The Turner Brigade turner3.gif

HOME | ORGANIZATION | ENLIST | NEWS | FEATURES | HISTORY | LINKS

NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO

October of 1859

In October 1859, the nation was shocked by a daring raid on the federal armory in Harper's Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) by the already notorious abolitionist John Brown and an "army" of 16 whites and 5 blacks. Brown planned to incite a slave insurrection, arming the insurgents with muskets from the armory and 950 pikes provided by Northern abolitionist friends. After initial success, the action was quickly put down by local militia and U.S. Marines under the command of U.S. Army Col. Robert E. Lee, rushed there from Washington. Brown was tried and executed for murder, conspiracy and treason. The following is only the first day's reporting on the event, filled with speculation and sometimes wild reports along with several eyewitness accounts. The editorial comments reflect the Republican, anti-slavery leanings of the newspaper.

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, October 19, 1859.

INSURRECTION AT HARPER'S FERRY.

Our dispatches as will be seen, bring us news of a serious difficulty at Harper's Ferry, and that too of such an extraordinary nature, that we are totally as a loss to understand, or gain from them the actual truth of the matter. Though each succeeding dispatch, in its language, points conclusively to fearful results and general consternation in the disturbed district, and extending to Washington, Baltimore, and the surrounding country, yet reviewed carefully, the news presents much that is ambiguous and conflicting and requires to be well weighted before it is credited as a whole.

Click here to read the complete article.

 

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, October 19, 1859.

BY TELEGRAPH.

Insurrection at Harper's Ferry.

INTERESTING, UNINTELLIGIBLE, AND CONFUSED PARTICULARS.

Telegraphic Operators all Agog!

20 WHITES AND 5 FREE NEGROES IN THE FIGHT.

SEVERAL PERSONS KILLED.

ADDITIONAL PARTICULARS.

BALTIMORE, Oct. 17.-The Western train has just arrived, and the officers confirm the statement first received They say the bridge keeper discovered that the lights in the bridge had been extinguished, and when he went to ascertain the cause, he was pursued and fired upon by a gang of blacks and whites.

The colored assistant baggage-master on the train was shot and mortally wounded; Conductor Phelps was threatened, and it was stated that the train should not proceed. He waited till daylight, and was then detained six hours by the mob. He says that the insurrectionists number two hundred whites and blacks. They have full possession of the Armory, and are commanded by a man named Anderson, who lately arrived at Harper's Ferry.

Click here to read the complete article.

 

Back to Turner Brigade Home Page