The Raid on Harpers Ferry

Raynen Taylor

What Happened?

After the 1858 elections, Southerners began to feel threatened by growing Republican power. In late 1859, an act of violence greatly increased their fears. On October 16 the abolitionists John Brown led 18 men, both whites and African Americans, on a raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

John Brown

Sunday, Oct. 16th 1859 at 12am

Harpers Ferry, Virginia

His target was an arsenal, a storage place for weapons and ammunition. Brown hoped to start a rebellion against slaveholders by arming enslaved African Americans. His raid had been financed by a group of abolitionists.

The Defeat

Brown and his men were quickly defeated by local citizens and federal troops. Brown was convicted of treason and murder and was sentenced to hang. His execution caused an uproar in the North. Writer Ralph Waldo Emerson called Brown a martyr-a person who dies for a great cause.