Insurrection at Harper's Ferry
Full Text of Article
"Frederick, Md., Oct 17 - An insurrection is reported to have taken place at Harpers [sic] Ferry. An armed band of Abolitionists have full possession of the United States Arsenal, at Harper's Ferry.
"The express train running East was fired into twice and one of the railroad hands, a negro, was killed while trying to get the train through the town.
HARPER'S FERRY, Oct 18 - 3 o'clock, A.M. The conflict on the Bridge was fought mainly by the Railroad Tonnage men, from Martinsburg, led by Captain Alburti. Evan Dorsey, a conductor of the Railroad Company, was killed, and conductors Bowman and Hollett were wounded.
No damage was done to the Railroad or bridge by the rioters.
6 o'clock, A. M. Preparations are now making for the attack on the Armory. The soldiers are posted all around the grounds, and for the last hour everything has been quiet.
George Turner, a graduate of West Point, and one of the most distinguished citizens in this vicinity, was shot yesterday, whilst coming into town. He died during the night. He has a brother living in Baltimore, married into the Patterson family.
Three of the rioters are lying dead in the streets; there are also three in the river, and several are said to be lying within the Armory enclosure.
The following is the list of killed among the citizens and soldiers:--Fountain Beckham; Haywood, a negro porter at the railroad station; Jos. Burney of Harper's Ferry, Evan Dorsey and Gen. Richardon, of Waterbury.
The rioters have just sent out a flag of truce, saying that if they are not protected by the soldiers here at present, they will hang all they capture.
The Armory Stormed.
Harper's Ferry, October 18 - 8 o'clock - The armory has just been stormed and taken, after a determined resistance.
Col. Shutt approached with a flag of truce and demanded the surrender of the armory--After expostulating for some time, the rioters refused.
The Marines then advanced and make a charge, endeavoring to break open the door with sledge hammers, but it resisted all their effort.
A large ladder was then used as a battering ram, and the door gave way. The rioters fired briskly and shot three of the Marines who exchanged shots through the partly broken door. The Marines then forced their way through the break, and in a few minutes all resistance was at an end.
The rioters were brought out amidst the most intense excitement, many of the armed militia present trying to get an opportunity to shoot them.
Captain Brown and his son were both shot; the latter is dead and the former dying. He lies in the armory enclosure. He talks freely, and says that he is the old Ossawattomie Brown whose feats in Kansas have had such wide notice. He says his whole object was to free the slaves and justifies his actions; says that he had possession of the town and could have murdered all the people.
J. G. Anderson was also shot down in the assault. He was from Connecticut. The dead body of a man shot yesterday was found within the armory.
Brown declared that there were none engaged in the plot but those who accompanied him.
The prisoners are retained within the armory enclosure.
Flight of the Insurgents--Troops to Be Dispatched in Pursuit.
Harper's Ferry, Oct. 18--Noon--Soon after storming the Armory, four dead bodies of the insurgents that were shot yesterday, were found within the enclosure. Captain Brown and his son are dangerously wounded.
Soon after the assault on the Armory, some firing took place from the hills on the Maryland shore, supposed to be a "parting salute" from Cook and his party, who left on Monday morning. The fire was returned with a general volley, but both parties were too distant to do damage.
A company of volunteers were sent in pursuit of the fugitives.
There are probably a thousand armed men congregated here. Reinforcements have been pouring in all night, from all parts of the surrounding country.
Only two of the insurrectionists are unwounded, with Edwin Coppick, white, from Iowa, and Shields Green, colored, also from Iowa.
The party originally consisted of twenty-two persons; of whom fifteen are killed, two mortally wounded, two unhurt, and three escaped with the slaves on Monday morning.
Description of the Engagement by an Eye Witness.
Baltimore, Oct 18--An eye witness who has returned from Harper's Ferry, describes the scenes there as follows:
The first attack was made by a detachment of the Charleston [sic] Guards, who crossed the Potomac River above Harper's Ferry, and reached by the canal on the Maryland side. Smart firing occurred, and the rioters were driven from the bridge. One man was killed here and another arrested. The latter ran out and tried to escape by swimming the river. A dozen shots were fired after him. He partially fell, but rose again, and threw his gun away, drew his pistols, both of which snapped, drew his Bowie knife, and cut all heavy accouterments off, and plunged into the river. One of the soldiers was about ten feet behind. The man turned round, threw up his handsm and cried, "Don't shoot." The soldier fired, and the man fell into the water with his face blown away. His coat skirts were cut from his person, and in the pockets was found a Captain's commission to Capt. T. H. Leeman from the provisional government of the United States. The commission was dated October 15, 1859, and signed A.W. Brown, Commander-in-Chief of the Provisional Government of the United States.
A party of five of the insurgents, armed with Minie [sic] Rifles, and posted in the Rifle Armory were expelled by the Charlestown Guards. They all ran for the river, and one who was unable to swim was drowned. The other four swam out to the rocks in the middle of the Shenandoah, and fired upon the citizens and troops assembled upon both banks. This drew upon them the muskets of between two and three hundred men, and not less than four hundred shots were fired at them from Harper's Ferry--about 200 yards distant. One was shot dead, the second, a negro, attempted to jump over the dam, but fell shot, and was not seen afterwards; the third was badly wounded, and the remaining one was taken unharmed. The white insurgent wounded and captured, died in a few moments after, in the arms of our informant. He was shot through the breast, arm and stomach. He declared there were only nineteen whites engaged in this insurrection.
