, who Iiad been sitting qnietly all day at the side of Mr. Botts, 
arose amid great sensation, and addressed the Court as follows : 

Mat it Please the Oottrt : I would add iny voice to the appeal of Mr. Brown, 
altlioiigli I liave had no consultation with liiin, that the further hearing of the case may 
be postponed until morning. I would state the reason of this request. It was that J was 
informed, and had reason to believe, that Judge Tilden of Ohio was on his way to Char- 
lestown, and would undoubtedly arrive at Harper's Ferry at 7 o'clock to-niglit. I have 
taken measures to insure that gentleman's arrival in this place to-night, if he reaches tlie 
Ferry. For myself, I liave come from Boston, travelling night and day, to volunteer my 
services in defence of Brown. I could not undertake the resi)onsibility of his defence, as 
I am now situated. The gentlemen who have defended Brown acted in an honorable 
and dignihed manner in all respects, so far as I know, but I cannot assume the responsi- 
bility of defending him mj'self for many reasons. First it would be ridiculous in me to 
do it, because I iiave not read the indictment through — have not, except so far as I have 
listened to the case and heard counsel this morning, got any idea of the line of the defence 
proposed, and have no knowledge of the criminal code of Virginia, and no time to read it. 
I had no time to examine the questions arising in this defence, some of which are of con- 
siderable importance, especially that relative to the jurisdiction over the Armory grounds. 
For all these reasons, I ask the continuation of the case till to-morrow morning. 

Mr. Botts — In justice to myself I must state that, on being first assigned as counsel to 
Mr. Brown, I conferred with him, and at his instance took down a list of the witnesses 
he desired subpoenaed in his behalf. Though it was late at night, 1 called up the sheriff, 
and informed him that I wished subpoenas to be issued early in the morning. This was 
done, and there are here Messrs. Phelps, Williams and Grist, and they have been exam- 
ined. 

Sheritf Campbell stated that the snbpoenas were placed in the hands of an officer, with 
the request to serve them at once. He must have served them, as some of the witnesses 
are here. The process has not been returned, and may have been sent by private hands 
and failed to arrive. 

Mr. Botts thought they had shown, and he was confident he .spoke the public senti- 
ment of the whole community, when he said tiiey wished Mr. Brown to have a fair trial. 

Mr. Hunter — I do not rise for the purpose of protracting the argument, or interposing 
the slightest impediment in any way to a fair trial. This is fair. AVhether it was pro- 
mised to Brown or not, it is guaranteed by our laws to every prisoner; and, so tar as I 
am concerned, I have studiously avoided suggesting anything to the Court which would 
in the slightest degree interfere with it. I beg leave to say, in reference to this applica- 
tion, that I suppose the Court, even under these circumstances, will have to be satisfied 
in some way, through counsel or otherwise, that this testimony is material testimonj'. So 
far as any witness has been examined, the evidence relates to the conduct of Captain 
Brown in the treating his prisoners witli leniency, respect and courtesy, and this addi- 
tional matter, that his flags of truce — if you choose to regard them so — were not respected 
by the citizens, and that some of his men were shot. If the defence choose .to take that 
course, we are perfectly willing to admit these facts in any form they desire. Unless the 
Court sliall be satisfied that this testimony (which, I have no doubt, is every particle of 
it liere). which could begot, is really material to the defence, I submit that tlie applica- 
tion for delay on that score should not be granted. Some of these witnesses have been 
here, and might have been asked to remain. A host of witnesses have been here, and 
have gone away without being called on to testifj-. I simply suggest that it is due, in jus- 
tice to the Commonwealth, which has some right, as well as the prisoner, that information 
be given to the Court, showing that additional testimony is relevant to the issue. The 
simple statement of counsel I do not think would be sufllcient. 

Mr. Gkeen arose and said, Mr. Botts and myself will now withdraw from the case, as 
we can no longer act in behalf of the pi-isoner, he having got up now and declared here 
that he has no confidence in the counsel who have been assigned him. Feeling confident 
that I have done my whole duty, so far as I have been able, after this statement of ins, I 
should feel m^'self an intruder upon this case were I to act for him from this time forward. 
I had not a disposition to undertake the defence, but accepted the duty imposed on me, 
and I do not think, under these circumstances, when I feel compelled to withdraw 



78 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURREOTIOiT. 

from the case, that the court could insist that I should remaia in such an unwelcome 
position. 

Mr. IIakoixg — "We liave been delayed from time to time by similar apijlications, in the 
expectation of the arrival of counsel, until we have now reached tJie point of lime when 
we are ready to submit the case to the Jury upon tiie evidence and tlie law. wlien anotlier 
apiilication arises for a continuance. Tiie very witness that they now consider material, 
Mr. Dangertield, came here, summoned by ourselves, but deeming that we had testimony 
enough, we did not examine him. 

Tlie CouKT — The idea of waitmg for counsel to study our code through, could not be 
admitted; as to tiie other ground, I do not know whether tlie process has been executed 
or not, as no return has been made. 

Mr. BoTTs — I have endeavored to do my duty in this matter, but T cannot see how, 
consistently with my own feelings, I can remain any longer in this case, wiien the 
accused whom I have been laboring to defend, declares in open court that he has no con- 
fidence in his counsel. I make this suggestion, that as I now retire from tliis case, the 
more especially since there is now here a gentleman from Boston, who lias come on to 
volunteer his services for the prisoner, that the Court allow him this night for preparation. 
My notes, nij- ofHce, and my services shall he at liis command. I will sit up witii liim all 
night to put him in possession of all tlie law and facts in relation to this case. I cannot 
do more; and in the mean time, the sheriff can be directed to have the otlier witnesses 
here to-morrow. 

The CouKT would not compel the gentleman to remain on the case, and accoi-dingly 
granted the desired j^ostpouement, and adjourned at 6 o'clock. 



FOURTH DAY. 

Charlestown, Ya., Saturday, Oct. 29, 1859. 

The Court met at 10 o'clock. 

Tlie Judge announced that he had received a note from the new counsel of tlie prisoner, 
reqiiesting a delay for a few minutes, to enable them to have an interview with the 
prisoner, lie would accordingly wait a short time. 

Soon afterward, Brown was brouglit in, and took his usual recumbent position in bed. 

Samtjel Cnii.TON, of Washington City, appeared as additional counsel for the jirisoner, 
and was qualified. 

Heney Griswold, of Cleveland, Ohio, was introduced to tlie Court as counsel fo,r the 
prisoner, and qualified. 

Mr. CniLTON thought it due to himself to make an explanatory statement before the 
trial proceeded. Yesterday he was very unexpectedly called upon to come here, and aid 
in the defence of the prisoner. Knowing from the newsjiapers that t!ie trial was in pro- 
gress, he took time to consider and counuU his friends as to the propriety of !K'Ce]>liiig the 
proposition. lie would have had no hesitation if he had been spoken to in time, but his 
iriends advi-ed liim to come, and he did so with the expectation of merely assisting tlie 
gentlemen already conducting the defence. Upon reacliing here, lie found that tiiey had 
withdrawn from the case, and he then hesitated about undertaking it; but upon consulta- 
tion with the prisoner and his friends here, they insisted he should do so, and he would 
do the best he cmild, not feeling at liberty, under the circumstances, to refuse. These cir- 
cumr^tances, however, would render it impossible for him to discliarge the full duty of 
counsel, not having had time to read the indictment or examination already given. He 
made no motion for delay; this was a matter entirely within the discretion of the Court, 
and if tlie judge thonglit proper to refuse to grant any postfxmement, lie knew it would 
be done under a sense of duty. Tliose extraordinary circumstances would also render it 
impossilile for his associate, Mr. Griswold, to discharge his full duty as counsel. A short 
delay of a few hours, if the Court thought proper to grant it, would enable tliem to make 
some preparation. 

Tlie Conirr stated that the trial must go on. Counsel had been assigned to the prisoner 
here, of his own selection, who had labored zesilonsly in his behalf, and had wirlidrawn 
because the prisoner had yesterday evening declared in open Court that he had no con- 



THE HARPEK'S FERRY mSURRECTION". 79 

fivlence in tliem. So obstacle had at any time been thrown in tlie way of tlie jirisoner's 
liaviiig an ample defence. If this was tlie only case of the kind before the Court, lie 
wouKl at once grant the request, but several similar cases remain to be disposed of. This 
term will very soon end. and it was his duty to endeavor to get through with all the cases 
if possiMe, injustice to the prisoners, and in justice to the State. The trial must, there- 
fore, proceed. 

Mr, IIoYT remarked that j^esterday various papers in Oonrt, which were identified, for 
what jmrpMse he knew not, but presumed he should be informed, some as being jn 
Capt. Brown's handwriting, and some as bearing his indorsement. He had hastily 
examined those papers, and wished to object to some of them. The learned gentlemen 
associated w ith him in the trial liad not examined them, but he suj)posed the Court would 
not reg;ird that as material under the present ruling. 

Mr. Hunter, interrupting — There is no need of argument about the matter. Designate 
those you wish to object to. 

Mr. lIoYT — I desire to know the object of the counsel in introducing those papers. 

Mr. HuNTEn — The papers will speak for themselves. If you will designate which of 
them you ohjeet to, we will go on at once. 

Mr. IIoxT — I object to the autobiography of Capt. Brown, as having no bearing on this 
case. 

Mr. HuNTEH — I withdraw it. 

Mr. HoYT — I object to the letter of Gerrit Smith. 

Mr. IIuNTEK — I withdraw that, too. 

Mr. HovT — I handed to the clerk, last night, a list of names we wished summoned as 
witnt-sses— Samuel Strider, Henry Ault, Benjamin Mills, John E. P. Dangerfield, and 
Capt. Simms. I got a despatch just now, informing me that Capt. Simms had gone to 
Frederick, and would return in tlie fii'st train this morning, and come on to Charlestown 
this afternoon. I should like to inquire whether the process had reached Capt. Simms at 
Harper's Ferry ? 

Sheriff Campbell replied that the officer stated that Capt. Simms had gone to 
Frederick. 

Mr. Hunter — He was here yesterday. I hope we will proceed with some other 
witnesses. 

John P. Dangerfield was called, and testified that he was an officer of the Armory. 
He was a jjrisoner in the hands of Captain Brown, at the engine-house. Negotiations 
were going on for the release of all the [irisoners before the firing commenced. About a 
dozen black men were there, armed with pieces Avhich they carried mo.st awkwardly and. 
unwillingly. During tiie firing, they were lying about asleep, some of them having 
crawled under the engines. Witness was free to say, that from the treatment of Captain 
Brown, he had no personal fear of him or his men during his confinement. Saw one of 
the men shot in the engine-house. He fell back, exclaiming, "It's all up with me," and 
died in a faw moments. This man, he learned, was one of Capt. Brown's sons. Saw 
another young man, who canie in wounded, and cimimenced to vomit blood. He was also 
a son of Captain Brown, and was wounded while out with Mr. Kitzmiller. Prisoner 
frequently complained that his men were shot down while carrying a flag of truce. 

Mr. Hunter complained tl:at they were going over again the same facts that Avere 
elicited ; aiul all this was freely admitted by the defence. 

Mr. Hoyt said that he regarded it as the only feasible line of defence to prove these 
facts. It was the duty of counsel to show, if possible, that Capt. Brown Avas not guilty 
of treason, murder, or insurrection, according to the terms of this indictment. We liopo 
to prove tlie absence of malicious intention. 

Mr. Hunter was frank to admit that he could not but regard this course as merely 
calculated to waste time. 

Mr. HoYT would remind the Court that the course being pursued was not only in 
accorilance with their conviction of duty, but in accordance with the express commands 
of their client. 

The Court remarked that the counsel was responsible to the Court to conduct the case 
according to the rules of practice. 

Mr. IIoYT tiiought the language of the prosecution was calculated to impugn the honor 
of the fouiwel tor the prisoner. 

Mr. liuNTJCR — Nothing of tlie kind was intended. It is presumed the gentlemen will 
conduct the case in accordance with their duty as counsel, and their responsibility to the 
Court. 



80 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION". 

