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On this day in 1859, Abolitionist John Brown and His supporters began their raid on the Federal Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

October 16

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 16 of October, repeating indefinitely

On this day in 1859, abolitionist John Brown and his supporters began their raid on the Federal Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. The group planned to seize the arsenal and free the slaves in town, with the hope that they would join in carrying out an insurrection.

Though Brown was unsuccessful – he and his supporters were captured and/or killed by the militia – the incident indicated how serious tensions over slavery had become. The raid further inflamed sectional differences between North and South, with Americans viewing Brown in turn as a martyr or a terrorist. 😇 👿

Did you know? As Brown approached the gallows, found guilty of treason, he passed his guard a note which read:

“I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.”

In the next few years, his prediction would prove correct.

The Last Moments of John Brown, Thomas Hovenden, c. 1884

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Date:
October 16
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