Who is John Brown?
John Brown
John Brown


May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859

John Brown was an abolitionist and was a very fanatical in his beliefs. He was a pioneer for
armed rebellion in the south. He led the Pattawatomie Massacre along with his sons in 1856. He believed he was an instrument of God's will to destroy slavery. President Abraham Lincoln said he was a "misguided fanatic" and Brown has been called "the most controversial of all 19th-century Americans. Brown is most well known for his attempt to start a slave revolt in Harper's Ferry, Virginia. He attempted to take over an armory and firearms depot there, but failed. He was later hanged for treason. The Harper's Ferry incident enraged the South and made the realize that they could not peacefully be part of the union any longer. Brown encouraged violet actions against the southerners, unlike most northerners who sought a democratic compromise.

Raid on Harper's Ferry

Harper's Ferry was a town in Virginia, at the time it was the place of the United States Arsenal.
On October 19, 1859, Brown's 21 men had arrived at a house he rented in Maryland. The armory held 100,000 firearms that he hoped to obtain and then use to arm local
John Brown and his men in the engine room
John Brown and his men in the engine room
slaves and start an armed slave revolt. He wanted this revolt to instill fear and terror throughout the South. It went well in the beginning, they got into the town easily because there had only been 1 guard at the armory. A shortwhile after they had rounded up hostages, a train came by and they killed the baggage master, Hayward Shepard. Later news got out about the raid and local farmers and militia and townsfolk fired on Brown's forces and kept them in their "fort". The militia later secured their only escape roof, which was a nearby bridge so Brown took his men to the engine room. The engine room was a small brick house at the front of the armory.

By the morning of October 18, Robert E. Lee had arrived with a company of U.S marines along with J.E.B Stuart. The Marines broke the door down with sledge hammers and a make-shift battering-ram. Lieutenant Israel Greene cornered Brown and struck his head with the butt of his rifle several times, injuring him. In three minutes Brown and the survivors were captives. Overall, Brown's men killed four people, and wounded nine. Ten of Brown's men were killed (including his sons Watson and Oliver). Five of Brown's men escaped (including his son Owen), and seven were captured along with Brown. John Brown was later hung along
with John E. Cook, John A. Copeland Jr., Edwin Coppock, and Shields Green.

Statue of John Brown
Statue of John Brown
Impact


After the raid, the South were convinced that they could not live peacefully in the Union any longer. Such violet acts would be a danger to their economy which depended on the slaves and their society as a whole. They were convinced they needed to break away and would soon do so and form the Confederate States of America. This in turn would lead to the Civil War. Many southerners falsely believed that Brown had private funding and aid from the Republican Party which angered them even more. It suggested to the South that the North was now commited to producing a slave insurrection.