For nearly an hour, running and random firing was kept up by the troops against the rioters. Several were shot down, while many managed to limp away wounded.
During the firing the women and children ran shrieking in every direction, but when they learned that the soldiers were their protectors, they took courage and did good service in the way of preparing refreshments and attending the wounded.
Our informant, who was on the hill when the firing was going on, says all the terrible scenes of battle passed in reality beneath his eyes. Soldiers could be seen pursuing singly and in couples, and the crack of the musket and rifle was generally followed by one or more of the insurgents biting the dust. The dead lay in the streets where they fell. The wounded were cared for.
Captain Brown's wounds consist of a sword cut in the forehead, and a bayonet wound in the kidneys.
Another of the rioters killed was named S. Taylor.
J. C. Anderson, a ringleader, who stopped conductor Phelps yesterday, was killed in the first attack by the Virginians. Anderson was a fine looking man, with a flowing white beard.
Some of the Maryland Volunteers are in pursuit of Captain Cook's party.
A body of forty men, mounted, left this afternoon for Harper's Ferry, to pursue the rioters. It is reported that many of them have escaped and are secreted in the mountains. A negro named Green, who was conspicuous in the fugitive slave riot at Harrisburg some years ago, was among the insurgents.
Interesting Details--Capt. Brown and His Recent Movement--The Other Leaders--Commencement of the Insurrection--Departure of Cook for Pennsylvania.
Baltimore, Oct 18--The following interesting narrative of the recent events at Harper's Ferry, is gleaned from the report of the editor of the American, who accompanied the troops from this city and returned this evening.
The principal originator of the short but bloody existence of this insurrection was, undoubtedly, Capt Jno. Brown whose connection with the scenes of violence in the border warfare of Kansas, then made his name familiarly notorious to the whole country. Brown made his first appearance in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry more than a year ago, accompanied by his two sons, the whole party assuming the name of Smith. He inquired about land in the vicinity, and made investigations about the probability of finding ores, and for some time boarded at Sandy Point, a mile east of the Ferry. After an absence of some months he reappeared in the vicinity, and the elder Brown rented or leased a farm on the Maryland side about four miles from the Ferry. They bought a large number of picks and spades, and this confirmed the belief that they intended to mine for ores. They were seen frequently in and about Harper's Ferry, but no suspicion seems to have existed that "Bill Smith" was Captain Brown, or that he intended embarking in any movement so desperate or extraordinary. Yet the development of the plot leaves no doubt that his visits to the Ferry, and his lease of the farm were all parts of his preparation for the insurrection, which he supposed would be successful in exterminating slavery in Maryland and Western Virginia.
Brown's chief aid was John E. Cook, a comparatively young man, who had resided in and near the Ferry for some years. He was first employed in tending a lock on the Canal, afterwards taught School on the Maryland side of the river, and after a brief residence in Kansas, where it is supposed he became acquainted with Brown, returned to the Ferry and married there. He was regarded as a man of some intelligence, known to be anti-slavery, but not so violent in the expression of his opinions as to excite any suspicions. These two men, with Brown's two sons, were the only white men connected with the insurrection that had been seen previously about the Ferry. All were brought by Brown from a distance, and nearly all had been with him in Kansas.
The first active movement in the insurrection was made about half past ten o'clock on Sunday night. William Williamson, the watchman on the Harper's Ferry bridge whilst walking across towards the Maryland side was seized by a number of men who said he was their prisoner and must come with them. He recognized Brown and Cook among the men, and knowing them, he treated the matter as a joke, but enjoining silence, they conducted him to the armory, which he found already in their possession. He was retained till after daylight and then discharged. The watchman who was to relieve Williamson at midnight, found the bridge lights all out and was immediately seized. Supposing it an attempt at robbery he broke away and his pursuers stumbling over, he escaped.
The next appearance of the insurrectionists was at the house of Col. Lewis Washington, a large farmer and slave-owner, living about four miles from the Ferry. A party, headed by Cook, proceeded there, aroused Colonel W. and told him he was their prisoner. They also seized all the slaves near the house, and took the carriage and horse and a large wagon with two horses. When Col. Washington saw Cook, he immediately recognized him as a man who had called upon him some months previous, to whom he had exhibited some valuable arms in his possession, including an antique sword presented by Frederick the Great to Gen. George Washington, and a pair of pistols presented by Gen. Lafayette to Washington, both being heirlooms in the family. Before leaving, Cook challenged Colonel Washington to a trial of skill at shooting, and exhibited considerable certainty as a marksman. When he made his visit on Sunday night he alluded to his previous visit and the courtesy with which he had been treated and regretted the necessary which made it his duty to arrest Col. W. He, however, took advantage of the knowledge he obtain by his former visit, to carry off all the valuable collection of arms, which Col. W. did not reobtain till after the final defeat of the insurrection. From Col. Washington's the party proceeded with him as a prisoner, in his own carraige [sic], and twelve of his negroes in the wagon, to the house of Mr. Allstadt, another large farmer, on the same road. Mr. A. and his son, a lad of 16 years of age were taken prisoners, and all the negroes within reach being forced to join the movement, they returned to the armory at the Ferry. All these movements seem to have been made without exciting the slightest alarm in the town, nor did the detention of Captain Phelps' train at the upper end of the town attract attention. It was not till the town thoroughly waked [sic] up and found the bridge guarded by armed men, and a guard stationed at all the avenues, that the people found they were prisoners. A panic appears to have immediately ensued, and the number of the insurrectionists at once increased from fifty (which was probably their greatest force, including the slaves who were forced to join them,) to from 500 to 600.