Mf. Dangerfield, resumed — Heard some conversation by Captain Brown as to liaving 
it in his power to lay tlie town in aslies and carrying off the women and chihlreii, but that 
he iiad refrained from so doing: heard him make no threats that he would do so; the 
only tlireat I heard from him was at the commencement of the storming of the engine- 
house; he then said that we must all take equal shares with him, that we could no longer 
monopolize the i)laces of safety ; he, however, made no attempt to deprive us of tiie 
places we had taken ; Brown promised safety to all descriptions of property, except slave 
]n-operty ; at the time of the assault by the marines, one of the men cried out for quarter; 
lie had lienrd the same man, in a conversation with Brown during the night, ask him if he 
was comndtting no treason against his country in resisting the marines, to whicli Brown 
replied rliat he was; the man then said, "I'll tight no longer" — that he thought he was 
inerelv lighting to liberate the slaves ; after the attack was made on the engine-house, 
two of Brown's men cried for quarter, and laid down their arms, but after tlie marines 
burst open the door, they picked them up again and renewed the fight; after the fii'st 
attack, Capt. Brown cried out to surrender, but he was not heard ; did not see him fire 
afterward ; saw Coppie attempt to fire twice ; but tl;e caps exploded ; witness saw 
Brown wounded on the liip by a thrust from a sabre, and several sabre cuts on his head ; 
when the latter wounds were given, Capt. Brown ai)peared to be shielding himself, with 
his head down, but making no resistance ; the parties outside api)eared to be firing as 
they pleased. 

Mayor Mills, master armorer, sworn — Witness was one of the hostages of Capt. 
Brown, confined in the engine-house ; before the general firing commenced, negotiations 
were pending for the release of the prisoners ; a paper was drawn up, embracing certain 
terms, and borne by Mr. Brua to the citizens outside ; the terras were not agreed to ; 
the last time Mr. Brua was out, there was severe firing, which, I suppose, prevented his 
return ; Brown's son went out with a flag of truce, and was shot ; he came back wounded ; 
the prisoner attended him, and gave him water ; heard Brown frequently complain that 
the citizens had acted in a barbarous manner ; he did not appear to have any malicious 
feeling ; he undoubtedly seemed to expect reinforcements ; said it would soon be night, 
and he would have more assistance ; his intentions were to shoot nobody unless they 
were carrying or using arms; if they do, let them have it ; this was while the firiug was 
going on. 

Capt. Brown liere asked the witness whether he saw any firing on his part which was 
not purely defensive. 

Witness — It might be considered in that light, perhaps; the balls came into the engine- 
house pretty thick. 

Question by Counsel — Did you not frequently go to the door of the engine house ? 

No, indeed, [laughter.] 

A general colloquy ensued between the prisoner, lying on his cot, and the witness, as 
to the part taken by the prisoner in not unnecessarily exposing his hostages to danger. 
No objection was made to Brown's asking these questions in his own way, and interpos- 
ing verbal explanations relative to his conduct. The witness generally corroborated his 
own version of the circumstances attending the attack on the engine-house, but could 
not testify to all the incidents that he enumerated. He did not hear him say that he 
surrendered. Witness's wife and daughter were permitted to visit him unmolested, and 
free verbal communication was allowed with those outside. We were treated kindly, but 
were compelled to stay where we didn't want to be. Brown appeared anxious to elTect 
a compromise. 

Samuel Snider sworn. This witness proceeded to detail the whole circumstances of 
the two days, with what he saw, what he thought, and what he heard. Nothing new was 
elicited. He confirmed the statement of the other witnesses, that Brown endeavored to 
protect his hostages, and constantly said that he wished to make terms more for their 
safety than his own. 

Mr. IIoTT, at half-past one o'clock, complained of indisposition from the heat of the 
room, and asked that the usual recfess for dinner be taken. 

The Court then adjourned for one hour. 

At 2 o'clock the Court reassembled, and Mr. Griswold, taking his seat by the side of 
the prisoner, prepared to question the witnesses, and to receive from him such sugges- 
tions in the course of the examination as he had to make. 

Capt. SiMMS, commander of a volunteer company of Frederick, Md., was sworn — The 
report came to Frederick that 750 blacks and abolitionists combined had seized Har- 
per's Ferry ; witness started for the Ferry with the volunteers under command of Col.- 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 81 

Slirivor, and was glad to find tlieir numbers were exaggerated after lie readied there on 
Monday at'ternoou ; tlie door of tlie engine-house was partially open, and witness was 
liailed from there ; two shots had been fired from there ; witness was hailed and went 
in ; he met Mr. Dangeriield and others there ; Capt. lirown said to witness that had a 
proposition to make, to which lie listened ; he wanted to be allowed to go over the bridge 
unmolested, and we then might take him if we could ; he had fought Uncle Sam before, 
and was willing to do it again ; Urown complained that his men had been shot down like 
dogs, while bearing a fiag of truce. Told him they must expect to be shot down like 
dogs if they took up arms in that way. Brown said he knew what he had to undergo 
before he came there — he had weighed the responsibility -and should not shrink from it ; 
he said he had full possession of the town and could have massacred all the inhabitants 
had he thought proper to do so, but as he had not, he considered himself entitled to some 
terms; Brown said he had shot no one who had not carried arms ; I told him that 
Mayor laeckham luid been killed, and tliat I knew he was altogether unarmed ; he seemed 
sorry to hear of his death, and said, "I fight only those who fight me;" witness then 
told the prisoner that he did not think any compromise could be efi'ected; Brown said 
he kept the hostages for his own safety ; they did not appear to fear any injury from him 
or his men, but only from attacks from the outside ; every man had a gun, and four- 
fifths of them were under no command; the military had ceased firing, but men who 
were intoxicated were firing their guns in the air, and others at the engine-house; Brown 
or any of his men could not have ventured outside the doors of the engine-house that 
night without being shot; saw Stephens in the hotel after he had been wounded, and 
shamed some young men who were endeavoring to shoot him as he lay in his bed, appar- 
ently dying; told them that if the man could stand on his feet with a pistol in his hand, 
they would all jump out of the window. Capt. Simms' testimony was at great length, 
but little new was elicited. 

On the conclusion of his testimony, Capt. Simms stated that he had returned here at the 
summons of the prisoner to testify in his behalf, with as great alacrity as he had come 
to testify against him. Ue had no sympathy for the acts of the prisoner ; for his move- 
ment, on the contrary, he would be one of the first to bring him to punishment. But he 
regarded Capt. Brown as a brave man, and being informed that he wanted him here as 
a witness, he returned with pleasure. As a southern man, he came to state the facts 
about the case, so that northern men would have no opportunity of saying that south- 
ern men were unwilling to appear as witnesses in behalf of one whose principles they 
abhorred. 

Israel Russell, sworn — Was the bearer of a flag of truce from Brown's party to the 
citizens of the Ferry. His testimony was merely in corroboration of the facts stated by 
previous witness. 

Teee.xoe Burns, sworn — Was taken prisoner by Capt. Cook and two others ; was one 
of the ten hostages confined in the engine-house ; Brown had five or six of his men there ; 
he did not give any reason to us why we were put there, except that it was for his own 
safety ; he said he did not think any attack would be made upon the engine-house while 
the hostages were there. 

Here the defence closed their testimony. None of the witnesses for the defence were 
cross-examined by the State. 

Mr. CuiLTox, for the prisoner, rose and submitted amotion that the prosecution in this 
case be compelled to elect one count of the indictment and abandon the others. The indict- 
ment consists of four counts, and is indorsed thus : "An indictment for treason, and advis- 
ing and conspiring with slaves and others to rebel;'' the charge of treason is in the 
first, and the second count alleges a charge difiereut from that which is indorsed on the 
back of the indictment, and which is upon record. The second count is under the fol- 
lowing statute: " If a free person advise or conspire with a slave to rebel or make an 
insurrection, he shall be punished with death, whether such rebellion or insurrection be 
made or not. 

But the second count of the indictment is that these parties, who are charged by the 
indictment, "conspired together, with other persons, to induce certain slaves, the pro- 
perty of Messrs. Allstadt and Washington, to make rebellion and insurrection. There is 
a broad distinction between advising and conspiring with slaves to rebel, and con- 
spiring with others to induce slaves to rebel. Whether he was to avail himself 
of their irregularity by instruction from the Court to the Jury to disregard this 
second count entirely, or whether it would be proper to wait until the conclusion 
of the trial, and then move an arrest of judgment, he left his Honor to decide. He 



82 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION 

procoecled to nrgue the motion that tlie prosecution be compelled to elect one count 
and a!>ando:i the others, quoting Archibald's criminal pleading in support of his view. 
He further alluded to the hardship which rests upon the prisoner to meet various 
and distinct charges in the same trial. From the authority he read, it would be 
seen that in a case of treason, ditferent descriptions of treason could not be 
united in the same indictment ; high-treason could not be associated witli other treason. 
If :!U inferior grade of the same character could not be included in sei)arate counts, still 
less can offences of higher grade. Treason in this country is high treason. Treason 
against the State of Virginia is treason against her sovereignty. We have no other 
description of treason, because treason can only be committed against sovereignty, 
whether that of the United States, or of a sovereign State. 

Mr. IIardixg could not see the force of the objection made by the learned counsel on 
tlie other side. In regard to separate offences being charged, these were but ditferent parts 
of the same transaction. Treason against the Government is properly made the subject 
of one of the counts. But we also have a count of murder, for it can hardly be supposed 
that treason can exist without being followed or accompanied by murder. Murder arose 
out of this treason, and was the natural result of this bloody conspiracy ; yet, after aU 
the evidence has been given on all these points, the objection is made that we must con- 
fine ourselves to a single one of them. He hoped that no such motion would be granted. 

Mr. Hunter followed on the other side. He replied to the argument of Mr. Chilton, 
saying that the discretion of the Court compelling the prosecution to elect on one count 
in the indictment, is only exercised where great embarrassment would otherwise result 
to the prisoner. As applied to this particular case, it involved this point, that notwith- 
standing the transaction, as has been disclosed by the evidence, be one transaction, a 
continued, closely connected series of acts, which, according to our apprehension of the 
law of the land, involves the three great offences of treason, conspiring with and advising 
slaves to make insurrection, and the perpetration of murder ; whether, in a case of this 
character, it is right and proper for the Court to put the prosecution upon their 
election, as to one of the three, and bar us from investigation of the two others, although 
they relate to facts involved in one grand fact. Notwithstanding the multiplicity of 
duties devolving upon the prosecutor and assistant prosecutors, yet we have found time 
to be guarded and careful in regard to the mode of framing the indictment. It is my 
work, and I propose to defend it as right and proper. He then proceeded to quote 
Chitty's Criminal Law and Robinson's Practice to prove that the discretion of tlie Court 
there spoken of in reference to the furthering of the great object in view was the attain- 
ment of justice. 

Where the prisoner is not embarrassed in making his defence, this discretion is not to 
be exercised by the Court, and no case can be shown where the whole ground of the 
indictment referred to one and the same transaction. This very case in point would 
show the absurdity of the principle, if it were as broad as contended for by his learned 
friend. As to the other point of objection, it was too refined and subtle for his poor 
intellect. 

Mr. Chiltox responded. In order to ascertain what a party is tried for, we must go 
to the finding of the Grand Jury. If the Grand Jury return an indictment charging the 
party with murder, finding a true bill for that, and he should be indicted for man- 
slaughter or any other offence, the Court would not have jurisdiction to try him on that 
count in the indictment. And the whole question turns on the construction of the sec- 
tion of tlie statute which has been read viz. : whether or not advising or conspiring with 
slaves to rebel is a separate and distinct offence from conspiring with other persons to 
induce it. 

The Court said that the difference might perhaps be taken advantage of to move an 
arrest of judgment ; but the Jury had been charged and had been sworn to try the pri- 
soners on the indictment as drawn. The trial must go on, and counsel could afterward 
move an arrest of judgment. As to the other objection, the Court made this answer : 
" The very fact that the offence can be charged in different counts varying the language 
and circumstances, is based upon the idea that distinct offences may be charged in the 
same indictment. The prisoners are to be tried on the various counts as if they were 
various circumstances. There is no legal objection against charging various crimes in the 
same indictment. The practice has been to put a party upon election where the prisoner 
would be emljarrassed in his defence; but that is not the law. 

In this case, these offences charged are all part of the same transaction, and no case is 
made out for the Court to interfere and put the parties upon an election. 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 83 

Mr. Ciiii.TON said he would reserve the motion as a basis for a motion in arrest of 
jndijnient. 

Mr. Griswold remarked that the position of all the present counsel of the prisoner 
was one of very great embarrassment. They had no disposition to interfere with the 
course of practice, but it was the desire of the defendant that the case should be argued. 
He supposed that counsel could obtain sufficient knowledge of the evidence previously 
taken by reading notes of it. But it was now nearly dark. If it was to be argued at 
all, he supposed the argument for the Oommonwealtli would probably occupy tlie atten- 
tion of the Court until the usual time for adjournment, unless it was the intention to con- 
tinue witli a late evening session. From what had heretofore transpired he felt a deli- 
cacy in making any request of the Court, but knowing that the case was now ended 
except for mere argument, he did not know that it would be asking too much for the 
Court to adjourn after the opening argument on behalf of the prosecution. 

