The Disturbances at Harper's Ferry.

   BALTIMORE, Oct. 18. --The troops reached Harper's Ferry about daylight, and called upon the insurgents to surrender. This demand was refused, and the marines forced the door under a heavy fire from the insurgents which was returned by the marines, who forced an entrance at the point of the bayonet.

   In a few moments the conflict was over. All the living insurgents were captured. The volunteers tried to shoot them. Ossawatomie Brown, of Kansas notoriety, with his son, were both shot, the latter dead, and the former dying. He talks freely, and says the whole object was to free the slaves.

   Anderson, of Connecticut, another of the leaders, is killed. Three marines and several State troops were shot.

   Among those murdered by the insurgents are several of the first men of that section of the State.

   It is feared that the insurrection has many ramifications. The authorities of Baltimore, Washington and Alexandria are all prepared for any emergency, if it occurs. The Governors of Maryland and Virginia are taking every precautionary measure.

   The population are much excited, and insist that the prisoners should be tried by drum head court martial.


                                                  WASHINGTON, October 13, 9.30 P. M.

   A company of mounted men, under the authority of the President, left Baltimore this afternoon to pursue the fugitive insurgents in any locality or State of the Union. The District Attorney left here this evening to bring the prisoners to immediate trial.

   Three hundred Virginia military arrived here from Richmond this evening, but found orders to return, their services not being needed. The most energetic measures are on foot to ferret out and capture all parties engaged in the insurrection.

   Quiet is restored.


                                                          BALTIMORE, Oct. 19, 12 30 A. M.

   The dying confessions of some of the insurgents state that Ossawatomie Brown and some others concocted the affair months ago, and hired a farm in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry, having gathered around him several impoverished Kansas discontents and fanatics. A plan was laid to seize the armory, hoping thus to induce a concentration of the slaves in the neighboring counties of Virginia and Maryland, and ignite a general and wide-spread insurrection.

   It was stated on Sunday that the insurgents would be reinforced by 1500 men. Many citizens and government employees were forced out of town, on Sunday night, by armed sqads of whites and black, who spread the alarm, causing the assemblage of armed citizens and military in the neighboring towns. --This movement alarmed the negroes, who may have intended joining the insurgents.

   The railroad companies afforded every facility for the transportation of the troops, and before the rioters were aware of it, every outlet of the town was guarded, and the insurrectionists completely penned up.

   Previous to this movement, a portion of the Abolitionists had effected a stampede among the negroes of the neighboring farms, forcing them away against their will. Others conveyed Government arms and ammunition to distant hiding places, and are also said to have plundered the pay office of the Government of fifteen or twenty thousand dollars.

   About dusk Monday night the local military attacked the town simultaneously at four different points, and drove the insurgents into the armory enclosure for refuge. The conflict in the streets of Harper's Ferry was very severe, fifteen of the insurgents and two or three of their assistants being killed, and several wounded.

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

   The demand for surrender being refused, the marines battered down the door of the armory, but were met by a brisk discharge from the insurgents. One marine was killed, and one feared to be mortally wounded. Two or three others were slightly wounded.

   The marines forced an entrance, taking all the insurgents prisoners, and liberating their captives, whom they had previously threatened to murder if attacked.

   The number of their 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 murdered, are Fountain Breckham, a prominent and respected citizen, the Agent of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company; Joseph Burnley 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.

   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 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 on route for Harper's Ferry in less than four hours after the news was received by him.


"The Disturbances at Harper's Ferry," Wilmington (NC) Daily Herald, October 20, 1859, p. 2

Related Escape / Stampede
Location of Stampede
Coverage Type
Via Wire Report
Location of Coverage- City
Location of Coverage- State
North Carolina
Contains Stampede Term