In the meantime a number of workmen knowing nothing of what had occurred, entered the Armory and were successively taken prisoners, until they had at one time not less than sixty men confined in the Armory. Among those thus entrapped were Armistead Ball, Chief Draughtsman of the Armory; Benjamin Mills, Master of the Armory, and J. E. P. Dangerfield, Pay Master's Clerk. These three gentlemen were imprisoned in the engine house (which afterwards became the chief fortress of the insurgents) and were not released till after the final assault. The workmen were imprisoned in the large building father down the yard, and were rescued by a brilliant Zouave dash, made by the Railroad Company's men, who came down from Martinsburg. This was the condition of affairs at daylight, about which time Captain Cook, with two white men, and accompanied by thirty negroes, and taking with them Colonel Washington's large wagon, went over the bridge and struck up the mountain on the road toward Pennsylvania.
It was then believed that the large wagon was used to convey away the Paymaster's safe, containing $18,000 Government funds, and also that it was filled with Minnie rifles, taken out to supply other bands in the mountains, who were to come down on Harper's Ferry in overwhelming force. These suppositions both proved untrue, as neither money nor arms were disturbed. The news spread around, and the people came into the Ferry, the first demonstrations of resistance were made to the insurrectionists. A general warfare commenced, chiefly led by a man named Chambers, whose house commanded the Armory yard.
The colored, man, Hayward, a railroad porter, was shot early in the morning, for refusing to join the movement. The next man shot was Joseph Burley, a citizen of the Ferry. He was shot standing in his own door. About this time Samuel P. Young, Esq., was killed while coming into town on horseback. The insurrectionists by this time, finding a general disposition to resist them, had nearly all withdrawn within the armory grounds, leaving only a guard on the bridge. About noon the Charlestown troops, under command of Colonel Robert Baylor, having crossed the river some distance up, and marched down on the Maryland side to the mouth of the bridge, firing a volley, they made a gallant dash across the bridge, clearing it of the insurrectionists, who retreated rapidly down towards the armory. In this movement one of the insurrectionists, Wm. Thompson was taken prisoner.
The Shepardstown troops next arrived, marching down the Shenandoah side and joining the Charlestown force at the bridge. A desultory exchange of shots followed, one of which struck Mr. Fountain Beckham, Mayor of the town and agent of the Railroad Company, in the breast, passing entirely through his body. The ball was a large elongated slug, making a dreadful wound. He died almost immediately. Beckham was without arms and was exposed only for a moment whilst approaching the water station. His assailant, one of Brown's sons, was shot almost immediately, but managed to get back into the engine house, where his dead body was found to-day. The murder of Mr. Beckham excited the populace, and a cry was immediately made to bring out the prisoner Thompson. He was brought out on the bridge and shot down from the bridge. He fell into the water, and some appearance of life still remaining, he was again riddled with balls.
Sharp fighting ensued, and at this time a general charge was made down the street from the bridge towards the Armory gate, by the Charlestown and Shepardstown troops and the Ferry people from behind the Armory wall. A fusillade was kept and returned by the insurrectionists from the Armory building. Whilst this was going on the Martinsburg levies arrived at the upper end of the town, and entering the Armory grounds by the rear, made an attack from that side. This force was largely composed of railroad employees, gathered from the tonnage trains at Martinsburg, and their attack was generally spoken of as showing the greatest amount of fighting pluck exhibited during the day.
Dashing on, firing and cheering, and gallantly led by Capt. Alburstis they carried the building in which the armory men were imprisoned and released the whole of them. They were, however, but poorly armed, some with pistols and others with shot guns, and when they came within range of the engine house, where the elite of the insurrectionists were gathered, and became exposed to their rapid and dexterous use of Sharpe's rifles, they were forced to fall back, suffering pretty severely. Conductor Evan Dorsey, of Baltimore, was killed instantly, and Conductor George Richardson received a wound from which he died during the day. Several others were wounded among them a son of Dr. Hammond, of Martinsburg.
A guerrilla warfare was maintained the rest of the day, resulting in killing two insurrectionists, and the wounding of a third. One crawled out through the culvert leading into the Potomac, and attempted to cross to the Maryland side, whether to escape or to convey information to Cook is not known. He was shot while crossing the river, and fell dead on the rocks. An adventurous lad waded out and secured his Sharpe's rifle, and his body was afterwards stripped of a portion of its clothing. In one of his pockets was found a Captain's commission drawn up in full form and declaring that the bearer, Capt. Lehman, held that command under Major Gen. Brown.
A light mulatto was shot just outside the armory gate. The ball went through his throat, tearing away all the great arteries, and killing him instantly. He name is not known but he was one of the free negroes who came with Brown. His body was left exposed in the street up to noon yesterday, to every indignity that could be heaped upon it by the excited populace. At this time a tall, powerful man, named Evan Stephans, came out from the armory, conducting some prisoners, it was said, and was shot twice in the side and breast. He was captured and taken to a tavern, and after the insurrection was quelled, was turned over to the United States authorities, in a dying condition.
During the afternoon, a sharp little affair took place on the Shenandoah side of the town. The insurrectionists had also seized Hall's Rifle works, and a party of their assailants found their way in through the mill race, and dislodged them. In this encounter, it was said, three of the insurrectionists were killed, but we found but one dead body--that of a negro--on that side of the town.