Mr. IIux'jER would cheerfully bear testimony to the unexceptionable manner in which 
the counsel who liad just taken his seat had conducted the examination of witnesses to- 
day. It would afford him very great pleasure in all ordinary cases to agree to the indul- 
gence of such a request as the gentleman had just made, and which was entirely natural. 
But he was bound to remember, and respectfully remind the Court, that this state of 
things, which i)laces counsel in a somewhat embarrassing position iu conducting the 
defence, is purely and entirely the act of the prisoner. His counsel will not be responsi- 
ble for it ; the Court is not responsible for it, but the unfortunate prisoner is responsi- 
ble for his own act in dismissing his faithful, skillful, able and zealous counsel on yester- 
day afternoon. He would simply say that not only were the jurors kept away from their 
families by their delays, but there could not be a female in this county who, whether 
with the good cause or not, was not trembling with anxiety and apprehension. While 
their courtesy to the counsel and humanity to the prisoner should have due weight, yet 
the commonwealth has its rights, the community has its rights, the Jurj^ have their 
rights, and it was for his Honor to Aveigh these in opposite scales, and determine whetlier 
we should not go on and bring this case to a close to-night. We had until twelve o'clock 
to do it in. 

Mr. CniLTOi^ said their client desired that they should argue his case. It was impossi- 
ble for him to do so now, and he could not allow himself to make at attempt an argu- 
ment on a case about which he knew so little. If he were to get up at all, it would be 
for the unworthy purpose of wasting time. He had no such design; but having under- 
taken this man's cause, he very much desired to comply with his wishes. He would be 
the last man in the world to subject the jurors to inconvenience unnecessarily, but 
altliough the prisoner may have been to blame, may have acted foolishly, and may have 
had an improper purpose in so doing, still he could not see that he should therefore be 
forced to have his case submitted without argument. In a trial for life and death, we 
should not be too precipitate. 

The Court here consulted with the jurors, who expressed themselves very anxious to 
get home. 

Ilis Honor said he was desirous of trying this case precisely as he would try another, 
without any reference at all to outside feeling. 

Mr. IIoYT remarked that he was physically incapable of speaking to-night, even if 
fully prepared. He had worked very hard last night to get the law points ; until he fell 
unconscious from exhaustion and fatigue. For tlie last five days and nights he had only 
slept ten hours, and it seemed to him that justice to the person demanded the allowance 
of a little time in a case so extraordinary in all its respects as this. 

The Court suggested that we might have the opening argument for the prosecution 
to-night at any rate. 

Mr. Harding would not like to open the argument now, unless the case was to be fin- 
ished to-night. He was willing, however, to submit the case to the Jury Avithout a sin- 
gle word, believing they would do the prisoner justice. The prosecution had been met 
not only on the threshold, but at every step with obstructions to the progress of the case. 
If tlie case was not to be closed to-night, he would like to ask the same indulgence given 
to the otiier side, that he might collate the notes of the evidence he had taken. 

The Couj!T inquired what length of time the defence would require for argument on 
Monday morning. He could then decide whether to grant the request or not. 

After consultation, Mr. Chilton stated that there would be only two speeches by him- 
fcelf and Mr. Griswold, not occupying more than two hours and a half in all. 

Mr. Hlnter again entered an earnest protest against delay. 



84 THE HARPEE'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 

Tlie Court replied, "Then you can go on yourselves." 

Mr. Hakdixct then commenced the opening argument for the Commonwealth, and 
spoke only for about forty minutes. He reviewed the testimony as elicited during the 
examination, and dwelt for some time on the absurdity of the claim or expectation of 
the prisoner— that he should have been treated according to the rules of honorable war- 
fare. He seemed to have lost sight of the fact that he was in command of a band of 
murderers and thieves, and had forfeited all title to protection of any kind. 

The Court then adjourned at 5 o'clock, to meet again at nine o'clock Monday morning, 
when Mr. Griswold will deliver his opening speech for the prisoner. 



FIFTH DAY. 

Charlestown, Va., Monday, Oct. 30, 1859. 

The Court met at nine o'clock. 

The prisoner was brought in, and the trial proceeded without delay. 

Brown looks better than heretofore, and his health is evidently improving. He was 
laid on a bed, as usual. 

The Court House and its approaches were densely crowded. 

Mr. Griswold, on behalf of the defence, said :— May it please your Honor and Gentle- 
men of the Jury — Since the adjournment of the Court on Saturday evening, I have paid 
sucli attention to the case as I reasonably could, and such as will enable me to condense 
my remarks within the shortest possible space, in accordance with the arrangements 
mutually entered into. I feel as though an hour was, however, a very limited time to 
discuss the many questions that are intimately connected with the consideration of this 
irajwrtant case. At the same time I feel perfectly satisfied that I can do more justice to 
it, with the opportunity afforded to me by the delay that was kindly granted by the 
Court, than I could possibly have done when I was so unprepared for it. Gentlemen, 
the prisoner at the bar is charged with four offences, or rather I may say there are four 
counts cliarged against him, three of which are for distinct offences, one of which is 
charged in two different counts. Counsel for the State did not specify particularly the 
grounds upon which he did this. First, however, the defendant is charged with treason, 
and is so charged in nearly all the forms of treason required by law. In the second 
count he is charged with conspiring, and is thus indicted with certain other persons for 
conspiring to induce slaves to rebel and make insurrection. In the same count he is 
charged with aiding and advising slaves to rebel and make insurrection, etc. In the 
third count he is charged with murder— with willful and deliberate murder. I^ the 
fourth count he stands charged, with four other persons, three of whom are charged 
with murder, and the fifth with aiding and abetting, and that therefore they were all 
guilty of the crime of murder. There is one crime preferred here against the prisoner to 
M'hich I will briefly advert, in a manner personal to myself. I do not know, although I 
am a stranger, that it is necessary for me to say that I'have no sympathy whatever with 
any man who could be guilty of such an offence as is charged here. I would not say 
this but for the fact that I am an utter stranger here ; and having made that remark, 
perhaps it may be i)roper for me to make one more. Allusion was made by witnesses to 
the state of the public feeling prevailing in the North upon this subject. A similar 
allusion was made by the Commonwealth's attorney in his remarks, which he submitted 
to you the other day. It is therefore not out of place for me to say, that so far as I know 
the state of the public sentiment in the North, and I think I know something of it, for 
my business and calling bring me into association with all classes of people — it is, there- 
lin'e, 1 say, not inappropriate for me to say that there is no sentiment in the North in 
accordance with that of the defendant, or anybody else who may be guilty of the offences 
charged in that indictment. There' may be those, here -and there, who feel that similar 
scenes to those which lately occurred, may from time to time be brought about; but 
whether the result of interference from abroad, or the spontaneous outgushing from 
within the southern States themselves, it is a subject of deep regret that there should 
be any fear or danger of such things. And while they believe that such things may 
Jiannen, t!iey believe it with regret ; and it is their anxious hope that these feelings 
whici they deem to exist, may be removed peaceably and effectually. But, gentlemen, 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION 85 

I stand here to defend this man as T would any other man charged with oflfeiices against 
this Stale, wlien called upon to do so. I ask you, gentlemen, to take the testimony in 
view of the law as given you by the Court, and to weigh it carefully and deliberately, 
I say to you, not in the language of the prosecuting attoi'ney, to glide over it, but to in- 
vestigate it clearly, and say whether the otfcnces charged agaiast the prisoner have been 
committed by him or not, and whether they are sustained by the evidence. I feel con- 
sideral)le embarrassment in coming before a jury to defend a prisoner against charges of 
this kind under circumstances which are patent to you all. 1 know that you have been 
selected for the high duty as men competent to try the issue, and as men of sufficient 
integrity and honesty of purpose to rise above the prejudices, the passions and the feel- 
ings of every description which surround you. But yet, you are in the midst of a com- 
muflity which, I am informed since I took part in this trial, is greatly excited ; and even 
since I came into this court that fact has been brought to your mind. Counsel for the 
prosecution told you, the other day, that anxious faces were hanging around the court- 
house invoking a verdict of condemnation upon the'prisori'cr. .His distinguished associ- 
ate told you that not a lady in the county felt herself safe while things were in the con- 
dition they were now in. If this be so, then I say to you that the greater caution is 
required at your hands in giving this question a fair and impartial consideration. I was 
rejoiced to hear that the universal sentiment throughout the county is that the unfortu- 
nate man should have a fair trial. I was rejoiced to see that sentiment echoed through- 
out the whole State, through your Governor, that he should have a fair trial. I have no 
doubt that it is the firm intention of every member of the Jury to give him a fair and 
impartial trial. But, gentlemen, what is meant by a fair trial? It is not that the mere 
forms of law should be invoked, because that, it is well known, no matter what the 
evidence may be — because, I say, it is well known that these forms are but the pathway 
to the scaffold. I do not mean that the mere forms of a fair trial should be observed. 
Why ? Because they may be used merely to conceal, for the time being, the gallows 
that looms behind. I do mean that he shall have not only the forms of a fair trial, but 
tliat every principle of law and justice shall be made available, and every particle of evi- 
dence introduced by himself or by the State shall get its fair weight and consideration 
in his behalf A man charged with the grave offences alleged against the prisoner, must 
be convicted only by the clearest and the most satisfactory and conclusive evidence, 
such as cannot leave a reasonable doubt on the mind of any one juror. I propose, 
therefore, gentlemen, briefly, to consider the evidence as it applies to the law, 
which I bold should be applicable in tliis case. In doing so, I cannot go into details, 
but cau advert only to the evidence generally, asking you, when you retire to your 
room, to inquire whether this, that, or the other circumstance has been proved, which is 
essential to convict the prisoner. My first remark has relation to all the offtjnces charged 
in the indictment; and it is set forth upon the record that all those offences were com- 
mitted within the jurisdiction of this Court, and within the county of Jeff'erson, in this 
State. Now, gentlemen, this is a matter to be proved. I have read the notes of the evi- 
dence, and I can find no proofs whatever upon this point. There has been proof that the 
off"ences said to have been committed took place at Harper's Ferrj^ or in the neighborhood 
of Harper's Ferry. But where is Harper's Ferry ? The Court takes judicial notice of 
something which it says occurred in a certain place within its jurisdiction. But this 
must be proved, and I maintain it has not been proved. Therefore I say, that the Jury 
impannelled to try the matter set fortii in this indictment must have every fact submitted 
to them proved beyond a doubt. They cannot take, and ought not to take, anything on 
trust. They know nothing, except that which is detailed in evidence. Not that every 
fact essential must be proved, but those facts must be proved from which inferences may 
legitimately be drawn. I say, therefore, gentlemen, you have no right, from any know- 
ledge you may have obtained elsewhere, to say that these offences, as alleged, have been 
committed within the limits of the county of Jeff'erson : and I ask that the Court will so 
direct you. In my State, the form is to ask the Court to charge the Jury; here, I believe, 
the requisition is to instruct the Jury. We demand, on behalf of the prisoner, that the 
jurisdiction be proven. We maintain that it is as necessary to do so, as to prove the 
firing of a gun, the seizing of a slave)^or the commission of any of the acts laid in the 
indictment. If any of the offences are committed elsewhere than within the jurisdiction 
of. this Court, then tlie charges set forth have no existence, upon which this prisoner 
is sought to be convicted. Therefore, I say again that this assumed jurisdiction must be 
proven. Having stated thus much, I will proceed to other points. The first offence 
charged is treason. Here I again raise a point without designing to argue it. I state it 

