Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 13, 1945 · 47
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Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · 47

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 13, 1945
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.1 77 TT T T FT TTTf TT TT 0 if f rv tv,JL wit the border the night before election. Settlers from the North refused to abide by this election. They held one of their own. As a result, two rival governments were set up. Soon the attention of the whole country was fixed on "Bleeding . Kansas." President Pierce, who favored the pro-slavery side, eventually sent ' U. S. troops to quell the disturbance and disperse the free-state legislature. A new election was then called and again the Illegal methods of the pro - slavery party won. Takes Lead of Arms To Aid In Struggle When Congress refused to recognize as legal the state constitution adopted by such methods, Kansas was forced to remain a territory. As time went on, the free-state settlers became more numerous, and finally the South had to quit the contest. A new constitution was then drawn up, and on January 29, 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state. Now to return to 1855, and John Brown. . WHEN the boys arrived In Kansas, they quickly discovered that the anti-si .very settlers were desperately in need of arms. Accordingly, John, Jr., wrote his father. John Sr., decided to take the guns out personally, and to stay there himself. ' He collected several hundred dollars from abolitionists, bought some rifles, pistols and old swords, loaded the stuff on a wagon, and set forth with his son-in-law, Henry Thompson. In Chicago, Brown's son Oliver Joined them. They reached Osawatomie on October 7, 1855, only to find almost every member of the family sick. Due to their absorption in the Kansas struggle, the Brown boys had failed to construct proper lodgings. Hardly had old John arrived when the so-called "Wakarusa War" flared up between the free-staters of Lawrence, Kan., and pro-slavery forces. Browa Joined the Lawrence battlers as "Captain of the Liberty Guards," his name for the small contingent from Osawatomie. As matters developed, he exerted more and more Influence; he seemed to regard himself as a sort of divinely-appointed warrior assigned to beat down the enemies of human rights. One Master Stroke Becomes Chief Aim Physically, he fitted the role of a zealot, for he was tall and gaunt, his face deeply lined, his gray eyes by tuns sad and fierce. He was never given to pleasantries, John Brotcn was a serious man, and he had serious work to do. Clash followed clash. On the night of May 24-29 occurred the "Pottawatomie Murders," when Brown's followers slaughtered five defenseless pro-slavery adherents with guns and swords. Gradually old John became the leader of the free-state guerrillas, and his name became the most feared one in the region, even though the slavery forces still had the upper hand. His son Frederick was killed in August, 1856, and two months later Brown, routed by Ruffians and sick of dysentery, quit Kansas and Journeyed to Tabor, in southwest Iowa. There had been setbacks, but he felt far from defeated. He would carry the struggle against slavery directly Into the South. He would seize the government arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Va., arm the grateful slaves, lead them to a Virginia mountain redoubt, and then expand the movement and so harass the slave-holders that slavery would become an Insecure and bankrupt Institution. In Tabor, where the farmers l "St Where 4bofonis Leader Mef General view of Harper ' Ferry, Va., site of the government arsenal which Brown captured end in which he was seized. Kennedy's farm were all abolitionists, Brown made arrangements to establish headquarters. After that he made a fund-raising campaign in Chicago and Boston, visited his family in North Elba, and gradually collected a small group as the nucleus of his future army. The men trained regularly at Springdale, Iowa. Preparations Made For Armed Uprising, Firearms being expensive, and the Negroes unaccustomed to their use. Brown ordered 1,000 pikes from a Collinsvllle (Conn.) blacksmith shop. In May. 1858, old John and his cohorts proceeded to Chatham, Canada, on Lake Erie. This was the northern terminus of the "underground railway," and many free Negroes lived there. Brown held a secret convention, unfolded his plans to raid the South, appealed to the Negroes for help, and formulated a "Provisional Constitution and Ordinances for the People of the United States." - Brown had himself named Commander in Chief. John H. Kagl, a correspondent for the New York Times, aged 24, was made Secretary of War, and various others got posts in the provisional Cabinet. A few weeks later, the ex-shepherd turned up in Kansas and remained there until things quieted down, finally leaving for the East In January. 