Night, by this time, had set in, and the operations ceased. Guards were placed around the Armory, and every precaution taken to prevent escapes.
Arrival of the Baltimore Military.
At eleven o'clock on Monday night, the train with the Baltimore military and the marines arrived at Sandy Hook, where they waited for the arrivals of Col. Lee who was deputised by the War Department to take command.
Aaron Stephens, a wounded prisoner, said he was a native of Connecticut, but had lived in Kansas, where he knew Captain Brown. He had also served in the United States Army. The sole object of the attempt, he said, was to give the negroes freedom, and Brown had represented that as soon as they seized the Armory the negroes would flock to them by thousands, and would soon have force enough to accomplish their purpose--one for which he would sacrifice his life. But he thought Brown had been greatly deceived. He said preparations had been made for some months for the movement, but the whole force consisted of seventeen white men and five free negroes.
This statement was repeated without variation by all the prisoners with whom we conversed. All agreed as to the number of persons engaged in the movement and as to its object, which some of them called the work of philanthropy.
Lewis Leary, a negro, who was shot at the rifle mill, stated, before he died, that he enlisted with Captain Brown, for the insurrection, at a fair held in Lorraine county, Ohio, and received money to pay his expenses. They all came down to Chambersburg, Pa., and from there traveled across the country to Brown's farm.
Besides Capt. Brown, the prisoners taken are his son, who is seriously wounded in the abdomen, and is not likely to live; Edward Cuppuck, who belongs to Iowa, and a negro named Shields Green, who came from Pittsburgh to join Brown.
The stories of these men are precisely alike. They agree as to the objects they proposed to accomplish, and the number of persons engaged in the movement. Young Brown, in answer to a question, said there were parties in the North connected with the movement, thus differing from his father on this point.
Coppuck [sic], the other white prisoner, is quite young, and seems less shrewd than the others. He said he did not wish to join the expedition; and when asked gave a reply which showed the influence which Brown had over him. He said: "Ah! You gentlemen don't know Capt. Brown. When he calls for us, we never think of refusing to come."
Several slaves were found in the room with the insurrectionists, but it is not believed they were there willingly. Indeed, Brown's expectation as to the slaves rushing to him, was entirely disappointed. None seem to have come to him willingly, and in most cases were forced to desert their masters.
But one instance in which the slaves made a public appearance with arms in their hands, is related. A negro who had been sharply used by one of the town's people, when he found that he had a pike in his hand, used his brief authority to arrest the citizen and have him taken to the armory.
Treatment of the Prisoners.
The citizens imprisoned by the insurrectionists all testify to their lenient treatment. They were neither tied nor insulted, and beyond the outrage of restricting their liberty, were not ill used. Captain Brown was always courteous to them, at all times assured them that they should not be injured. He explained his purposes to them, and whilst he had the workmen in confinement, made no abolition speech to them.
Col. Washington speaks of him as a man of extraordinary nerve. He never blanched during the assault, though he admitted through the night, that escape was impossible, and he would have to die. When the door was broken down, one of his men exclaimed, "I surrender!" The Captain immediately cried out, "there's one surrenders, give him quarter!" and at the same moment fired his rifle at the door.
During the previous night, he spoke freely with Col. Washington, and referred to his sons. He said he had lost one in Kansas, and two here. He had not pressed them to join him in the expedition, but did not regret their loss. They had died in a glorious cause.
The position of the prisoners in the engine house during the firing on Monday, and at the moment of the final attack, was a very trying one. Without any of the incentives of combat, they had to risk the balls of their friends, but happily they all escaped. At the moment when the doors were broken in, the prisoners, at the suggestion of Col Washington, threw up their hands, so that it might be seen they were not combatants.
Seizure of Arms.
During Wednesday morning, one of Col Washington's negroes came in and reported that Capt. Cook was in the mountain, only three miles off. About the same time some shots were said to have been fired from the Maryland hills, and a rapid fusilade [sic] was returned from Harper's Ferry. The Independent Greys of Baltimore immediately started on a scouting expedition, and in two hours returned with two wagons loaded with arms and amunition [sic] found at Captain Brown's house. The arms consisted of boxes filled with Sharpe's rifles, pistols, &c., bearing the stamp of the Massachusetts Manufacturing Co., Chicopee, Massachusetts. There were found a quantity of U. S. ammunition, a large number of spears, sharp iron bowie knives fixed upon poles, a terrible looking weapon, intended for the use of the negroes, with spades, pickaxes, shovels and everything that might be needed, thus proving that the expedition was well provided for, that a large party of men were expected to be arms, and that abundant means had been provided to meet all expenses.
How all these supplies were got up to this farm without attracting observation is strange. They are supposed to have been brought through Pennsylvania. The Greys pursued Cook so fast that they secured part of his arms, but with his more perfect knowledge of localities, he was enabled to evade them. On their arrival at the Ferry with their spoils, they were greeted with hearty cheers. The wagons were driven into the custody of the Government. As every body else helped themselves, why should not the Greys have a claim to the spoils.
The insurrectionists did not attempt to rob the Pay Master's department at the armory. A large amount of money was there but it was not disturbed.
