Our featured museum for October is Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park.
Harper’s Ferry is situated where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet. Initially the town was named “Shenandoah Falls at Mr. Harper’s Ferry,” after Robert Harper who obtained the patent for the lands. The home Mr. Harper built, but never lived in, is the oldest structure in town and dates to 1775.
In 1859, John Brown began to prepare for his historic “raid” on the armory in Harper’s Ferry. John Brown began by leasing a farm only 5 miles from the town. The farm was used a gathering point for Brown’s Army, who were hidden during the day. Brown’s daughter and wife were brought to the farm to keep up the appearance of a normal family. On October 16th, 1859, the raid was to begin. A total of 16 men died in the rad, 10 of whom were members of John Brown’s Army. John Brown was captured, jailed, and on December 2nd 1859 he was executed by hanging. It was at this point that the oncoming Civil War was viewed as unavoidable.
I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done. – John Brown, December 2, 1859
And unavoidable it certainly was, less than 3 years later Harper’s Ferry would mark a momentous moment in the struggle for abolition. During the Civil War, Harper’s Ferry served as a key operation point for Union troops during the Civil War. On September 15th, 1862 a strategic victory engineered by Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, allowed for the single largest capture of Federal Union forces during the Civil War. Examine the map show below to see further details regarding the Confederate’s successful maneuver into position.
To read more about October’s featured site visit the National Park Service’s website:https://www.nps.gov/hafe/