1859. By now he had grown a beard and was using the name, "Shubel Morgan." In early July, he rented the Kennedy farm, five miles from Harper's Ferry, as a gathering place for men and arms. Great Day Arrives; Arsenal Attacked To allay suspicion, Brown ordered his youngest son, Oliver, to send for the latter's wife, Martha, and his sister, Annie. The girls cooked and acted as lookouts. Eventually, Brown had ii followers at the Kennedy rendezvous. Their average age was 25 years, S months. Five of . them were Negroes, and three of them were sons of old John Oliver, 20; Watson, 23, and Owen, 34. Only one of the group was of foreign birth: Stewart Taylor, 23, a native of Vxbridge, Canada; nearly all were of old American stock. Occasionally the bearded leader shouldered his surveying Instruments and strolled into Harper's Ferry, a town of 3.000. at the confluence of the Potomae and Shenandoah Rivers 55 miles northwest of Washington, D. C. LOT by lot the guns arrived from Tabor in boxes marked Books." In September the pikes arrived from Connecticut. Finally, although many promised recruits had failed to show up. Brown scheduled ' the town by Shenandoah J, JK? i ,r" i-i' .. .j . ,.S gfe i Brown in 7859 Familiar portrait of Brown as he appeared when he came cast to launch his campaign. the raid for midnight and the early hours of Sunday, October 16. . John Brown had no definite plan of campaign. He believed that, once be seized the arsenal, slaves would flock to him by the thousands, and that the movement would be Irresistible. Apparently It never occurred to him that the Negroes had been conditioned for generations so fear their masters, that they would hesitate to Join such a bold undertaking, so evidently doomed to failure. Brown seemed to violate every military principle. He gave only the most general orders to his men. He appointed no definite place for them to retreat to. He fixed no hour , for their withdrawal from Harper's Ferry. He commissioned Owen aa captain and ordered him, with Pvts. Barclay Coppoc. 20, and Francis Jackson Meriam, 21, to remain at the farm, as a rear guard. Some of the rifles and pikes were loaded on a wagon, which old John drove, and the men trudged through the darkness behind the wagon. Capt. John E. Cook. 29, and Capt. Charles P. Tidd. 25, pulled down the telegraph wires, while Aaron Dwight Stevens, 28. and John Kagl captured William Williams, the watchman at the bridge across the Potomac at the Ferry. The raiders arrived at the arsenal gate unnotiond, and seized the watchman there, Daniel Whelan. His Waferoo was in the Kills to the right. Raiders entered the bridge in the foreground. river at left, Potomac et right. Within the next hour or so, some 30 to 100 prisoners were captured, for use as hostages, and numerous slaves were armed and set free. Some of the prisoners slipped away in the confusion, and all the Negroes quickly disappeared. Among the captives was Col. tewis W. lVasfttnffton, great' orandnephew of George Washington, who owned a sword which Frederick the Great of Prussia had given the first President. Brown gmve the sword to one of his Negro followers, Osborn Perry Anderson, 29, to use as a symbol of the new state of the Negro race. Spreading of Alarm . Brines Militiamen AT 1:25 a. m. an eastbound train of the Baltimore It Ohio Railroad halted at the bridge and several trainmen Jumped off to Investigate tin commotion. Among them was the baggage master, Shephard Hayward. a free Nesro. One of the rebels fired and Hay-ward fell dead, the first fatality of the affray. The train finally resumed Its Journey about 6 a. m. Conductor Phelps wired John W. Garrett, head of the B. & O., who notified President James Buchanan in Washington. Meanwhile. Dr. John D. Starry, a Harper's Ferry physician, galloped to Charles-town, the next town, eight miles to the southwest, and aroused the volunteer