Perfect order having been restored the military, with the exception of the U. S. Marines who remained in charge of the prisoners, left in the various trains for their homes. An immense train brought the Baltimore troops home, accompanied by the Frederick troops to the junction, with that freedom from accident or detention, characteristic of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
Baltimore, Oct 19
The following important intelligence from Harper's Ferry has just been received. Last evening a detachment of marines, accompanied by some of the volunteers, made a visit to Capt. Brown's house. The first visit was to the school house, and not Brown's residence, as supposed yesterday. They found a large quantity of blankets, boots, shoes, clothes, tents, fifteen hundred pikes with large blades affixed, and also discovered documents throwing much light on the affair. Among them are the printed constitution and by-laws of the organization, showing or indicating a ramification throughout the various States of the Union, and they also found letters from various individuals from the North--one of Fred. Douglas, containing ten dollars for the cause--also a letter from Gerret Smith about the matter, and a check or draft by him for $200, endorsed by the cashier of a New York bank, whose name is not recollected. All these documents are in the possession of Gov. Wise. The Governor has issued a proclamation offering $1,000 reward for the capture of Cook. A large number of armed men are now scouring the mountains in pursuit of him. The following is the anonymous letter received by Gov. Floyd, of which mention has been made:
Cincinnati, Aug. 20, 1859
Sir: I have lately received information of a movement of so great importance that I feel it to be my duty to impart it to you without delay. I have discovered the existence of a select association having for its object the liberation of the slaves at the South by a general insurrection. The leader of the movement is old John Brown, late of Kansas. He has been in Canada during the winter, drilling the negroes there, and they are only waiting his word to start for the South to assist the slaves. They have one of their leading men (a white man) in an armory in Maryland, where it is situated I have not been able to learn. As soon as everything is ready, those of their number who are in the northern States and Canada are to come in small companies to their rendezvous, which is in the mountains in Virginia. They will pass down through Pennsylvania and Maryland and enter Virginia at Harper's Ferry. Brown left the North about three of four weeks ago, and will arm the negroes and strike the blow in a few weeks; so that whatever is done must be done at once. They have a large quantity of arms at their rendezvous, and probably distributing them already. As I am not fully in their confidence, this is all the information I can give you. I dare not sign my name to this, but trust that you will not disregard the warning on that account."
Sometime during yesterday morning the O'Reilley line repairer, whilst repairing the line between Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg, was shot at by Capt. Cook himself, whom he recognized.
The following is the number of killed and wounded during the recent insurrection; Killed, five citizens, fifteen insurgents. Wounded, three insurgents; prisoners five insurgents.
The prisoners have been committed to Charlestown jail to await the action of the grand jury, when they will be indicted and tried in a few days. The arrangement about the jurisdiction has been settled in this way. The local authorities are to try the prisoners for murder, and in the meanwhile the United States authorities will proceed on the charge of treason. Gov. Wise said to Mr. Oulds, the United States District Attorney, that he had no objection to the General Government proceeding against the prisoners--that is, what will be left of them by the time the Virginia authorities are done with them. Brown is better to-day, and has made a full confession of his operations.
Letter from Gerrit Smith to Captain John Brown.
Petersboro, June 4 '59.--Capt. John Brown--My Dear Friend: I wrote you a week ago, directing my letter to care of Mr. Kearney. He replied informing me that he had forwarded the letter to Washington. But as Mr. Morton received last evening a letter from Mr. Sanborn saying your address would be to your son's home, viz: West Andover, I therefore write you without delay, and direct my letter to your son. I have done what I could thus far for Kansas, and what I could to keep you at your Kansas work. Losses by endorsements and otherwise have brought me under heavy embarrassments the last two years, but I must continue to do in order to keep you at your Kansas work. I send you herewith my draft for $200. Let me hear from you on the receipt of this letter. You live in our hearts, and our prayer to God is, that you may have strength to continue in your Kansas work. My wife joins me in affectionate regard to you, dear John, whom we both hold in very high esteem.
I suppose you put the Whitman note into Mr. Kearney's hands. It will be a great shame if Whitman does not pay it. What a noble man is Mr. Kearney ! How liberally he has contributed to keep you in your Kansas work!- - Your friend, "GERRIT SMITH."
On the back of this letter is endorsed - "Gerrit Smith answered June 17th and enclosed E. B. Whitman's note and H. Tubman's receipt."
Description of "Captain" John E. Cook.
Baltimore, Oct 20--The following description of "Captain" Cook, one of the leaders of the recent insurrection at Harper's Ferry, for the arrest of whom $1000 reward is offered, stands five feet four inches to give feet six inches in hight; [sic] weighs 132 pounds; walks with his breast projecting forward, and head leaning toward the right; has light hair, with a small growth around the upper lip; has a sallow complexion, and sharp, narrow face.
Baltimore, Oct 20--In a conversation held with Capt Brown yesterday, in the presence of Senator Mason, Hon. Messrs. Faulkner, Vallan- [illegible] and others, he made several answers which clearly demonstrate the complicity of numerous persons in the Northern, Western and Eastern States. He refused to answer the question whether he had had a conference with Gilldings, on Ohio, about his Virginia expedition. He admitted that he had correspondence with parties at the North on the subject, and had numerous sympathizers in all the free States.
No Page Information Available
No Page Information Available
The Harper's Ferry Rioters Canonized
Full Text of Article
There is a significance in these remarks from the Tribune:
"Never before was such an uproar raised by twenty men as by Old Brown and his confederates in this deplorable affair. There will be enough to heap execration on the memory of these mistaken men. We leave this work to the fit hands and tongues of those who regard the fundamental axioms of the Declaration of Independence as 'glitering [sic] generalities.' Believing that the way to Universal Emancipation lies not through insurrection, civil war and blood shed, but through peace, discussion, and the quiet diffusion of sentiments of humanity and justice, we deeply regret this outbreak; but, remembering that, if their fault was grievous, grievously have they answered it. We will not, by one reproachful word, disturb the bloody shrouds wherein (John Brown and) his compatriots are sleeping. They dared and died for what they felt to be the right, though in a manner which seems to us fatally wrong. Let their epitaphs remain unwritten until the not distant day when no slave shall clank his chains in the shades of Monticello, or by the graves of Mount Vernon."