6 



85 THE HAEPER'S PERRY INSURRECTION. 

that it may be iinderstoorl that both mj'self and the learned counsel witli wliom I am 
associated asrree entirely in our views upon that point, leaving it to be discussed at 
length by iiirn. I allude to it now merely to afford the learned counsel, who will close 
the arguments for the State, ample time to reflect upon and consider it.. The charge laid 
in ibe first count is treason. Now, my jioint is th;it no man is guilty of treason, unless 
lip be a citizen of the State or Government against which the treason so alleged has been 
oommitted. I state the point, and I say to you, gentlemen, if the Court rules, as we claim 
it is bound to do, that this man is not a citizen, that consequently he cannot be 
guilty of treason against the State. Rebellion means the throwing off allegiance to some 
constituted authority. Uut we maintain that this prisoner was not bound by any alle- 
giance to this State, and could not, therefore, be guilty of rebellion against it. But I will 
pass from this part of the subject. Now, with regard to treason, several things are said 
to constitute treason, one of which is levying war against the State ; and that is one of 
the charges laid in'the indictment. But, gentlemen, tliere is a great difference between 
levying' war and resisting authority, and this is a matter I particularly wish you to bear 
In mind. A man may resist authority with ever so much violence, and bloodshed may 
ensue from such resistance, biit that is not treason. It may happen, and it does happen, 
wh«re men congregate together for the purpose of perpetrating a crime. They associate 
for that ])urpose, and they have their rules and regulations, and all the elements of 
ail organization, and yet if assailed in the commission of crime, and they defend them- 
selves to the utmost, and with great sacrifice to the lives of themselves and their fellow- 
citizens v.'hom they resist, that is resistance, but that is not levying war. And how is it 
here? These men, it appears, assembled at a certain place, as the defendant himself 
indeed admits they did, and from that admission lie does not shrink, for the purpose of 
Tunning away with slaves. That i^ a criiue, and for that crime he is amenable to the 
laws of your State, and for which you can puni'<h hiiq to the extent of that law. The 
facts, then, are these; For the- purpose of carrying out his illegal design — the carrying 
away of slaves from the State — lie takes temporary possession of the Arsenal and public 
buildings at Harper's Ferry, and while there attempts were made by the citizens, for 
which I do not blame them,, to attack them and di'ive them off. I|; was then, and resist- 
ing these attempts on the part of the citizens, that this man and those associated with 
him had recourse to arms, and in: the conflict which ensued, blood was slied and lives 
were taken. But that is not levying war against the Commonwealth of Virginia, although 
it was, resisting with arqis that which was claimed to be the lawful authority of Virginia 
seeking to arrest thes.e men assembled in violation of law. But such things have happened 
frequently. You haye heard of the jails of the Qouiitry being broken open, by armed 
bands, and persons confined therein, under tlie shelter and protection of the law, dragged 
from them and executed in deSanc'- of the law. There have been instances where men 
acquitted by a Jury of the country of the crimes alleged against them, have been thus ex- 
ecuted, the jail broken open and the autliority of the sheriff trampled under foot; but 
this was not a levying war. Resisting with arms the constituted authority of the State 
is not levying war, although murder may arise out of it, though not at first contemplated. 
In violent acts of this kind dea,tli may ensue in cominission of thQ crime even when 
bloodshed was not necessarily contemplated by the offenders. In many States of the 
Union we have, as well as here, cases of kidnapping, and we have instances cf resistance 
to the authority of the law seeking to arrest the person charged, and bloodshed has en- 
sued; but this is not levying war — it is simply refsisting the authority of the law. 

Now let us inquire whether the offences charged in this indictment are a levying of 
war, or simply resisting with a higli baud the constituted authorities of the land. It is 
said that there was an organized government, and that charge is sought to be sustained by 
evidence, partictilarly by a pamphlet that has been produced, and which Avas taken from 
the person of the prisoner. Biit, gentlemen, it would not necessarily follow that over- 
throwing the Commonwealth of Virginia was contemplated by anything which appears in 
that pamphlet. How many harmless organizations have existed in the world at variotis 
times, surrounded witli all the outside forms and machinery of government ! aye, even as 
h£r:;aless things as debating societies have been so organized, congresses created, resolu- 
tions and laws discusse,d, and any one reading the jb'ulletins and reports issued from time 
to time from these associations would say, why here is a miniature governnient within the 
very limits o^ our St^t^. No matter what name they may take, no matter under what 
form of (•rganizp.tiipp they are bound together, nu ^natter what offices tb,ey,iriav create^it 
ig.not a, proof 9fcntr^e;against- the Stajte. These men na,medin the indictment. have beeri 
charactepzed by the attorney as a marauding, thieving, tnurderous clan; and surely it i^ 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 87 

not sucli people that could subvert a government and raise another upon its ruins. Such 
associulious as I h^ve alluded to, you are well aware, have tlieir laws and regulations, and 
even they prescribe death for violations ot their laws. But that does not contemplate the 
overthrow of any existing legitimate government, but only an association for governing 
controlling and directing tiienisehes in their dealings with one another, hut having no 
puipose or idea whatever of overthrowing, usurping or destroying the legitimate govern- 
ment. But I will remark turiher, with reference to this matter, that yon cinnot find 
this man guilty of treason except you have it proved incontestably before you tliat he was 
associated with others for the puri>ose and with the object of overthrowing and of 
organizing a government, and to subvert the Commonwealth of Virginia. Now, I say 
with reference to that book so much relied upon by the prosecution, tliat if it proves 
anything it proves that the attempt, if any such was designed, was to establish a "-overn- 
meut iu opposition to the Government of the United States, and not to subvert the Com- 
monwealth of Virginia. All the terms used, all tlie officers to be appointed, have reference 
to a government like the United Slates. The pamphlet does not say what territory this 
association, or government, is to exercise jurisdiction over. Its proposed empire is not 
defined. It has.fixed no territorial limits, and, therefore, if it means anything at all it 
alludes to the government of the whole United States in general, and not to this State 'or 
any other in particular. But as this book or code of laws has been put in evidence, 1 tell 
you, gentlemen, that you must not select any particular part of it— you must take' it all 
as evidence, every pitrt of it must be taken, one part as much as another, except the 
prosecution produce evidence satisfactorily contradicting any portion of it. Fiom the 
contents of that book it is clear that tliese nun did not contemplate the overthrow of the 
State government, but simply an amendment or repeal ot obnoxious laws, Or what they 
deemed to be such. I speak of this matter because yon are compelled to find that the 
prisoner was guilty of all those matters contained in the several counts. But they. have 
failed in establishing any one ot these charges. The jimsecution say that he is guilty of 
giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the Commonwealth, and that is the only specific 
charge they have made on fact. And how do they attempt to support it? Did not the 
prisoner, they say, actually send- to the tavern and procure provisions and feed the 
enemies of the Commonwealtli ? Did lie not feed the slaves, and are they not enemies of 
the State? Was not that act, therefore, turnishing aid and conifort to the enemy? I was 
surprised to hear this part of the subject commented upon. 1 was surprised that in that 
couuection, by an association of ideas no doubt very ingenious and felicitous if they 
could be traced out, he bur^t forth into that sublime apostrophe to freedom which- the 
prosecuting attorney delivered the other evening in tones and action and lan<rnaffe of 
such surpassing eloquence that none who heard him might be told that he hadreceived 
his inspiration in the State which urns the aslics of Patrick Henry. And when I remember 
tliecause we are here trying, and the circumstances which surround it, I remeniber also 
the appeal that that gentleman made to you, presenting a daguerreotype to your view of 
the anxious faces which hung around the court, invoking a verdict on the prisoner. But 
that style of appeal -v^-as not confined to the prosecutirig attorney alone. His distino-uisLed 
associate, gentlemen, presented to you a touching picture 'of dishevelled tresses of 
frightened beauty, enough to excite tlie feelings and shatter the nerves of any one. I can 
but rejoice, gentlemen, that his stirring tones were not echoed from hill top to hill top, 
from mountain to mountain, to excite and spread alarm from one end of the State to. the 
other, but that, on tlie contrary, they died away within these walls. Gentlemeti of the 
Jury, the prisoner is charged with having given aid and comfort to the enemies of the 
State, and, in despair, they are driven to rely upon this charge, for it is the only one 
specifically made. But I will leave this part of the case, and proceed. The prisorier is 
charge witli conspiring with slaves to rebel and make insurrection. Here, again, we ar^ 
bound to make the same distinction in regard to treason. There is a manifest distinction 
between the etfort made to run away with slaves, or inducing them to ruO awav, and an 
attempt to excite them to rebellion and insurrection. Now, what is meant by" insurrec- 
tion and rebellion? It means a rising up of slaves against the anthoritv of their masters 
— not a running away, although freedom may be the ultimate object. But it means 
a rising up against the masters, against the whites, against the State. Insuri'ection 
contemplates riot, robbery, murder, arson, and all the 'crimes which follow an 
insurrection, more especially a servile insurrection. N()Wy wjiat ' are tlie facts 
of the case? I cannot discuss them; but I will ask you, as men disposed to do 
justice to the State, to sit down and inquire among yours'eilves if any one witness has 
testified of aught showingj that Brown or his associates -^'aid'-'ol- did anything to 



88 THE HARPER'S FERRY IFSURRECTIOK 

anyone slave to induce him to rise in rebellion? "What wa^'it tliat Sv^s really 'done 
iu this mntter? Slaves were taken possession of, and for a' 'tfeinpoVaVy pnrpo'^y ^Vla'ced' 
in the Arsenal or some of the public buildings at Harper's Ferry. But what was the 
evidence of Colonel "Washington himself, who testified more on this subject than any 
other person ? He says that not a slave seemed to have a heart in the matter. The 
slaves themselves did nothing. They were taken thf^re, and there they quietly remained. 
The only slave that lifted his hand was old Pldl, Mi'. AlUtadt's servant, who, according 
to my recollection, and at the suggestion of Brown, the pn.-oner, drilled some port-holes 
in the wall. And let me here reinark, that the law as regards rebellion is the f^ame as 
regards treason. A man may be engaged in an illegal act; anybody of men, any body 
of slaves may be so engaged, and they may resist the lawful authorities sent against them, 
even to the shedding of blood, and yet it is not rebellion nor treason. Let us snpjjose 
that a body of slaves are seeking to escape ; they are aided in that attempt by a body of 
white men; their escape may be eflfecied by wliite men — they are pursued by the au- 
thority of the State, their capture is attempted— they resist, and defend themselves even 
to the loss of life, yet that dees not constitute rebellion — they are amenable to punish- 
ment, but not to the penalty of rebellion. This is all I need to say ffpon this subject. 
Tlie next crime charged against the jirisoner is murder. Now, there are nine specitica- 
tions of murder in the first degree. Five of these come under the head of murder in the 
first degree as premeditated murder, which is punishable witli death; four others, where 
death liappens without it being the original intention of the party to comn)it murder, but 
which, however, come under tlie head of first degree, if the party was at tlie time in the 
commission of some other offence — such as rape, arson, robbtry or burglary. If a party 
is engaged in the commission of any of these crimes, and death, though not designed, 
ensues, then the offender is liable to the penalty of death. Now, as regards the death of 
the citizens at Harper's Ferry, when they took ])l;ice the prisoner and liis men were not 
engaged in the commission of any of these offences — such as arson, rape, robbery or bur- 
glary. If they were there in resistance to the authority of the laws of Virginia— ^if while 
resisting that authority these deaths ensued, was there that premeditated malice .'ifore- 
thought which the law requires to make a m;in guilty of murder? There wasore death 
ensued in the early part ot the first night at Harper's Ferry, but how it happened no one 
knows — whether it was accidental or not. Nor can it be known, whether lie was ftcriden- 
tally shot by one of Brown's party or by one of the citizens themselves. The niiiht was 
dark, and his death might have been accidental or otherwise ; but now none can tell. I 
can only say as my client says to me on this subject : " Why should we slioot a negro ? — 
that was not our object." And so I say. Gentlemen, you cannot believe for one moment 
— you do not believe; the evidence will not allow you to believe; tlie law will nt^t allow 
you to believe — that there was any malice or deliberate intention to shoot that negro, if 
he was shot by Brown's party at all; and, therefore, gentlemen, I shall pass that clia'rge 
by without further comment. Should I be asked wliy this man should not be hrouizht 
within the jurisdiction of the Oominonweabh of yirginia so as to punish Iiim — Avas he to 
go unquit by justice for liis offences? — my answer would at once be : No, gentleiiien, not 
ior one moment. All I ask of you is that he be charged and convicted according to your 
own laws. Tiiis Commonwealth of Virginia has made laws to protect her citizens — has 
made laws which hedge them round and protect them on every side. She has witiiiu 
the borders of her population made such laws as she deems all-sufficient for the prcuec- 
tion of that species of property which some, perhaps, would wish to deprive her citizens 
of. But whatever may be done hereafter; wiiatever may be considered necessary for the 
protection of life and property in time to come, it is the boast of our institutions that no 
man can be punished beyond what the law allows. If tlie punishment is not severe 
enough; if it is not ample enough, broad enough, will the law rest until it is properly 
remedied? The law can be made and altered, from time to time, so as to meet every 
emergency of the State. If, then, your rights, your interests, your projierty, your lives 
are not sufficiently protectedy there is a power is this grand old Commonwealth sufficient 
to protect them at all time^. We, however, have wo jjvst facto law. We punish no man 
but by virtue of the law as it exists at the time the alleged offence was committed. The 
prisoner at the bar is amenable to your laws. None can deny that. Frame your indict- 
ment against him to-day, charging him with enticing away your slaves, with interfering 
witli that species of property, and his confessions are as thick as the leaves upon your 
forest trees that he Avas among you tor that purpose. Frame your indictment, and 
the moment it is read he Avill plead guilty to it and sul)mit to the penally .if his 
crime without a murmur. But conteniplating nothing more, dreaming of nothing 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 89 

