Harpers Ferry

   On July 17th 2013, I visited the historic district of Harpers Ferry National Park. Walking around the streets of Harpers Ferry truly made me feel like I had taken a step back in time. Harpers Ferry is most famous for the attempted Slave insurrection by extremist abolitionist John Brown in 1859. John Brown chose this spot to stage his insurrection because it was in the south and it was the home to one of the biggest arsenals in the nation and the mountains surrounding Harpers Ferry offered a great landscape for guerrilla warfare. John Brown launched his attack on October 16th 1859. John Browns attempted slave insurrection was a massive failure and he was eventually trapped with his men in the fire engine house, now known as John Browns fort. The struggle lasted 36 hours before Federal marines, lead by future confederate general Robert E. Lee, was called in finally but an end to the fighting.
            Modern day Harpers Ferry still resembles Harpers Ferry from 1859 with many of the orginal buildings still standing that have been turned into museums about the history of Harpers Ferry. Where the old fire engine house use to stand has a monument dedicated to John Brown and they rebuilt “John Browns Fort” just down the hill. My fellow History on the Movers and I sat in John Browns reconstructed fort and discussed the events of the attempted slave insurrection. While in there I could only imagine the chaos that was going on that faithful night. Men locked in a brick building fighting for a cause they truly believed in. Dr. Farmer-Kaiser made us read run away slave ads while inside the old brick building. As we all read these words describing these slaves it made me further realize the harsh reality of slavery. Not a single one of these of ads described the slaves as people or a person. These words, or lack there of, made me realize why these men so believed that slavery had to come to an end by any means necessary.

David M. Granger

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