Jefferson Guards. These militiamen, ununl-formed. arrived about noon, drove back the raiders, and entered the Wager House, a hotel on the Potomac waterfront. Brown retired to the engine house at the armory, where Col. Washington and other prisoners were confined. John Kagl, the best educated of all the raiders, now told his chief that It would be wise to retreat. Brown, expecting the Negroes to rise at any moment, ' would not listen. Raiders Shot Down In Escape Attempt The Brown forces suffered their first loss when Danger-field Newby, 44, a free Negro, was shot to death as he. Oliver Brown, and William Thompson, 28, a brother-in-law of Oliver, headed for the armory after they had been driven from the Shenandoah bridge. Newby's ears were cut into pieces and distributed among the Guards as souvenirs. Old John sent William Thompson to the arsenal with a flag of truce. Thompson was taken prisoner. later, Watson Brown and Stevens were dispatched on a second truce mission. They were wounded by rifle fire, but got back into the engine house. Sunday, passed, and more and more militiamen poured into the Ferry, where most of them got roaring drunk. One of the raiders, William H. Lee- man, 20, tried to escape by swimming trie Potomac Monday, but was shot to death as he reached si tiny Islet. Then Kagi. John A. Cope-land, Jr., 25. a free Negro, and Lewis Sheridan Leary. 24, also a Negro, agreed that they would make as break. Kagl was shot to death in the water, Leary mortally wounded. Copeland was wounded and captured by Dr. Starry, who protected him from lynching, Co. Robert E. Lee Leads U. S. Marines BUT the losses were not all on one side. At 2 p. m., Monday, George W. Turner,-prominent local farmer, was killed as he gunned for the rebels, then another railroad employe named Shepherd died. And about 4 o'clock, Edwin Coppoc, 24, brother of Barclay Coppoc, shot and killed the mayor of Harper's Perry, Fontaine Beckham. This so enraged the crowd that they lynched William Thompson. On Monday evening, three companies of uniformed troops arrived from Frederick, Md. They called upon Brown to give up, but he branished the sword of Frederick the Great and refused. That same- evening, Oliver Brown succumbed to his wounds beside the corpse of Stewart Taylor. Watson Brown died the next day. By Tuesday morning, there were only five men without wounds In the engine house: old John, Edwin Coppoc, Shields Green. S3 - year - old Negro. Jeremiah Goldsmith Anderson. 26. and Dauphin Thompson, 21. brother of William. That day a detachment of Marines, led by Brevet-Col. Robert E. Lee. arrived from Washington. . Lee, who was later to lead the armies of the South, gave Brown until Wednesday noon to surrender. Came Wednesday noon. Lee's ultimatum was delivered by Lt. J. E. B. Stuart, who was to become famous as a Confederate cavalry leader. Brown refused to give up, and Stuart dropped his hat as a signal for the assault, which was carried through very efficiently. Remnant Overcome At Point of Bayonet The troops battered down the engine house door with a ladder, then attacked with bayonets. (They had been ordered not to fire because of the presence of Brown's captives.) One Marine was killed by a bullet from s raider's gun. another was wounded. Lt. Israel Green rushed Brown and stabbed at his chest with a light word, but the blade bent on the rebel's breastbone. Then Green slashed Brown's head several times. Inflicting serious but not mortal wounds. Jeremiah Anderson and Dauphin Thompson were mortally bayoneted. Only a few of Brown's little army managed to escape: Owen Brown, Barclay Coppoc,' Tidd. Meriam, and Osborn Anderson. Lee took as prisoners old John. Stevens. Copeland, Green, and Edwin Coppoc. Captured later were John E. Cook (near Chambersburg, Pa.. October 25) and Albert Hazlett, 22 (In Carlisle, Pa., October 22). John Brown was Indicted at once on three counts: Treason, conspiring with slaves and others to commit treason, and murder In the first degree. Plans for his trial were rushed because it was feared that sympathizers In the North would make an armed effort to rescue the man who had dared so much for the cause In which he had such faith, and for. which he had already sacrl-' Meed three sons. (Th doling vtnli in th life of John Brown will be re-7af in another inrntalment.) (Copyright, Nw BynuuaK Ou.. Inc.), ii

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