more, he asks tlifit the tegis of your Laws inay he thrown nroiind him : not that he 
flinches from his fate, wliatever that inay be, but tliat he may not he stigmatized with 
guilt of ci-imes_ which lie never coiiteinplated, and which he believes in his Iieart 
lie never committed. Of course as the law has been violated it must be vindicated— 
tliat I understand, and so does he. It is not true that public feeling and sentiment 
demand his immolation. It is not true tliat the public safety requires that he should 
be punished contrary to law. I speak thus in vindication of your own laws. I desire to 
preserve them unsullied and unstained, and that they be not perverted or distorted 
to suit this case, and to do a wrong instead of being applied to the punishment of what is 
wrong. I cannot shut my eyes to tlie tact tliat tlie statute and the law will not jnstifv 
this man's conviction on the charges laid down in the indictment. And why should this 
wrong be attempted? It is not true that there is any danger from the popular feeling. 
It is not true that there is danger to the State, either from within or without. Tiiink of 
it, gentlemen, cahnly and dispassionately. Here stands a man of whom you know some- 
thirl^^ He is a man of indomitable will, of sleepless energy of purpose, possessed of a 
spirit of perseverance that turns back from no difficulty, and endovved with a constitution 
that will endure and overcome everything. He, with all tliese qualities fitting hiin for such 
an enteriirise, was engaged for months and months prosecuting it, and how did he suc- 
ceed? Despite of all liis efforts, desi)ite these enemies of mind and body which he threw 
into tlie work,. and that unbending will of his wliicli never faltered nor slept, he was able 
tliroughout tlie length and breadth of the United States to gather round his standard 
some twenty-one men both black and white. Oati it be supposed, gentlemen, for a 
moment, that there is fear to be apprehended from such a man, who, in the zenith of his 
power, wlien he had a name in history, and when something might be hoped for the 
cause in which he was engaged, could only, throughout the whole country, raise twentv- 
one men? Is it to be supposed f )r a moment, I ask, now, when he is struck down to the 
earth, ins few followers scattered or destroyed — now, when tlse fact is known that tlie 
South is alarmed and armed in every direction ready to repel any enterprise of this kind, 
is anything to be feared ? ISTi, gentlemen, there is not tlie remotest danger of your ever 
again witnessing in your State anything akin to that which lately occurred. I do not 
know whether it is necessary for me to make these remarks. I know it is the duty of 
the Jury to be blind to everything that bears not upon the case. Justice is represented as 
blind, seeing nothing, but dealing only witli the facts which relate to the case. I believe 
you will take this ca«e and deal with it faiidy, and dispose of it under the ruling of the 
0'>urt. We heard, during the progre-s of this investigation, reference made to the conduct 
of some parties who to^ik an active part in the late events at Harper's Ferry. But, gentle- 
men, the courage spoken of was physical courage, tliat courage which would induce men, 
whenever necessary, to face danger, no matter from what quarter it might come or in what- 
ever form it might present itself This courage commends itself to your highest regard. This 
is physical courage. But tliere is another sort of courage which soars far above that which is 
mere physical. It is moral courage. It is a courage which will enable the true man, 
who is blessed with it, to raise himself above the influence of prejudice, self-interest, or 
popular excitement. It is a courage that withstands all temptations, and fearles-ly rises 
above the petty considerations which influence more ignoble minds. It stands unflinch- 
ingly to meet the seething waves of popular excitement of commotion, and will not be 
turned aside from that which is humane and truthful. IsTov/, gentleman, if there be any- 
thing of this kind in your hearts — if you suppose there is anything more required than 
simple justice to be meted out to this unfortunate man — you have this day an opportunity 
of exhibiting that true moral courage of which I save spoken; and through the longest 
da^ you have to live you will value nothing more precious than the remembrance of the 
fact that you acted rightly, and justly, and mercifully in the day of danger. You, gentle- 
men, have this day a great opportunity of evincing true moral courage by dealing with 
this case as I have feebly pointed out, if you can do so justly and preserving your oaths 
intact. Whatever you do, preserve your honor untarnished, preserve also the integrity 
and reputation of the Common wealth, so long renowned for her justice, for truth and for 
chivalry unstained. I feel, gentlemen, that I have not done justice to the case; but I 
have said what I desired to say, situated as I am, closing simply with these remarks, whi«h 
I make on behalf of my client, and at his request, that he has not a particle of exception 
to take to the testimony of the witnesses examined during the trial. He deems it oidy a 
wonder amid the excitement of these scenes, that the truth, as he declares it to be, should 
be so fully developed. He believed that the de<irc of one and all of the witnesses was to 
do him ample justice ; that whenever they could speak in commendation of bis (Brown's) 



90 THE IIARPEP/S FEEEY IXSUPwEECTIOK 

humanity, in tlie means he liad tfiken t" spare the effusion of bli^oil, and to [)re5erve fnin 
harm his prisoners, the}' came cheei fully forwMnl to ilo it. He de>ire3. al-o, as t)ie least 
he can do, to express his grateful thanks to Captain Simms, who voluntarily ca'ne forward 
from another State, because, as he said, lie wished to see justice done to a brave old imin. 
Gentlemen, with these remarks I submit the case, as far a- I am' concerned, into your 
hands. ' ' 

Mr. CniLTON spoke of the embarrassment wjth which he undertook the case. Ho 
intended to do his dutj' faithfully, and iiad come to deal with the prisoner not as Captain 
Brown, leader of this foray, but simply as a prisoner under the charge of violating the 
law. If that law did not warrant a conviction, he should endeavor to maice that appear 
to the Jury. Still he would say that he had no sympathy with the prisoner. Hi-^ birth 
and residence, until within a few years, had been in Viririnia, in connection with the 
institution of slavery. Although now a resident of the District of Columbia, he had 
returned to his native State to spend the remainder of his days, and mingle his, dust with 
her soil. No other motive ojterated on him tlian a disinterested one'to do his duty faith- 
fully. He regretted the excitement respecting the case, bur was glad to hear the Judge 
say on Saturday that he desired to try this case precisely like others. He .desired, and 
the wliole State, and the wlnde South desired, that the trial sliould be fair, and it had 
been fair. Circumstances had interrupted its progress. Counsel were here witliout proper 
preparation, but indulgence had been granted, and they made no cdmplaint. Tliey 
should do the best they could under the circumstances, and could not comi)hxin of the ex- 
citement. It was natural. He hoped it would not interfere witii ti:e course of justice, or 
cast a stain upon the bar of the State. Tiie Jury had sworn tiiey were unbiased, and lie 
presumed they would firmly dischai-ge their oaths in bringing in a verdict. He could not 
understand, from the opening of the prosecution, on what grounds these charges against 
the prisoner were attempted to he sustained. Tiie Commonwealth Attorney inihilged in 
a st;rain of abuse of tlie prisoner, and pronounced sentence on him without waiting the 
verdict of the Jury, thus usur[)ing the place of the Judge. There were three distinct 
charges. The first was of treason. Tliis was an offence at common law. TJ»e word is 
derived from a French word, signifying betrayal. Treason means betrayal of trust nr 
confidence, the violation of tidelity or allegiance to the Commonwealth. He maintained 
that treason could not be committed against a Commonwealih except by a citizen thereof. 
In the present case, the whole proof shows that this prisoner is not a citizen of Virginia, 
and he therefore cannot be found guilty of treason. The indictment charges tlie i)risoii- 
ers with committing every act composing treason. Tliey are charged with levying war 
against the State, and exciting slaves to insurrection ; but there was no proof tiiat they 
committed these acts chartred — no proof that they resisted any process issued against 
them as violators of autliority of the Commonwealth. Tiiey were rather guil'ty of resist- 
ing Colonel Lee, whicii was resistance to t!ie Federal Government, and not to the Com- 
monwealth. He had read carefully the prepared Provisional Constitution, and regarded 
it as ridiculous nonsense — a wild, chimerical production. It could only be produced by 
men of unsound minds. It defines no territory over Winch it is intended to operate, and 
says ttiat we, that is the signers of the document,, not all citizens of the United States, do 
establisiiment the foHowing Provisional Government. What is it? It is an associatiou 
or copartnersldp ; they are to own property in comihon and regulate its tenures; it did 
not contemplate a Government, but merely a voluntary association to abOiish Shtvery ; 
did not even undertake to levy taxes, which is essentia! to any Government. It does not 
appear tliat tins association was to be establislied in Virginia, or where it Avas tn go into 
effect. This was not treason. Is it the adoption of a Constitution or establishment of a 
Government? By no mean^. Those p irties had a mere imaginary Government to 
govern themselves, and nobody else, just like governing a military company or d<.4)aiing 
society. Even if they intended to set up a government over the otlier, they did not do 
it. There was a principle tliat every piece of eviilence was to he construed niost favor- 
ably to the accused, who should have the benefit of every d'oubt. In c<msiderii'g ilie 
evidence they tnust consider the whole of it — they n)ust' take' the declnrations of the 
prisoner in his own f;ivor as well as against liimself. Now lool< 'at •tiie '46ih Article of 
this Provisional Constitution, wliich expressly declare-; that the fore^otirg articles shall 
not be construetfl to encourage the overthrow of any State Govern ihe^yrbr Generid Gov- 
ernment, and lead to a dissolution of the Union, but simply as !imendnienr and lepeal. 
This was on evidence before the Jury, being submitted by the pri.'Sec'ution. Again, the 
prisoner is charged witli conspiring with slaves to make an insnrrei'tipn. No prbofs ?ho\v 
that the slaves entered into a oonspirac}-, and unless that was' the ca;e tiliere was Uo cou- 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION 91 

si)iracy. One, pai-tj- cannot conspire alone. Each charge is to be considered alone by the 
Jnty. If tliey believe the evidence, it doe^ not -warrant the convictioc of treason, and 
they must consider the chaiixe of conspiracy just as if no charge of treasoi' iiad been 
inaile. One count in the indictment was nut to be brought in to aid anotlier. He consi- 
dered the prisoner liad a right to be tried on one charge at a time, and entirely disconnected 
with any other. The Court, had, however, overruled the motion on Saturday, and hence 
tiie importance of making this point clear to the Jury, So that they might not confuse the 
various offences, and the evidence relating to each, Next, as to murder. It was a very 
singular way of doing an indictment. Five prisoners are charged with the murder of 
four men. That they might have jointly done it he could understand, but that they could 
severally have done it, he declared it was almost impossible for the prisoner to make a 
defence against such a cliarge. It was too loose and vague. By the laws of Virginia 
there was but one specific murder punishable as capital, and that was deliberate, premedi- 
tated murder. The prosecution charged the prisoner with murder in the first degree, but 
he argued that evidence in this case did not sustain the charge. Tlie prisoner's conduct 
in the eni,Mne-house sliowed no maliee, according to the testimony of Col. Washington 
and Mr. Allstadt. However ridiculous his project, which it would seem could never have 
entered the mind of a sane man, he might still have believed he could carry out that 
project witliout bloodshed. At any rate, no sane man could suppose he expected, with a 
mere handful of men, to accomplish his object by force, and it is but fair to take his 
declarations, especially when compared with his acts, that he intended to shed no blood, 
except in self-defence, unless you should believe, beyond the sliglitest doubt, that those 
declarations were untrue, and that the prisoner was actuated by malice in taking the lives 
of those who never did him harm, and against wliom no cause for malice existed. As to 
Hay ward, there was no proof as to how he met his death, or who killed him, or for what 
cause, and, as his colleague had remarked, the prisoner had no motive to kill negroes. 
The subsequent contest resulted in loss of life, but the prisoner endeavored to avoid that 
donflict for the purpose of saving life, and therefore could not have been actuated by 
• malice, vvhich is necessary to constitute murder in the first degree. Even if the prisoner 
were guilty of murder in the second degree, or manslaughter, yet neither was a capital 
crime, and not the crime charged in the indictment. He did not know but that Brown 
was justified in returning the fire when fired upon under the circumstances. It was a sort 
of self-defence, and very probably, had a little more time been allowed, those men could 
have been taken into custody without loss of life. He chaiged the jury to look on this 
case, as far as tlie law would' allow, with an eye favorable to the prisoner, and when their 
verdict should be returned, he trusted that every man in the community would acquiesce 
ill it. Unless the majesty of the law were supported, dissolution of the Union must soon 
ensue, with all the evils which must necessarily follow in its train. 

