Region to commemorate Brown's raid





HARPERS FERRY — Four states and four counties have begun preparations to commemorate the 2009 sesquicentennial anniversary of abolitionist John Brown’s raid on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

On the evening of Oct. 16, 1859, Brown led a group of abolitionists on a six-mile march from the Kennedy Farm in Washington County, Md., across the railroad bridge into Harpers Ferry and seized control of the town in order to steal weapons from the old federal armory so they could be used in the cause against slavery. But because a passing train reached Frederick, Md., a telegram notifying the army of the attack enabled soldiers to respond before Brown could accomplish his goal. He was later hanged in Charles Town for his attack.

“The most important historical event that has ever occurred in Jefferson County and in Harpers Ferry was the John Brown raid,” said Bob DuBose, a former member of the Harpers Ferry Town Council and current board member of the Historic Town Foundation. Most historians believe the raid and reactions to it galvanized the nation and helped spark the Civil War.

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