Pathetic Tribune! How the very cockles of its heart seems stirred at the fate of those "mistaken men!" What [illegible] hands of superior workmen? Posterity will take care of their memories, regretful Tribune; they are already embalmed in the hearts of those who seek an anti-slavery Bible and an anti-slavery God.
Considerate Tribune! How carefully has it ever refrained from exciting ignorance to deeds of violence, in order that its cherished plans might be consummated! How anxious, always, to preserve a spirit of harmony in trying times when the Union was agitated with fears of civil war! How uniformly cautious not to approve of blood-shed in the settlement of troubling questions! How fearful lest an allusion to rifles should surreptitiously creep into its peace-teeming columns!
Heart-broken Tribune! you shall write the epitaphs of the martyrs whose manner of death was so fatally wrong. Who so well fitted for the task of decking the tomb as the nurse who rocked the cradle?--Pennsylvanian.
The Insurrection at Harper's Ferry
Full Text of Article
The following is a portion of a detailed and circumstantial account of the late insurrection at Harper's Ferry, furnished by the special reporter of the Baltimore Exchange:
When the marines brought out their prisoners an immense cry of "hang them" filled the air, and young men with rifles jumped from the walls and the bridge into the armory yard, and were pressing to where they were, fully intent on killing them, but the marines were ordered to protect them, and drive back those who were eager for their blood. The bodies of the dead and dying men where [sic] brought out and laid on the grass, but it was impossible to keep the crowd back. Captain Brown told the crowd not to maltreat him, that he was dying, and that he would soon be beyond all injury. Major Russell had him conveyed into a room of one of the department, and kindly ordered all attention to be paid him. Brown looked up, and recognizing Major Russell said, "You entered first. I could have killed you, but I spared you." In reply to which the Major bowed and said, "I thank you."
Major Russell kindly admitted me to the room where Brown was lying, and I held the following conversation with him. I asked--
What is your name--where were you born, and how old are you?"
"My name is John Brown. I am well known. I have been known as Old Brown of Kansas. I'm from Litchfield county; Connecticut, and have lived in divers [sic] places. Two of my sons were killed here to-day, and I'm dying too. I come here to liberate slaves, and was to recieve [sic] no reward. I have acted from a sense of duty, am contented to await my fate, but I think the crowd have treated me badly. I'm an old man, and yesterday I could have killed whom I chose, but I had no desire to kill any person, and would not have killed a man had they not tried to kill me and my men. I could have sacked and burned the town, but did not. I have treated the persons who I took as hostages kindly, and I appeal to them for the truth of what I say. I am sixty-three years old."
Reporter--"When did you first conceive this move?"
Brown--"While in Kansas. After my property was destroyed, one of my sons killed, and my happiness destroyed by the slave party of Kansas, I determined to be revenged. I also was moved in this matter by a hope to benefit the negroes."
Reporter--"Where did you get all your rifles and the pikes which are here? Who furnished you with them?"
Brown--"My own money. I did not receive aid from any man. Cook is not a son of mine. If I had succeeded in running off slaves this time, I could have raised twenty times as many men as I have now, for a similar expedition. But I have failed. I did not intend to stay here so long, but they (the citizens) deceived me by proposing compromises which they had no intention of carrying out. I am not in any man's employ."
Brown complained that the crowd who were clamorous for his blood were treating him unkindly and unfairly, after the kindness and leniency he had shown the citizens and the town. He also said that he was fully convinced that he was dying in a righteous cause. It is not however, propable [sic] that he will die until he has been tried by a jury, as the only wound he sustained is a cut across the head with a sabre. The sum of four hundred and eighty dollars was found on his person, which was placed with the paymaster for safe keeping.
Ed. Copie states that he is from Iowa. He made the aquaintance [sic] of Brown last winter in Iowa, where Brown told him of this scheme and asked him to join the expedition. Copie states as follows: - "We were to be well paid for our time and trouble. We never made a direct bargain as to how much we were to receive. Old man Brown was not to pay us, but I don't know who was. The rifles were furnished by the Massachusetts Aid Society. They were first sent to Kansas but the excitement having died away, they were of no use, and Brown got the rifles for this ex-(illegible) Chambersburg, Franklin county; they were then hauled from there to Brown's house by a man who lives in Greencastle. I don't know who made the pikes or picks I have said all the prayers I have to say, and am ready to die."
The negro's name is Gains. He says he lived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and that Brown had induced him to come over to Maryland and work for him; that he did so and was induced to go into the insurrection.
Gains is a bad fellow, and no truth in him. He told several palpable lies while telling his story.
The prisoners were in the hands of the marines. After they had been taken, the Independent Grays, Capt. B. L. Simson, heard that Capt. Cook, with other insurgents, were over in Maryland. They proceeded to the spot designated, and found the arms and other articles which had been removed from the armory, together with the wagons and horses. They returned with them to the Ferry. A large number of persons are out on horseback, hunting for Cook and his companions.
The little wagon which Brown brought with him was found in the armory yard. It contained pikes, picks, shovels, kindling bark saturated with fluid, and a number of whistles of peculiar construction, which when sounded give forth a strange trilling note.