Mr. Hunter closed the argument for tiie prosecution. He said he prbposed to argne 
this ca>e precisely like any other. He had lioped the counsel for the defence would have 
omitted to interpolate any outside matters, and, to a great extent, he had been gratified. 
One remark he would allude to in the opening speech of the defence this morning, where 
he had been represented as having drawn the picture of the dishevelled locks of an alarmed 
beauty. His friend had done him some injustice, in attributing to him a design of exciting 
alarm, or disturbing the minds of the people unnecessarily. He had endeavored to luarch 
straigiit forward, with tlie sole purpose of discharging hi-^ duty, in procuring the attain- 
ment of justice in respect to the prisoners. He would eoiumend to Mr. Griswold the 
testimony he had borne at the opening of the Court, that not only have the forms of a 
fair trial been extended to the prisoner, but the stibstance also; that, in the midst of all 
temptations to the contrary, in the midst of all the solid reasons that have been urged 
"\yhy a different course — I do not mean an irregular course — a different legal and constitu- 
ti<mal course by the Governor of Virginia, might have been pursued of declaring martial 
law and admiiustering.drum-liead justice. That tbe Chief Magistrate has taken high con- 
servative ground, we, as Virginians, are justly proud of, and that we did not force this 
thing beyond what prudence requires of us, and that in regard to the power and patriot- 
ism of tlie Commonwealth of Virginia we are sufficient for it, come when it may, and in 
whatever form. He proceeded to remove the objections founded on the idea tiiat might 
have been made as to the power of this Court to try a case where the offence was com- 
mitted. It was hardly necessary to sliow that it was within tlie county of Jefterson, and 
witliiu the jurisdiction of this Court. There was a law in Virginia matciug the Potomac 
River the boundary between Maryland and Virginia, and giving either State power, by a 
solemn compact, to execute a criminal process to the further bank. These matters. 



.92 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTIOjST. 

whicli are contained in the Code of Virginia, it was nnnece-sary to prove by witnesses. 
The Jury could read the Code for themselves. Another law defined the limits of Jeffer- 
son County, showing that it embraced the locality wliere theye events occurred, and 
giving jurisdiction to this Court. It was hinted in a preliminary stage of the proceedings, 
and an attempt was made to argue, that the United States held an exclusive jurisdiction 
over tlie Armory grounds, but no stress was now laid on that point, because not one 
murder out of the four lives taken was committed on the Armory grounds. Mr. Hunter 
then took up the argument of treason, which he understood to be that none but an 
attache of the Commonwealth can commit treason again-t it. It is limited to no parties 
— it does not require that tlie offender siiould be a citizen according to our system of 
government, and tlie complicated machinery of Federal and State governments, under 
which we live. In some respects, we are unfortunately bouixl to recognize as citizens of 
Virginia those who have proven themselves within our borders, as in this case, and with- 
out them, as in others, our deadliest enemies. Tiie Constitution of the United States 
provides that citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the immunities' of citizens of 
the several States. Brown came here with the immunities gis'en by the Constitution. 
He did not come divested of the responsibilities belonging to those immunities. Let the 
word treason mean breach of trust, and did he not betray that trust with which, as a 
citizen, he is invested when within our borders? , By the Federal Oonstitutioi\ he was a 
citizen when he was here, and did that bond of Union — which may ultimately prove a 
bad bond to us in the South — allow him to come into the bosom of the Commonwealth, 
with the deadly purpose of apnlying the torch to our buildings and shedding the blood of 
our citizens. Again, our Code defines who are citizens of Virginia, as all those white 
persons born in any otlier State of. this Union who may become residents here. The 
evidence in this case shows, without a shadow of a question, that when this man came to 
Vii'giiiia and planted liis feet on Harper's Ferry, he came there to reside and hold tlie 
place permanently. It is true that he occupied ,-i farm four or five miles off, in Maryland, 
a short time since, but not for the legitimate purpose of establisliing liis domicil there. It 
was for the nefarious purpose of rallying forces into this Commonwealth, and establish- 
ing himself at Harper's Ferry as a starting point for a new Government. Whatever it was, 
whether tragical, or farcical and ridiculous, as liis counsel has presented it, his conduct 
showed, if his declarations were insufficient, that it was not. alone for the purpose of 
carrying off slaves that he came there. His Provisional Government was^a real thing, 
and no debating society, as his counsel would have us believe, and in holding office under 
it, and exercising its funr'tions, he was clearly guilty of treason. The 46th. seeti(m lias 
been referred to, as showing it was not treasonable, but he supposed that that meant that 
the new government was to be a union of separate States like the present, with the differ- 
ence th.'it all were to be free States. The whole document must be taken together. The 
property of slaveholders was to be confiscated all over the South, and any man found 
in arms was to be shot down. Tlieir conduct at Harper's Ferry looked like insanity, 
but there was too much method in Brown's madness. His purposes were too well 
matured, and he and his party declared there were thousands in the North ready to join 
them. "While the Jury are to take the whole declarati(m, the law books expressly 
declare tiiey may reject, if they see good cause to do so, that which would extenuate 
the guilt of the prisoner. They are bound to consider it; that is all. As to conspiracy 
with the slaves to rebel, the law says the prisoners are equall}' guilty, whether insur- 
rection is made or not. Advice may be given by actions as well as words. When you 
put pikes in the hands of the slaves, and liave their masters captive, that is advice 
to slaves to rebel, and punishable with death. The law does not require positive 
evidence, but only enough to remove every reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the party. 
Sometimes circumstantial evidence is the strongest kind, for witnesses may peijui-o them- 
selves or he mistaken. The defence say we don't know who killed the negro Hay ward ; 
that Brown did not do it because there was no object, but that it wa.s dark, and the sup- 
position is that Haywood was' killed by mistake. They say Brown shot no unarmed 
men, but Beckham was killed when unarmed, and, therefore, he thought the whole case 
had been proved by the mass of argument. With regard to malice, the law was, that if 
the party perpetrating a felony, undesignedly takes life, it is a conclusive proof of malice. 
If Brown was only intending to steal negroes, and in doing so took life, it was murder 
with malice prepense. So the law expressly lays down, that killing committed in resist- 
ing officers attempting to quell a riot, or arrest the perpetrator of a criminal offence, is 
mnrder in the first degree. Then what need all this delay — the jjroof that Brown treated 
all bis prisoners with lenity, and did not want to shed blood ? Brown was not a madman 



THE HARPER'S FERRY mSURRECTIOK. 93 

to slied biood wlien lie knew the penalty for so doing was liis own life. In tlie opening he 
had sense enough to know better than that, bnt wanted tlie citizens of Virginia calmly to 
hold arms and let him usurp the government, manumit our slaves, confiscate tlie property 
of slaveholders, and without drawing a trigger or shedding blood, permit him to take 
possession of the Commonwealth and make it another Hayti. Such an idea is too abhor- 
rent to pursue. So, too, the idea that Brown shed blood only in self-defence was too 
absurd to require argument. He glories in coming here to violate our laws, and says, he 
had counted the cost, knew what he was about, and was ready to abide the consequen,^.*s. 
That proves malice. Thus, admitting everything charged, he knew his life was forfeited' 
if he failed. Then, is not the case made out beyond all reasonable doubt, even beyond 
any unreasonable doubt indulged in by the wildest fanatic? We tlierefore, ask his''con- 
viction to vindicate the majesty of the law. "While we have patiently borne delays, as 
well here as outside in the community, in preservation of the character of Virginia, tliat 
plumes itself on its moral character, as well as physical, and ou its loyalty, and its devo- 
tion to truth and right, we ask you to discard everything else, and render your verdict 
as you are sworn to do. As the administrators of civil jurisdiction, we ask no more than 
it' is your duty to do — no less. Justice is the centre upon which the Deity sits. There 
is anotlier column which represents its' mercy. You have nothing to do with that: It 
stands firmly on the column of justice. Administer it according to your law — acquit the 
prisoner if you can — but if justice requires you by your verdict to take his life, stand by 
that column uprightly, but strongly, and let retributive justice, if he is guilty, send him 
before that Maker who will settle the question forever and ever. 

Mr. Hunter closed at 1^ o'clock. 

During most of the arguments to-day. Brown lay on his back, with his eyes closed. 

Mr. OiiiLTON asked tlie Court to instruct the Jury, if they believed the prisoner was 
not a citizen of Virginia, but of anotlier State, they cannot convict on a count of treason. 

The Court declined, saying the Constitution did not give rights and immunities alone, 
but also imposed responsibilities. 

Mr. CniLTOX asked another instruction, to the effect that the Jury must be satisfied 
that the place where the offence was committed was within the boundaries of Jefferson 
County, which the Court granted. 

"When Mr. Hunter closed his peroration to the Jury, without further remark, at an inti- 
mation from the judge, they immediately witiidrew to consider their verdict. After an 
absence of three-quarters of an hour (during which the Court took a recess) they 
returned into court with a verdict. At this moment the crowd filled all the space from 
the couch inside the bar, around the prisoner, beyond the railing in the body of the 
court, out through tlie wide hall and beyond the doors. There stood the anxious but 
perfectly silent and attentive populace, stretching head and neck to witness tlie closing 
scene of Old Brown's trial. It was terrible to look upon such a crowd of human faces, 
moved and agitated with but one dreadful expectancy — to let the eyes rest for a moment 
upon tlie only calm and unruflBed countenance there, and to think that he alone of all 
present was the doomed one, above whose head hung the sword of fate. But there he 
stood, a man of indomitable will and iron nerve, all collected and unmoved, even while 
the verdict that consigned him to an ignominious doom was pronounced upon him. 
After recapitulating his offences set forth in the indictment, tlie Clerk of tlie Court 
said : 

Gentlemen of the Jury, what say you, is the prisoner at^the bar, John Bi-own, guilty 
or not guilty? 

FoKEMAN — Guilty. 

CLERK—Guilty of treason, and conspiring and advising with slaves and others to rebel, 
and murder in the first degree? 

Foreman — Yes. 

Not the the slightest sound was heard in the vast crowd as this verdict was thus re- 
turned and read. Not the slightest expression of elation or triumph was ut;tered from 
the hundreds present, who, a moment before, outside the court, j(jined in heaping threats 
and imprecations on his head ; nor was this strange silence interrupted during the whole 
of the time occupied by the forms of tiie Court. Old Brown himself said not even a W(U\], 
but, as on any previous day, turned to adjust his pallet, and then composedly stretclied 
himself upon it. 

Mr. Chilton, moved an arrest of judgment, both on account of errors in the indict- 
ment and errors in the verdict. The objection in regard to the indictment has already 
been stated. The prisoner has been tried for an offence not appearing on tlio record of 



94 THE HARPER'S FERRY mSURREOTION". 

the Grand Jury — the verdict was not on each count separately, but was a general verdict 
on tlie whole indictment. 

Counsel on both sides being too much exhausted to go on, the motion was ordered to 
stand over till to-morrow, and Brown was again removed unsentenced to prison. 

A Jury to try Ooppie, who was now brouglit into court, was subsequently sworn. 

The Court in consideration of Stephens' wounds, allowed his case to stand over, but 
nothing further was done, and the court adjourned. 



SIXTH DAY. 

Charlestown, Wednesday, N'ov. 2, 1859. 

Messrs. Russell and Sennott, from Boston, reached here to-day. 

Cook was brought before the magistrate's Court, and waived an examination. 

Coppie's trial was resumed. No witnesses were called for the defence. 

Mr. Harding opened for the Commonwealth, Messrs. IJott and Griswold followed for 
the defendant, and Mr. Hunter closed for the prosecution. -The speeches were of marked 
ability. 

Mr. Griswold asked for several instructions to the Jury, which were all granted by the 
Court, and tlie Jury retired. 

Brown was then brought in and the Court House was immediately thronged. 



SPEECH AND SENTENCE OF BROWN. 

The Court gave his decision on the haotion for an arrest of judgment, overruling the 
objections made. In the objection that treason cannot be committed against a Slate, he 
ruled that wherever allegiance is due, treason may be committed. Most of the States 
have passed laws against treason. The objections as to the form of the verdict rendered, 
the Court also regarded as insufficient. 

The Clerk then asked Mr. Brown whether he had anything to say why sentence should 
not be pronounced upon him. 

