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JOHN BROWN HOLDING HARPER’S FERRY. 291 to their friends to send a negro apiece guarded them, one of whom fell as ransom. At daylight, the train dead, and another -- Brown's son proceeded, Brown walking over the Watson-was mortally wounded. • bridge with the conductor. When- Still, throughout the forenoon, the ever any one asked the object of their liberators remained masters of the captors, the uniform answer was, “To town. There were shots fired from free the slaves;” and when one of the one side or the other at intervals, but workmen, seeing an armed guard at no more casualties reported. The the Arsenal gate, asked by what au- prisoners were by turns permitted to thority they had taken possession of visit their families under guard, to the public property, he was answered, give assurance that they still lived “By the authority of God Almighty!" | and were kindly treated. Had
The passenger train that sped east- Brown chosen to fly to the mounward from Harper's Ferry, by Brown's tains with his few followers, he might permission, in the early morning of still have done so, though with a Monday, October 17th, left that place much ślenderer chance of impunity completely in the military possession than if he had, according to his oriof the insurrectionists. They held, ginal plan, decamped at midnight, without dispute, the Arsenal, with with such arms and ammunition as its offices, workshops, and grounds. he could bear away. Why he linTheir sentinels stood on guard at the gered, to brave inevitable destrucbridges and principal corners, and tion, is not certain; but it may fairly were seen walking up and down the be presumed that he had private asstreets. Every workman, who igno- surances that the negroes of the surrantly approached the Armory, as rounding country would rise at the day dawned, was seized and impri first tidings of his movement, and soned, with all other white males come flocking to his standard; and who seemed capable of making any he chose to court the desperate trouble. By eight o'clock, the num chances of remaining where arms ber of prisoners had been swelled to and ammunition for all could abundsixty-odd, and the work was still pro- antly be had. True, he afterward ceeding.
said that he had arms enough alreaBut it was no longer entirely one- dy, either on or about his premises ; sided. The white Virginians, who but, if so, why seize Harper's Ferry had arms, and who remained unmo- at all ? lested in their houses, prepared to | At all events, if his doom was aluse them. Soon after daybreak, as ready sealed, his delay at least hasBrown's guards were bringing two tened it. Half an hour after noon, citizens to a halt, they were fired on a militia force, one hundred strong, by a man named Turner, and, direct- arrived from Charlestown, the county ly afterward, by a grocer named seat, and were rapidly disposed so as Boerly, who was instantly killed by to command every available exit from the return fire. Several Virginians the place. In taking the Shenandoah soon obtained possession of a room bridge, they killed one of the insuroverlooking the Armory gates, and gents, and captured William Thompfired thence at the sentinels who son, a neighbor of Brown at Elba,
unwounded. The rifle-works were followers from Kansas, was sent out next attacked, and speedily carried, with a flag of truce to call a parley, being defended by five insurgents but was instantly shot down by the only. These attempted to cross the Virginians, receiving six balls in his river, and four of them succeeded in person. Thompson, their prisoner, reaching a rock in the middle of it, was attacked by scores of them in whence they fought with two hun- the parlor where he was confined, dred Virginians, who 'lined either but saved for the moment by a young bank, until two of them were dead, lady throwing herself between him and a third mortally wounded, when and their presented rifles, because, as the fourth surrendered. Kagi, she afterward explained, she “did Brown's Secretary of War, was one not want the carpet spoiled." He of the killed. William H. Leeman, was dragged out to the bridge, there one of Brown's captains, being pur- shot in cold blood, and his body ridsued by scores, plunged into the dled with balls at the base of the river, a Virginian wading after him. pier, whither he had fallen forty feet Leeman turned round, threw up his from the bridge. empty hands, and cried, “Don't By this time, more militia had arshoot !” The Virginian fired his pis- rived from every quarter, and a party tol directly in the youth's face-he from Martinsburgh, led by a railroad was but twenty-two-and shattered conductor, attacked the Armory his head into fragments.
buildings in the rear, while a detachBy this time, all the houses around ment of the same force assailed them the Armory buildings were held by in front. Brown, seeing that his the Virginians. Capt. Turner, who enemies were in overwhelming force, had fired the first shot in the morn retreated to the engine-house, where ing, was killed by the sentinel at the he repulsed his assailants, who lost · Arsenal gate, as he was raising his two killed and six wounded rifle to fire. Here Dangerfield New Still, militia continued to pour in; by, a Virginia slave, and Jim, one of the telegraph and railroad having Col. Washington's negroes, with a free been completely repaired, so that the negro, who had lived on Washing- Government at Washington, Gov. ton's estate, were shot dead; and Wise at Richmond, and the authoriOliver Brown, another of the old ties at Baltimore, were in immediate man's sons, being hit by a ball, came communication with Harper's Ferry, inside of the gate, as his brother and hurrying forward troops from all Watson had done, lay quietly down quarters to overwhelm the remaining without a word, and in a few mo handful of insurgents, whom terror ments was dead. Mr. Beckham, and rumor had multiplied to twenty mayor of the town, who came within times their actual number. At five, range of the insurgents' rifles as they were exchanging volleys with the militia from Maryland, and completVirginians, was likewise killed. ed the investment of the Armory
At the suggestion of Mr. Kitzmil- buildings, whence eighteen prisoners ler, one of Brown's prisoners, Aaron had already been liberated upon the D. Stevens, one of his most trusted | retreat of Brown to the engine-house.
DEFEAT AND CAPTURE OF BROWN.