Full Text of Article
Washington, Oct. 23--Gov. Wise, in his Richmond speech, says he has a bushel of Capt. Brown's correspondence, but not all of it. A carpet bag full was taken to Baltimore, and improperly used. The letters in his possession proved that prominent men at the North were implicated in the affair. "Whether our sister States in the North will allow such men to remain among them unrebuked or unpunished remains to be seen. If any one should smuggle off Gerrett Smith some night, and bring him to me, I would read him a moral lecture, and then send him back home." He had remained at Harper's Ferry to prevent the application of lynch law in Virginia. There was no question of jurisdiction to be settled, as he made up his mind fully, and after determining that the prisoners should be tried in Virginia, he would not have obeyed an order to the contrary from the President of the United States.
A Colored Military Company Disbanded
Full Text of Article
Philadelphia, Oct. 22--E. C. Wilson, Adjutant General of the State of Pennsylvania, has taken forty muskets which were in possession of the colored military company that paraded in this city a few months since.
Markets in column 5. Married and deaths too dark to make out.
Insurrection at Harper's Ferry
Full Text of Article
In the present issue of our paper will be found full and accurate details of the recent Abolition insurrection at Harper's Ferry. This attempt to subvert the Government of the United States by a handful of crazy fanatics may seem ridiculous, and hardly worthy of serious attention for a moment. But there is another light in which the matter is to be viewed and one that presents a more alarming aspect. This outbreak is only the beginning--the foreshadowing of more serious troubles. That an extensive organization exists, in various States, to overthrow the Government by means of a general and servile insurrection there can no longer be a doubt. The frustration of this rash beginning has not by any means broken up the organization. It will only have the effect to make the conspirators more cautious in their working, and more desperate and determined in their next attempt. It is only necessary to trace the visible footprints of the insurgents to be convinced that the conspiracy has a more wide-spread existence than people are generally disposed to believe. We find the marauders of Kansas the active men in the plot--the same men, the same means, and the same arms, used in that war, have been brought into requisition in this outbreak. It is only a renewal of the Kansas trouble in the heart of our country--brought home to our own doors. All the treasonable machinery of that war have been put in operation to shock the moral sense and excite the fear of our community with horrid tales of rapine and murder at our own firesides.--Where the awful responsibility for this state of things rest the people can no longer be so blinded by their political prejudices, as not to see--With the evidence now before them they must be considered willfully blind, hereafter, if they do not repudiate the party whose seditious principles have sown the seed of this insurrection broad-cast over the land.
It is not, however, at this time, of the general character, or political tendencies of the insurrection that we wish to speak. Our community has by some means, of which we were entirely unaware, become mixed up with this insurrection. While we were harbouring, for months these desperadoes among us we do not believe that a single one of our white citizens was in any way connected with them, or even suspected their designs. In regard to our blacks it is believed that a portion of them knew the object of these men, were associated with them, and would have joined them if successful. There is no sympathy in this community for the fugitives, and if any of them should come this way they will receive no assistance or protection from any of our citizens. It is the sentiment of one and all, in this community, to have the outlaws arrested and receive that punishment which their crimes demand.
The first trace we can find of these men among us was in the month of July last. They were doubtless here previous to that time. Old Brown, passing by the name of Smith, and a couple of men he called his sons. A man by the name of John Henrie, who Brown on one occasion said was his son, was also among the first comers and was the last to leave. This man is among the killed by the name of "Capt. Kagi." Mrs. Cook, wife of Col. John E. Cook, gave us the information that this man's name was John Henrie Kagi, and that he had been one of Brown's men in Kansas. Large quantities of arms, and munitions of war, were received at our warehouses, from time to time, upon which Brown paid the freight, which in some instances amounted to seventy dollars.-- Some of the boxes containing Sharps Rifles came through from Kansas, and other freight from Connecticut. The lance handles were shipped from that State. Henrie remained here pretty much all the time superintending affairs. [Line illegible] at a time, or merely passing through to Harrisburg, or other points. While here he transacted business through our Bank having had several drafts cashed on New York. He was here at the time Fred Douglas lectured and was in the Hall that night with Henrie and several others of the party. Our citizens had little idea how strongly Fred Douglas was backed up on that occasion. Brown had no doubt an interview with Douglas at the time and the object of Douglas' visit to the place is now fully explained. Henrie was with Douglas at the house of the colored man at which Douglas stopped. When Douglas left he gave out that he would return in October, about the time the outbreak took place. It is quite likely he will postpone his visit now to the great disapointment [sic] of some of his admirers here! The last time Brown was known to have been in this place was on the 7th of October, when he brought the wife of Col. John E. Cook here and left her at a private boarding house. The man Henrie (Kagi) was the last of the gang known to have been here. He left for Harper's Ferry on Friday the 14th just in time to meet his just doom. Brown or Henrie do not seem to have made the acquaintance of any of our white citizens while among us, though it is known they were intimate with some of our negroes.
The whole number of white men engaged in the insurrection were no doubt sojourners with us at different times during the summer. Nine white men and two negroes can be identified as having been here. Brown and his two sons, Henrie, Leeann, Tided, Mermaid, Taylor and Coppice, were well known by name in the neighborhood where they boarded. Other strangers of whose appearance we have a full description were also seen in their company--The negro called "Emperor of New York"--taken prisoner is said to be the black man who was upon the stage with Douglas the night he lectured in this place. He did not go back with Douglas and was not seen in this place afterwards. Brown frequently visited here with a horse and wagon. The man called Tidd was also here at one time for freight with a mule and wagon. Merriam was here a week or ten days before the outbreak. He was very active in writing letters, and telegraphing to different points. Some of his dispatches to Boston cost him as much as $6. He hired a horse and buggy and in company with Henrie, it is supposed, visited Harper's Ferry. He returned and left in the cars. This man was not at the Ferry at the time of the insurrection.