Mr. Brown immediately rose, and in a clear, distinct voice, said : 

"I have, may it plea<e the Court, a few wonls to say. In the first place, I deny every- 
thing but what I have all along admitted, of a design on my part to free slaves. I intended 
certainly to have made a clean thing of that matter, as I did last winter wlien I went into 
Missouri, and there took slaves without the snapping of a gun on either side, moving 
them throu2;h the country, and finally leaving them in Canada. I designed to have done 
the same thing again on a larger scale. Tliat was all I intended to do. I never did 
intend murder or treason, or the destruction of property, or to excite or incite the slaves 
to rebellion, or to make insurrection. I have another objection, and tliat is that it is 
unjust that I sliould suffer such a penalty. Had I interfered in the numner which I 
admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved — for I admire the triitlifulness and candor 
of the greater portion of the witnesses wlio have testified in this case — had I so interfered 
in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any 
of their friends, eittier father, 'mother, brotlier, si-ter, wife, or children, or any of that 
class, and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would iiave been all 
riglit, and every man in this Court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather 
than punishment. This Court acknovvledges, too, as I suppose, the validity of the law of 
God. 1 see a book kissed, which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testa- 
ment, wh.icl. teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I 
should do even so to them. It teaches mo furtlier to remeriiber them that ai'e in bonds ai 
bound with them. I endeavored to act up to tliat instruction. I saV I am yet too yonfig 
to understand that God is any respecter of persims. I beheve th.-it to liave intfifered as 



THE HARPER'S FERRi' INSURREOTION. 95 

I have dine, a? I have always freely ailinitred I liave done in behalf of His despised 
poor, is no wrong, but right. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I slioiild forfeit my hfe 
for tlie rurther.iiice of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of 
my cliildrcn and with llje blood "f millions in this slave country whose rights are dis- 
regard.-d by wicked, cruel, and nnjnst enactments, I say let it be done. Let me say one 
word furtiier. I feel entirely satisfied with the treatment I have received on my trial. 
Considering all the circumstances, it has been more generous than I expected. But I feel 
no consciousness of guilt. 1 have stated from tlie first what was my intention, and what 
was not. I never had any design against the liberty of any person, nor any di-posilion to 
c immit treason or excite slaves to rebel or make any general insurrection. I never 
encouraged any man to do so, but always discouraged any idea of that l<ind. Let rae say 
also in regard to the statemeQts made by some of those who were connected with me, I 
fear it has been stated by some of them that I have induced them to join me, but the con- 
trary is true. I do not say this to injure them, bnt as regretting their weakness. Not one 
but j'lined me of his own accord, and the greater part at their own expense. A number 
of them I never satvv, and never had a word of conversation with till tiie day they camo 
to uie, and tiiat was for the purpose I have stated. Now, I am done." 

WInle Mr. Brown was speaking, perfect quiet prevailed, and when he had finished the 
Judge proceeded to pronounce sentence upon liim. After a iew primary remarks, he 
^,eaid, that no reasonable doubt could exist of the guilt of the prisoner, and sentenced him 
to be hung in public, on Friday, the 2d of December next. 

Mr. Brown received his sentence with composure. 

The only demonstration made was by the clapping of the hands of one man in the 
crowd, who is not a resident of Jefferson County. This was promptly suppressed, and 
much regret is expressed' by the citizebs at its occurrence. 

After being out an liour the Jury came in with a verdict that Ooppie was guilty on all 
the counts in the indictment. .His counsel gave notice of a motion for arrest of judgment, 
as in Mr. Brown's case. ' ',^'' ' 

The Court then adjourned, 

feJSV/ jl 



<th 



I ■:,■ 



THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTIOK 



NOTICES OP lEGRO IATSURRECTIONS. 



The insurrection at Harper's Ferry has differed from all previous servile in-^urrectioiis 
in this country in this important point: that whereas in all former movements of tlie kind 
the discontented blacks w^ere the prime movers, and almost always the sole actors therein, 
this one has ^^een not only got up, but carried througli by white men. It does not appear 
in any positive nianner that any of the colored people of Virginia or Maryland participated 
in the movement of thieir ov^n accord. Some fevv free negroes from Iowa may have done 
so but few or none from the ?lave States. Those who appeared to act with the insurgents 
Avere nressed into service. This shows that the movement was not got up in the interest 
or V ilh the connivance of the slaves, but was purely a political one. Contrast it with the 
negro insurrections of 1831 and 185C. 



THE NEGRO . INSURRECTION IN 1831. 

It is now some ., twenty-eight years since the people of the southern tier of counties in 
Yii-fi-inia were thrown into terrible consternation and alarm by a negro iusurrection, or 
outbreak, which was inaugurated there under the most bloody auspices. The negroes 
seem to select Sunday evening as the best tinie for commencing active measures. It was 
on a Sunday evening that t!ie abolitionists and negroes of Harper's Ferry exposed their 
plan*, by seizing upon the Armory and taking possession of the town, and it was also on a 
Sunday evening that the negroes of Southampton County commenced their work. 

Southampton County is on the frontier, between Virginia and North Carolina, and is 
distant eighty miles from Richmond. Tlie first intelligence that reached the caj)ital of 
Virginia in regard to the outbreak of 1831, represented the existence of a most friglitful 
condition of things in Southampton County. One of the editors of the " Norfolk Herald," 
writing on the 24:th of August, thus tells the story : 

Norfolk, 2ith August, 1831. 

"I have a horrible and heart-rending tale to relate, and lest even its worst feature 
should be distorted by rumor and exaggeration, I have thought it proper to give you all 
and the worst information that has as yet reached us thi-ough the best sources of intelli- 
gence which the nature of the case will admit. 

"A gentleman arrived here yesterday, express from Suffolk, with intelligence from the 
upper part of Southampton County, stating that a band of insurgent slaves (some of them 
believed to be runaways, from the neighboring swamps) had turned out on Sunday night 
last, and murdered several whole families, amounting to forty or fifty individuals. Some 
of the families were named, and .among them was that of Mrs. Catharine Whitehead, 
sister of our worthy townsman, Dr. N. C. Wiiitehead, who, with her son and five 
daugliters, fell a sacrifice to the savage ferocity of these demons in human shape. 

"The insurrection was represented as one of a most alarming character, though it is 
believed to have originated only in a design to plunder, and not with a view to a more 
important object — as Mrs. Whitehead, being a wealthy lady, was supposed to have had a 
large sum of money in her house. Unfortunately, a large nutnber of the effective male 
population was absent at a camp -meeting in Gates County, some miles off, a circumstance 



THE ffARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION. 97 

■whicii gave a temporary secnrity to the brigands in the perpetration of their butcheries; 
atid tlie pai'iie which itherstl-irek at the moment' prevented the assembling of a force BufB- 
cient to ciieclv tl^^eir career. ' i - 

*'As soon as this intelligence was received, our authorities met, and decided on making 
an imniedi:ite npplication to Colonel House, commanding at Fortress Monroe, who, at six 
o'clock tliis morning, embarked on board the steamboat Ilampton, with three companies 
and a piece of artillery, ft)r Suffolk. Tliese troops were reinforced in tlie Roads by 
detacliments from the United States ships Warren and Natchez, the whole amounting to 
nearly 300 men. 

"To-day another express arrived from Suffolk, confirming the disastrous news of the 
preceding one, and adding still more to the number of the slain. The insurgents are 
believed to have from 100 to 150 mounted men. land about the same number on foot. They 
are armed with fowling-pieces, clubs, etc., and liave had an encounter with a small number 
of the militia, who killed six and took eight of them prisoners. They are said to be on 
their way to South Quay, probably making their way to the Dismal Swamp, in which 
they will be able to remain for a short time in security. For my part, I have no fears 
of their doing much further mischief. There is very little disaffection in the slaves 
generally, and they cannot muster a force sufficient to effect any object of importance. 
The few wlio have thus rushed headlong into the arena, will be shot down like crows or 
daptured and made examples of. The militia are collecting in all the neighboring counties, 
and the utmost vigilance prevails. I subjoin a list of the victims of their savage vengeance 

Mrs. "Waters and family . , .' .''.'.T. .".";". .'l'. 14 

Mrs. Wiiitehead 7 

Mrs. Vaughan 1 . . , 5 

Jacob Williams 5 

Mr. Travis ,• . . . 5 

William Reese . : ..'.'' 1 .':'?U'^ . 'I' ; 4 

Mr. Williams ' !V'i.-^. ;,. . .' 3 

Mr. Baines '. , . .... ... 2 

Mrs. Turner 3 

Unknown 10 

Tota. 58 

"Besides these, a private letter adds the families of Mr. Barrow and Mr. Ilenry Bryant 
— numbers not mentioned. 

"Muskets, pistols, swords, and ammunition have been forwarded to Suffolk to-day, by 
Com. Warrington, at the request of our civil authorities, and a number of our citizens 
have accoutred and formed themselves as a troop of cavalry, and set bp^ to assist their 
fellow-citizens in Southampton. I trust the next news you will hear will be that all is 
quiet again." 

Furtiier statements confirmed the general truth of the foregoing narrative, and repre- 
sented that, tliree hundred negroes, well mounted and armed, and headed by one or two 
while men, cimstituted the whole of the insurgent force. Other accounts exaggerated 
their numbers to six or eight hundred, and represented the militia force of tliree hundred 
men as retreating before the blacks, who were armed with shot guns, muskets, scythes, 
and axes. 

Prompt and efficient measures were immediately taken by the the Governor of the 
State to suppress the insurrection. Infantry, cavalry, and artillery were dispatched in all 
haste from Riclimond and Norfolk. The authorities of North Carolina also supplied 
troops, anil the federal troops stationed at Norfolk, Fortress Monroe, and other points, 
were placed at the service of the State, The result of these prondpt and decisive roea- 



98 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTIOI^, 

sures was, tliat all the negroes engaged ia, the movement were, with a few exceptions, 
killed or captured within a few days.- It \yaa thuuglit that some ot''theu;i ihadmade tliMr 
retreat into the Dismal Swimp, and soon afterward a rumor prevailed that that loc Jity 
Avas the rendezvous for several hundred runaway slaves. Fortunately tliese riimorH 
proved unfounded. The movement was completely suppressed, though not until from 
fifty to sixty whites, principally women and children, had been barbarously slangluered, 
and until full vengeance had been taken on their hellish murderers. From the published 
accounts of the affair, we extract the following, from which it would appear that the 
numbers of the blacks were greatly exaggerated, but that their atrocities were not: 

" Oil the night of the 23d ult., the Southampton militia had three skirmishes with a 
gang qf trom forty to fifty' negroes, the latter retreating each time. In one account it is 
stated, that one of the militia, of the name of Pope, was killed; in another, thaV the 
wliites sustained no loss whatever. The negroes made three attempts to cross the bridge 
at Bel field, hut were repulsed,, each time by a jiarty of militia who were stationed on the 
opposite side with a piece of artillery. A party':of four militiamen, who had been sent 
to reconnoitre the blacks, came up with a. party of about twenty of them, and, after ,a 
sharp engagement, succeeded in killing three or four, and taking several prisoners, when 
the remainder fled. The great object of the negroes, after the rallying of the militia, 
appeared to be to reach the Dismal Swamp, but such was the vigilance of the former, 
that nearly e.very one .\vas either shotidown or captured. Many of the blocks were well 
mounted, and armed with bird at)d other guns, and ax.es. The roads were strevvjed with 
the carcasses of tlie negroes killed, and up to the 25th ult., neither these nor the corpses 
of the unfortunate whites had been buried ; arrangements were, however, making for 
their interment. 

"The different accounts are conflicting as to the number of negroes killed, aiul, indeed, 
under the circumstances in which they have been written, it is not to be wondered that 
they sliould be so. 

" We gather from letters published in the Richmond ' Whig,' of the 29tli ult., the 
following statements: A letter from the senior editor of that paper, wlio is on the spot, 
states that the number of the insurrectionary negroes had been greatly exaggerated, but 
that it was hardly within the power of rumor itself to exaggerate their atrocities; whole 
families, father, mother, daughter, sons, sucking babes, and school children, were butch- 
ered by tliem, thrown into heaps, and left to be devoured by hogs and dogs, or to putrefy 
on the spot. At Mr. Levi Waller's, his wife, and ten school children were murdered;— he 
himself was absent, but approaching while the dreadful scene was acting, was pursued, 
and escaped with diflSculty into a marsh;' How, or with whom tlie insurrection origi- 
nated, is not certainly known. The prevalent belief is, that on Sunday, the 14 h ult., at 
Barnes' church, near the Cross Keys, the negroes who, Were observed to be disorderly, 
took offence at something, and that the plan was conceived and matured in the course of 
ihe week. At Mr. Waller's, one child escaped from the ruthless fangs of these monsters 
by concealing herself in the. fire-place, and another was found alive who was badly 
wounded and left for dead by them. He has accompanied his letter with a list of the 
killed, amounting to sixty-two, but it is not yet ascertainedi to be correct. He thinks 
that tlie insurgents never exceeded sixty, and that twelve vvell-armed and resohite men 
were competent to have quelled them at any time. ■ 

"General Eppe,s,,who is in command of the troops, reports, under date of the 28th 
nit., that all the insurgents, except Nat Turner, the leader, had either been taken or killed. 
On the 29th, General Broadnax re|)orts to the Gcivernor that all was quiet and free from 
visible marauders ; he tiiinks all have been killed or taken except four or five. He statis 
that Nat, the ringleader, who calls llim^elf general, and pretends to be a Baptist preacher, 
declares to jiis comrades that he ivS pommissioned by Jesus Christ, atid proceeds nnder his 
inspired directions — that the late singular appearance of the sun was tJie sign for him — he 
is not taken, and the account of his being killed at the affair of the bridge is not correct. 