Col. Baylor commanded in chief. | their loss—they had died in a good The firing ceased at nightfall. Brown cause. . offered to liberate his prisoners, upon At seven in the morning, after a condition that his men should be parley which resulted in nothing, the permitted to cross the bridge in safe marines advanced to the assault, ty, which was refused. Night found broke in the door of the engineBrown's forces reduced to three un- house by using a ladder as a batterwounded whites beside himself, with ing-ram, and rushed into the buildperhaps half a dozen negroes from ing. One of the defenders was shot the vicinity. Eight of the insurgents and two marines wounded; but the were already dead; another lay odds were too great; in an instant, dying beside the survivors; two all resistance was over. Brown was
one other unhurt. Around the few knocked down, after which the blow survivors were fifteen hundred arm was several times repeated, while a ed, infuriated foes. Half a dozen of soldier ran a bayonet twice into the the party, who had been sent out at old man's body. All the insurgents, early morning by Brown to capture it was said, would have been killed slaveholders, and liberate slaves, were on the spot, had the Virginians been absent, and unable, even if willing, able to distinguish them with certo rejoin their chief. They fled dur- tainty from their prisoners. ing the night to Maryland and Penn- ! Of course, all Virginia, including sylvania; but most of them were ul- her Governor, rushed to Harper's timately captured. During that Ferry upon learning that all was night, Col. Lee, with ninety United over, and the insurrection completely States marines and two pieces of suppressed. The bleeding survivors artillery, arrived, and took possession were subjected to an alternation of of the Armory guard, very close to queries and execrations, which they the engine-house.
met bravely, as they had confronted Brown, of course, remained awake the bullets of their numerous and and alert through the night, discom- ever-increasing foes. They answered fited and beyond earthly hope, but frankly, save where their replies perfectly cool and calm. Said Gov. might possibly. compromise persons Wise, in a speech at Richmond soon still at liberty; and none of them after:
sought to conceal the fact that they “Col. Washington said that Brown was had struck for Universal Freedom at and danger. With one son dead by his side,
was especially praised by his eneand another shot through, he felt the pulse of his dying son with one hand, held his rifle mies (many of whom have since won with the other, and commanded his men notoriety in the ranks of the Rewith the utmost composure, encouraging them to be firm, and to sell their lives as
bellion), as remarkably simple and dearly as possible.”
noble. Among others, Mr. C. L. Conversing with Col. Washington Vallandigham, of Ohio, hastened to during that solemn night, he said he visit and catechise Brown, in the had not pressed his sons to join him hope of making political capital out in this expedition, but did not regret of his confessions, and was answered
frankly and fully. On his return to first news of their attempt, and that Ohio, he said:
fears of insurrection and of an armed "It is in vain to underrate either the man
rescue were still widely prevalent. or the conspiracy. Capt. John Brown is as That the lawyers of the vicinage who brave and resolute a man as ever headed an
were assigned to the defense of the insurrection; and, in a good cause, and with a sufficient force, would have been a consum- | prisoners did their auty timialy an mate partisan coinmander. He has coolness, feebly, is certain; but they shared, . daring, persistency, the stoic faith and patience, and a firmness of will and purpose
of course, not only the prejudices but. unconquerable. He is the farthest possible the terrors of their neighbors, and remove from the ordinary ruffian, fanatic, or knew that the case, at any rate, was madman. Certainly, it was one of the best | planned and best executed conspiracies that hopeless. ever failed.”
Brown's conduct throughout comOn Wednesday evening, October manded the admiration of his bitter19th, after thirty hours of this disci est enemies. When his papers were pline, the four surviving prisoners brought into court to be identified, were conveyed to the jail at Charles- he said: “I will identify any of my town under an escort of marines. handwriting, and save all trouble. I
were taken in a wagon; Green and a defense of insanity was suggested Coppoc, unhurt, walked between files rather than interposed, he repelled it of soldiers, followed by hundreds, with indignation. When, after his who at first cried, “Lynch them !” | conviction, he was suddenly brought but were very properly shamed into into court, on the 1st of November, silence by Gov. Wise.
to listen to the judgment, and directed It is not necessary to linger here to stand up, and say why sentence over the legal proceedings in this should not be passed upon him, case; nor do the complaints, so freely though taken by surprise and somemade at the time, of indecent haste what confused, he spoke gently and and unfair dealing, on the part of the tenderly as follows: Virginia authorities, seem fully justi- ' “In the first place, I deny every thing but fied. That the conviction and death | what I have all along admitted—the design of Brown and his associates were pre
on my part to free the slaves. I intended
certainly to have made a clean thing of that determined, is quite probable; but matter, as I did last winter, when I went the facts and the nature of the case into Missouri, and there took slaves without
the snapping of a gun on either side, moved were notorious, beyond dispute; and
them through the country, and finally left Virginia had but this alternative them in Canada. I designed to have done to hang John Brown, or to abol
the same thing again, on a larger scale.
That was all I intended. I never did intend ish Slavery. She did not choose murder, or treason, or the destruction of to abolish Slavery ; and she had no property, or to excite or incite slaves to
rebellion, or to make insurrection. remaining choice but to hang John'e
“I have another objection: and that is, Brown. And as to trying him and it is unjust that I should suffer such a Stevens while still weak and suffer. | penalty. Had I interfered in the manner
which I admit has been fairly proved—(for ing severely from their wounds-nei
I admire the truthfulness and candor of the ther able at times to stand up-it greater portion of the witnesses who have must be considered that the whole | testified in this case)--had I so interfered in
behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelliState had been terror-stricken by the gent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any