It is not known whether Cook ever visited this place previous to the insurrection. There is a rumor afloat that he was here sometime ago and stopped at the house of a colored man. The general impression here is that if Cook ever visited this place it was very privately and under an assumed name. It cannot be recollected by the persons who have been observing these men that any one answering to the description given of Cook was noticed among them. His wife has been boarding in this place for the past two weeks. Her mother resides at Harper's Ferry, and is a widow lady by the name of Kennedy. Cook married her their [sic] about fifteen months ago. They have one child about five months old which the mother has with her. Mrs. Cook is quite young looking, very lady-like in her manners, and appears to possess a considerable degree of shrewdness. She states very frankly that she has no fears of her husband being captured. That he was all through the Kansas wars and was often pursued while there but was never taken.--That he is well acquainted with the roads in this part of the country and will have no diffulty [sic] in making his escape. Mrs. Cook remained here until Monday morning last when she took the early train for Harrisburg. She had previously engaged passage in the stage for Harper's Ferry but for some reason changed her mind and left suddenly for Harrisburg.
On Friday last this community was thrown into a state of excitement by the appearance on our streets of a man supposed to be Cook. The particulars in relation to this man are, so far as we can gather them, briefly as follows:--A gentleman on his way to town, in a buggy, overtook a man on foot, on the Waynesboro road, coming in the direction of town. He asked to be allowed to ride a few miles and was taken into the wagon. He had a bundle in his hand which appeared to be a gun wrapped in a blanket. When within a mile or two of town he left the buggy under the pretense of taking another road, but it seems he came directly to town. He was pointed out to some of our citizens by the man in whose buggy he had ridden and his movements watched. He passed down Second street and turned up East King street, and without making an inquiry, went straight to the house at which Brown and his men boarded when here. He entered the room in which Mrs. Cook was sitting, had some conversation with her, inquired if any of "the boys" had arrived, and advised her not to go back to Harper's Ferry. He left immediately by the rear of the house, passed down the garden where he concealed his gun under a gourd, and although immediate pursuit was made he could not be found. The Gun, wrapped in a blanket was picked up where he had placed it. It is a Sharp's Rifle and appears never to have been used. It had no load in when found. On Saturday a couple of our citizens left for Carlisle expecting him to pass through that place.--They were not disappointed in their expectations. They found him there and had him arrested and committed to jail to await the demands of the Governor of Virginia. These gentlemen left the same day for Harper's Ferry for the purpose of bringing parties on to Carlisle to recognize this man. He says he is not Cook, that his name is Wm. Harrison. We have a rumor here that this man is Albert Haslett, incorrectly reported among the killed at the time of insurrection. This we think a mistake. A few days will determine his name--there is no doubt about him being one of the insurgents. There are parties in this town, we believe, who could identify him if disposed to give the information. When taken he was heavily armed, having on his person four revolvers and two Bowie knives. The parties who visited Harper's Ferry to obtain [line illegible] day night and left early next morning for Carlisle. They keep their own counsels, but from what little they are disposed to tell, the impression is gaining strength that the man arrested in Carlisle is John E. Cook. These gentlemen brought with them from Harper's Ferry one of the lances, or pikes, intended to be placed in the hands of the negroes. It is a murderous looking weapon and would have proven a terrible instrument of destruction in the hands of the blacks. No one can look at it and not feel that all engaged in this hellish plot deserves [sic] the gibbet.
The very latest information obtained respecting the man arrested at Carlisle would appear to identify him as Albert Haslett Lieutenant to Capt. Cook. Gov. Wise has made a requisition for his surrender to the authorities of Virginia to stand his trial with the rest of the insurgents.
It will no doubt seems [sic] to many impossible that these men lived among us for months-- transacted business through our Bank and Warehouses, kept up an extensive correspondence through our Post Office, and using the Telegraph occasionally and yet no one suspected their real character or designs. As incredible as this may seem, it is nevertheless true. Our community can scarcely be brought to realize it even now, and seem astounded at their own blindness. We feel very confident they have no aiders, abettors or sympathizers among us and this may account for our complete ignorance of their true object. They found none here to whom they could express their opinions or make known their intentions. It is true that at one time, during their stay among us, they were thought to be a gang of burglars.--This was after the robbery of the Warehouse, and from certain circumstances connected with that affair it is not at all unlikely that some of the gang may have had some hand in the robbery. There was not sufficient proof, however, to justify the arrest of any of the parties, and that suspicion against them seems to have died out. While residing here they kept to themselves--expressed no insurrectionary opinions to any one--paid their bills regularly, and in every respect behaved themselves in such a correct and orderly manner as to attract little attention. Our community can certainly rest under no blame for not discovering and thwarting the schemes of these rebels. We cannot be accused of being more blind than the people about Harper's Ferry who knew more about them than we did and never mistrusted them until they found themselves in pretty much the same fix that Paddy had the Hessians-- "surrounded!" We will stand no imputations against Chambersburg until Harper's Ferry defines its position!
No Page Information Available
No Page Information Available
No Page Information Available