Tllj; HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION". C9 

Tlie General thinks ' tliat there has existed no general concert among the slaves — circnm- 
stances, impossible to have been feigned, demonstrate the entire ignorance on the sxibject 
of all the slaves in the counties around Southampton, among whom he has never known 
more perfect order and quiet to prevail.' He believes ' that at any time, twenty resolute 
men could have put them down.' 

" He compliments, in terms of strong approbation, the admirable conduct and spirit of 
the militia, who have everywhere turned out with the utmost promptitude, and given 
the most unquestionable evidence of their ability, instantly and effectually to put down 
every such attempt. The families who had spaght safety by flight had generally returned 
to their homes." 

It was believed in North Carolina that the insurrection commenced with and was 
arranged by four negro preachers, who had been permitted to liold tlieir ineetings by day 
arid by niglit, and who used these opportunities to poison the minds. of the slaves. Of 
tliese preachers, the principal was Nat Turner, who claimed to be commissioned by Jesus 
Christ. Turner escaped the general slaughter made by the troops, at)d eluded their vigi- 
lance for a couple of months; but he was finally caught in a cave in the vicinity of the 
place where he and his followers had perpetrated tlieir barbaritips. and w;as^ without 
much ceremony, tried, convicted and hanged. His arrest took place on the 30th of 
October. 1831, and his execution a few days afterward. Thus ended the negro insurrec- 
tion of 1831. 



THE NEGRO INSURRECTION OF 1856. 

There are few readers who will not have a recollection of the excitement that prevailed 
in the southern States in the summer of 1856, growing out of the defiant and hostile atti- 
tude of the negro population in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and other Southern 
States. Disclosures of plots, having for design a rising upon and murdering the white 
population, were made, and terrible apprehensions caused tliereby. Negroes, free as well 
as slave, were seized and put to the torture, and in some instances confessions were 
■wrung from them implicating others. In the village of Murfreesboro, in Tennessee, tlie 
wliite inhabitants assembled and drove 'olit'the fi-ee negroes, on the ground that their 
depredations on property had become insufferable. 

In Union county, Arkansas, the citizens seized upon an abolitionist, named Hancock, on 
suspicion of tampering with the slaves. After making some confessions, he managed to 
escape, but he was recaptured, carried to the town of El Dorado, and there tried. He 
was not found guilty, however ; but as he boasted that he knew all about the matter and 
■would not tell, the citizens took him out to the woods and shot him — a ratlier summary 
proceeding, truly. 

Anotlier person named Martin, who was sup])osed to be engaged in the same plot, was 
also seized by the same parties, brought to El Dorado, tried, adjudged guilty, and was 
Jmng. The idea was that tiiere was to be a general concentration of negroes on tlie 14th 
of October, at a given point, who were to be led by Hancock and others, and tliat they 
intended to attack tlie town, murder all the white inhabitants, possess themselves of 
whatever provisions and valuables they could lay their hands on, and then start off for 
Kansas. Tlie execution of Hancock and Martin prevented the working out of the plot, 
if indeed it ever existed. 

About the same time there was an intense excitement in the region aroutid Nashville, 
Tenn., where there was an attempted insurrection of the blacks. Six of the ringleaders 
were seized and executed at Dover for being implicated in the conspiracy. Three of 
these were preachers ; and it was said that all the negro preachers and active members of 
the church were found to be most efficient and zealous in the insurrection. 

The lash was freely applied to extort confessions. 



100 THE HARPER'S FERRY INSURRECTION". 

A newspaper correspondent who was present at the execution, saw a list of the negroes 
that had been whipped, and was told what tliey all had stated ; and then he witnessed 
<!he exaiuioation of the rest, some taking five or six hundred lashes before tliey would tell 
the tale. One of the negroes died from the whipping. The substance of their confession 
was, that they were to " rise on the night of Christmas eve, murder the manager of the 
furnace works and his family, reserving his wife for one of the negroes, named Ishmael. 
Then they were to murder several other white people, and make an attack on Dover, 
where they expected to help themselves with arms, ammunition and everything else they 
wanted. After that they were to scatter themselves over the country." Several masters 
had hung their own slaves, and it was believed that the conspiracy was a general one 
over all the southern States. 

In South Carolina, muskets and ammunition had been found in the hands of slaves, and 
no less than thirty-five negroes were hung there. Escapes of slaves were very numerous, 
and the white population was in the most intense alarm. 

The scourging and the hanging and the shooting proved efficacious preventives, and 
after all it turned out that the white population of the southern States were more 
frightened than hurt by the servile insurrection of 1850. 



THE END. 



x*ioo 25 Oexxts. 



THE 

WAR IN EUROPE, 

ITS REMOTE AND RECENT CAUSES. 

WITU THE 

VIENNA TREATIES OF 1814 AND 1815, IN FULL. 

CONTAINING ALSO 

TWO SPLENDID MAPS, EACH 24X15, 

PEEPARKD E5PRKS3LT FOR THIS WORK. 

Also, printed separately on sized r.nd calendered paper, the following 

View of the City of Genoa. TI13 Sardinian Troops in TJniform. 

landing of the French Soldiery. /. rrival of French Troops in Piedmont. 

View of the City and Fortress of Alessandria. A Zouave in Marching Order. 

FULL-LENGTH PORTRAITS OF 

Emperor Napoleon m. Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria. 

Victor Emanuel, King of Sardinia. Count Gyulai, the Austrian General. 

ALSO OF THE FREXCU GENERALS OP THE ARMV OF ITALY: 

Marshal Canrohert, I rince Napoleon, Marshal McMahon, 

Marshal Bandon, Marshal Magnan, Duke of Malakoff 

Marshal Baraguay d'Hilliers, Marshal Castellans, General Niel. 



CONTENTS OF THE BOOK: 

EUROPE IN" THE PRESEISTX CE^STTXTRY. 

Settlement of the Pence of Europe; Events nf 1S15 ; Gi-eat I'.ritain after tlie liattle of Waterloo ; Russian 
Dynasty; Austrian Dynasty ; German Stntes; PrusHaii Uyna<ty ; Sketches of all European Stales; Description 
of Italy; Position of the Belliserents ; Declarations and Manifestoes of tlie Powers. 

RETROSPECT OF W^^RS AJSTD TREATIES. 

European Dynasties in 1790; French Revoluii«ii of 1TS9; Napoleon B inap:irte's Cmecr ; Trraies of Paris in 
1814-15; Congress of Vienna; Holy Alliance Treaty ; Fieiich Revolution, of lS3o and 1S48; Germanic Confed- 
eration ; Partitions of Poland ; Breaclies of Vienna Treaties by Russia and Austria ; Secret Treaty of Verona to 
crush Liberty ; Treaty between Russia and Turkey in relation to the Danubiau Principalities; Italy in 1S4S ; Ger- 
man Revolts of 184S-0; Hungarian Revolution. 

OBJECTS OE A DYNASTIC TV^T^R, 

ReTiewof Louis Napoleon's Acts; Projects of Napole 'U I.; Tlie Crimean War injurious to Enprland ; Possi- 
bilities of the Future; Italy and a New Poi)eilom ; P.issible Effects on the American Continent; P. siiiou of the 
United States in view of an Offensive Alliance of Dynasties. 

BAJL.A:iSrCE OF RO^\^ER IIST EUROPE. 
Review of Wars in the Last Century; Treaty concerning Parma, Piaceiiza and Guastalla; Treaty of ITlor- 
ence between Austria, S udinia, Tuscany, Modena and Parma; Treaty between Austria and Modcna irs 1»4T ; 
Consideration of Direct Causes of the War; Concluding Remarlcs regarding a new Balance of Power. 

BIOG^RAPHICAL N^OTICES, EORCES AISTD FlNAJSTCWi^i. 

Count Cavour; Marshal Canrobtrt ; Garibaldi; Count Gyulai ; Francis of Naples ; Count Reclibcrf • Gene 
rals Hess and Hebel ; Marshal Biraguay d'HillierK; Napoleon 111.; Victor Emanuel ; Francis Josepli ; A.jiies of 
Europe; Public Debts ; Cost of Wars. 

THE CHEAPEST BOOK EVER PUBLISHED. 

Copies mailed, postage paid, on receipt of price. 
ADDRESSt 

ROBERT M. DE WITT, PUBLISHER, 

160 and 162 Nassau St., New York. 

W. H. TiMSOif, Printer and Stereotyper, 43 k 45 Centre Street, !Cew York. 



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Xo^ lleai\y — ^PvVce T^veYit^-¥V^e Cewts. 



THE HISTORY OF THE 



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18 5 0. 

CAREFULLY COMPILED FROM 

Official Dociuuents and the Most Reliable Accoiinls. 

EMBELLtSHKD M'lTH A 

VALUABLE TOPOGRAPHICAL WAP, 29X19, 

Showing tlic Routes and Battle Fields from the Landing of the French Troops nt Genoi to the 
Battle of Solfcrino. It also contains an interesting Chart, giving an account of all the Battlca 
that have taken place in Northern Italy. 

This Map has been prepared expressly for this work at a great expense by an ex-ofl5ccr of 
the Prussian army. 

The work also contains the following 

ILLUSTRATIONS, 

Printed separately on sized and calendered paper : 

THE BATTLE OF MAGENTA. 

VISIT OF THE EMPEROR NAPOLEON TO THE WOUNDED IN THE VOGHERA HOSPITAL. 

BATTLE OF SOLFERINO— SHOWING HOW THE TURCOS FIGHT. 

THE BATTLE OF PALESTRO-THE CHARGE OF THE ZOUAVES. 

THE FIGHT AT THE MULINO BRIDGE, AT THE BATTLE OF PALESTRO. 

THE CMARGE OF THE PIEDMONTESE INFANTRY AT THE BATTLE OF VERCELLI. 



CONTEN^TS OF THE BOOK. 



Retrosjiect, from 1S56 to the 29th April, 1859, when 
the Austrmni cross the Ticitio. 

Attempt to hold a Congress. 

Statistics— The Area and Population of European 
Nations— How Italy is Divided — Statistics of Italy 
— The Sardinian Koitresses— Austrian Fortresses — 
Aust.ian Forts in the Ad iatic— The Austrian 
Empire — Rivers of f>ombardy and Sardinia — The 
Theatre of War — The Austrian Generals. 

Thf Arm es and Navies of tlie Kuropean Nations: The 
French Army and Navy — Austrian Army and Navy 
— Sardin an Army and Navy — Russian Army and 
Navy - England's Army and Navy — Army and Navy 
of Naples and the Two Sx.lies— Armies of the 
Duch es and Popedom. 

The Manifestoes of the Eu'-opean Nations. 

The Ski' niishes of Frassinetto, Villattl, and Valenza. 

Battle of .Montebello — French Olfioial Account — Sar- 
dinian Official Account. 

Battles of VercelU and Palesto. 

Battle of Magenta— French Official Account — Aus- 



trian Official Account — Proclamation of Francis J o- 
sepli. 

Battle of Malegiiano — Austrian Official Account — 
French Olfici.il Account. 

Napoleon in Milan — The Kvacuation of Milan. 

The new Government in Milan O ^^lui'iation of Uie 
Lombard Government— Proclamation of Victor 
Emanuel— Address of the Municipal ty of .Milan. 

Battle of Solferino -The French Oltic al Account — .\us- 
tiian Official Account — Scenes on the liattle F ehl. 

As'KCDOTES OF TiiK W'Mi : -The Discii)line of lloiior- — 
The Dulce de Chartres — \ " Contr^iband of Uar " 
Puzzl?-— The French in Genoa— Mow the Gold was 
got — Fighting his Uattles o'er ag.iin - Wouiideil 
Volunteers at Palestro— An Orphan from Monte- 
bello— The Zouaves and their Prize -A King made 
a Corpo al — The Tu cos —Garibaldi's Heroes- Ma- 
genta—The Townsfolk of Milan aud Como — The 
onlv Son ami his Mother. 

APPKNDI.\-U ary of Eventa. 

The Aimistice— The Peace. 



ROBERT M. DE WITT, PUBLISHER, 

160 and 162 Nassau St., New York. 

Copies of the above book sent by mail, postage paid, on receipt o/j>rice, 

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