WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER, 19, 1859.

      Despatches received at the Mercury Office.

      The Harper's Ferry Insurrection.


   BALTIMORE, October 18. --A special despatch to the Baltimore Sun states that the Baltimore troops, and the Marine corps, under the command of Col. Lee, of the United States Army, arrived near Harpers Ferry at 1 o'clock this morning, and learned that the Virginia Regiment and Fredericksburg and Maryland troops had entered the town on the Virginia side. Much firing had been heard. It was reported that nine persons had been killed. The insurgents still held the arsenal, and were willing to surrender, but demanded safe conduct out of the difficulty, otherwise they threatened to sacrifice the lives of the two principle citizens of the place, who were held as prisoners.

   Among the insurgents were KEGG, SEAMAN and BROWN, of Ohio, and TODD, of Maine. AARON STEPHENS, of Connecticut, now dying, makes the following statement: The plan has been concocted more than a year; the parties rendezvoused at a farm few miles distant, hired for the purpose. Capt. Brown, of Kansas notoriety, under the assumed name of Bill Smith, was one of the leaders.


   A battle was last night fought, mainly by railroad men. One conductor was killed and two conductors wounded. It is thought the abolitionists will be hung as soon as taken.

   The insurgents at Harper's Ferry, black and white, have surrendered. The leaders confess that it was an abolition movement.


   BALTIMORE, October 18, 8. p.m. --The troops arrived at Harper's Ferry about daylight, when a demand was made to surrender, which was refused. The marines forced the door of the armory under a heavy fire from the insurgents, which was returned with great effect. The marines forced the entrance at the point of the bayonet, and in a few moments the conflict was over.

   All the living insurgents were captured. The volunteers tried to shoot them.

   OSSAWATOMIE Brown and son were both shot. The latter is dead. The former is in a dying state and confesses freely. He says the whole object of the plot was to free the slaves.

   ANDERSON, of Connecticut, and another leader, were killed. Three marines and several of the State troops were shot in the conflict.

   Among those murdered by the insurgents are several of the most prominent men in that section of the Sate.

   At Baltimore, Washington and Alexandria the authorities are all prepared for any emergency which may occur. The Governors of Maryland and Virginia are taking every precautionary measure towards this object.

   Much excitement prevails among the population, who insist that the prisoners should be tried by drumhead court.


   WASHINGTON, D.C., October 18, 9. p.m. --A company of mounted men, under the authority of President BUCHANAN, left Baltimore this afternoon to pursue the fugitive insurgents to any State or locality of the Union.

   The District Attorney left here this morning to bring on the immediate trial of the prisoners.

   Three hundred of the Virginia military arrived from Richmond this evening, but were ordered to return, as their services were not wanted.

   The most energetic measures are on foot to ferret out and capture all who were involved in the outbreak.

   Perfect quiet has been restored.


   BALTIMORE, October 19, 12:30 a.m. --The dying confessions of some of the insurgents state that Ossawatomie BROWN and some others had concocted the affair. Some months ago BROWN had hired a farm in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry, and gathered around him several impoverished, Kansas discontents and fanatics, and had laid a plan to seize the armory, hoping thus to induce a concentration of the slaves from the neighboring counties in Virginia and Maryland, and create a general and wide-spread insurrection.

   It was stated that on Sunday the insurgents would be reinforced with 1500 men. Many citizens and government employees were forced out of town on Sunday night by armed squads of whites and blacks, who spread the alarm, which caused the assembling of armed citizens and military companies from the neighboring towns, who concentrated about the Ferry. This movement alarmed the negroes who may have intended to join the insurgents.

   The railroad companies offered every ficility for the transportation of troops, and before the rioters were aware of the fact, every means of egress from the town was guarded, which completely penned them in.

   Previous to this movement, a portion of the abolitionists had effected a stampede among the negroes on the neighboring plantations, forcing them away against their will, and others conveyed Government arms and munitions to distant hiding places, and were also said to have plundered the Pay Office of some $15,000 to $20,000.

   About dusk Monday night the local military simultaneously attacked the town from four different points, and drove the insurgents into the armory enclosure for refuge. The conflict int he streets of Harper's Ferry were very severe, fifteen of the insurgents and two or three of their assailants being killed and severely wounded.

   Matters thus rested until the arrival of the United States Marines, and troops form Baltimore and Frederick, when the armory surrendered at daylight.

   The demand for surrender having been refused, the marines battered down the door of the armory, but were met with a brisk discharge from the insurgents, killing one marine, and another wounded, it is feared, mortally. Two or three others were slightly wounded.

   The marines forced an entrance, taking all the insurgents prisoners, and liberating the captives, whom the outlaws threatened to kill if they were attacked.

   The number of the prisoners is not stated, but it is believed that out of the original insurgents fifteen have been killed and two are believed to be mortally wounded.

   Among the citizens of Harper's Ferry who have been murdered, are FOUNTAIN BRECKHAM, a prominent and respected citizen; the agent of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, JOSEPH BUMLEY; and GEORGE TURNER, one of the first men in the vicinity.

   There were killed in the fight EVAN DORSEY, railway conductor, and GEORGE RICHARDSON, of Martinsburg. Several soldiers are seriously wounded.

   The latest advices report that BROWN is not dead, but may live to be hung.

   All is quiet, and the rangers, under the orders of the President, are now in pursuit of the fugitives.

   The United States District Attorney has gone up to take charge of the legal proceedings against the prisoners. The arrangements made by Gov. WISE to prevent the spread of disaffection were complete and admirably executed. The Governor arrived at the spot too late to participate in the attack. Seven infantry and two rifle and artillery companies, all with full ranks, besides several local companies, were under orders and en route for Harper's Ferry in less than four hours after the news was received by him.


"The Harper's Ferry Insurrection - Fifth Despatch," Charleston (SC) Mercury, October 19, 1859, p. 3.

Related Escape / Stampede
Location of Stampede
Coverage Type
Location of Coverage- City
Location of Coverage- State
South Carolina
Contains Stampede Term